The proposed project is focused on particle acceleration in laser-produced plasmas, which is a strongly nonlinear process and requires a kinetic description. Therefore, for a high physics fidelity, first-principles modelling high performance computing is necessary. The project will be partly focused on the development of laser-plasma based ion sources to bring them closer to applications and partly on fundamental issues related to particle acceleration. Regarding the first part, the main objective is to increase the efficiency, energy and beam quality of plasma-based ion acceleration. We will concentrate on improving ion acceleration processes using micro-sized plasma waveguides, multiple pulse setups and relativistic electron vortices. Regarding the second part the goal is to develop novel ideas that will shed light on previously unexplained phenomena within relativistic magnetic reconnection and shock waves.