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Landmine Clearance Research

Announced by Sir Bobby Charlton at charity gala dinner

To clear the 110 million active landmines in place worldwide using current technologies would cost an estimated $30 billion and take over 1000 years. New technology is crucial in the campaign to clear landmines, however the technology used is essentially the same today as that used at the time of the 2nd World War. Now, a charity founded by England football legend, Sir Bobby Charlton, has commissioned research to develop technology to accelerate the detection and safe removal of landmines globally. At an awards dinner in Mayfair, London on 28th November 2014, it was announced that Professor Hugh Griffiths will lead UCL's contribution to a joint, 3 year research programme between UCL and Cranfield University with a share of £1m to map the electronic signatures from landmines and to develop a mobile ground penetrating radar system capable of searching for landmines across all terrains.

Sir Bobby was moved by seeing the impact of landmines on the lives of children in Bosnia and Cambodia and has served as a vocal spokesman on the issue since 2005. His charity, Find A Better Way was established to improve the lives of individuals and communities affected by Landmines through the power of cutting edge technology. Find A Better Way is committed to raising awareness of the risk of landmines and improving access to health services for victims.

Professor Griffiths, who holds the THALES/Royal Acedmy of Engineering Chair of Radio Frequency Sensors at UCL says: "Research being promoted by Find a Better Way is incredibly important. Landmine clearance is a major global problem. Currently, minefields are swept manually by metal detectors and many hours are spent carefully digging out objects many of which turn out to be discarded, non-explosive elements."

Dr Ivor Morrow, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield, said "The partnership with UCL brings together two complementary sets of expertise. Professor Griffiths pioneered research into bistatic radar at UCL while Cranfield has long experience in research and development of ground penetrating radar. We propose to build on previous research to bring forward a new generation of ground penetrating radar which is both fast and very accurate."