School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

23rd January 2006


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News from Head of School

Review of Faculty Administration

This is an appropriate point at which to give you an update on the root and branch review of administration that Faculty has been undertaking.  For the past few months three working groups have been examining key ‘business processes’, with a view to simplifying how they are organised.  Several members of our administrative staff have made a significant contribution to this process, and draft reports from the working groups were presented last week to a meeting of the Faculty Administration Leadership Team (FALT).  Although there is still some way to go, the general principle has been accepted of delegating more authority to Schools, where that will lead to improvements in efficiency.  The draft reports propose significant simplifications to processes, and envisage a net devolution of administrative resource from the Faculty centre to schools.  There is still an active debate as to whether the changes envisaged are as radical as the situation requires, but at least there is movement in the right direction.  As chair of the group that conducted the top-down phase of the review, I am likely to be asked to report to the Faculty Leadership Team (FLT) on the extent to which the proposed implementation plan is likely to achieve the original objectives of the review.  The aim is for a proposal to come from FALT to the next FLT, with a view to making changes in the very near future.  I support the idea that change is urgently required but, at the same time, will argue strongly that we need to ensure that the resource implications of doing things professionally are looked at realistically.  It is clear that, as a Faculty, we need to prioritise the deployment of administrative support in those areas that are key to achieving our long-term goals.

RAE Action Plans

The professors met last week to discuss any action we should take in the light of the outcome of the external review.  We agreed that, given there is still time to improve our RAE 2008 submission, we should ask every member of the School to prepare an action plan identifying the key steps they will take during the next 12 months to improve their personal return.  This is likely to revolve primarily around publications, though we would also like everyone to think about other ways of improving impact/esteem.  We need to complete this exercise by the end of January, since the window of opportunity to improve our RAE return is very limited.  Detailed guidance will be circulated shortly, but in the meantime, could all RAE-returnable staff (academic staff and independent researchers) start to put together a simple action plan, and could all research groups discuss their tactics internally.  If everyone could move up by half a grade overall (before rounding), that would make a huge difference to our return.

PDR Interviews

There seems to be some confusion regarding performance and development reviews (PDRs).  After a lengthy gestation period, the University asked for reviews to be completed for all staff by December 2005.  We argued that this was impractical and have undertaken to complete this first round of reviews by the end of April 2006. Although we have developed a fully electronic system for dealing with the documentation, there are currently concerns regarding confidentiality, so we will have to use a paper based system for this round.  The Plan for future reviews is to revert to our established scheme of conducting the review during the month of the reviewee's birthday, so reviewers may wish to take this into account in deciding the order in which to undertake their reviews.  Everyone should have received information about who they need to review and who will review them.  If you are in any doubt, please contact Lynn.  Could all reviewer-reviewee pairs please agree an interview date as soon as possible, and forward the information to Lynn so that she can keep track progress.  You should then download the forms from and agree whether you wish to complete them electronically or print out blank forms and complete them by hand.  Details of teaching/admin loads and publications are available online.


Seminars                                                                            top

The School Seminar Series resumes on the 8th Feb

Faster Real-World CAE Solutions New                                                      27 Jan 06

Faster Real-World CAE Solutions - Using Integrated Knowledge-Based Systems
Ian McLuckie, Advanced Integr
ated Engineering Solutions
1400-1500. Room 1.10, Kilburn Building (ESNW Access Grid)
More Information

Regular Seminar Series

See links in contents bar for information on seminar series organised by the School of CS, E-Science North West and National Centre for Text Mining.

Internal Meetings and Events                                            top

School Leadership Team Meeting                                                             23 Jan 06

1415-1600, Atlas 1

Events Calendar                                                                 top

Manchester Turing Lecture                                                                          25 Jan 06

Lifestyle access for the disabled – adding positive drift to the random walk with technology.  Chris Mairs, Data Connection.
Registration necessary. 
More Information

BBSRC Open Meeting 2006 New                                                                20 Feb 06

At BBSRC's second Open Meeting, facilitated by Nick Ross, Julia Goodfellow will invite discussion on the Council’s current and future scientific priorities, and views on how best it can work with industry. Questions will also be welcomed on any aspect of BBSRC’s policies, either raised on the day, or submitted in advance to  Entrance free but tickets required.
1600-1830, Manchester Town Hall, tickets from
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EPSRC Public Engagement Workshops                                    8 Feb & 9 Mar 06

Introducing PE to ‘virgins’ and passing on best practice.  Space limited.
More information and registration.

Genomes to Systems Conference                                                       22-24 Mar 06

An important conference concerning the latest concepts and breakthroughs in genomics and systems biology.  Discounted registration before 31 Dec 05.
More Information


BCS/IEE Accreditation Visit                                                                   18-19 May 06

Those who will definitely need to be involved should already know and have these dates in their diaries, but could all staff involved in teaching please note the dates and try to ensure they will be available if required.

Funding Opportunities                                                       top

Data & Content Storage, Management, Retrieval & Analysis             31 Jan 06

Funding is available from the DTI to support Collaborative Research and Development projects that address innovations in the systems issues associated with the management, storage, retrieval, presentation and interpretation of high volumes of data, to help mitigate the technical risks and uncertainties associated with the development of new information storage technologies.

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Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences                                31 Jan 06

Call for Proposals.  The Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences is a national research institute in Cambridge. It aims to bring mathematical scientists from UK universities and leading experts from overseas together for concentrated research on specialised topics in all branches of the mathematical sciences from pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics, to engineering, computer science, theoretical physics and mathematical biology.  The Institute now invites new proposals for programmes for 2008 onwards.

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BBSRC International Scientific Interchange Scheme (ISIS)                       Open

BBSRC's International Scientific Interchange Scheme (ISIS) provides support to help scientists make and establish new contacts with their international counterparts. Funding is available to BBSRC grantholders, and researchers working on BBSRC-supported projects at BBSRC-sponsored Institutes for travel and subsistence for three main types of visit. The scheme is open to bids at any time (at least 6 weeks before travel) with payments being made in advance of any visits. Please note BBSRC-supported students are not eligible to travel under ISIS support.

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EPSRC Senior Media Fellowships                                                             26 Jan 06

The Public Engagement Programme invites applications for Senior Media Fellowships. These enable leading researchers to devote time to develop a higher media profile. The aim is to advance public engagement with the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering via the broadcast and written media. Senior Media Fellowships are intended to be used for active development of media opportunities (not research, scholarship or teaching).

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Royal Commission Research Fellowships                                             23 Feb 06

The scheme of 1851 Research Fellowships is intended to give a few young scientists or engineers of exceptional promise the opportunity for conducting research for a further period of two years. Approximately six awards are made each year. Candidates in science subjects must normally be in possession of a PhD degree, or in the final stages of their PhD studies. 
The Fellowships are open to candidates in any of the physical or biological sciences, in mathematics, in applied science, or in any branch of engineering.

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RAEng Industrial Secondment Scheme                                                           Open

The Industrial Secondment Scheme provides an invaluable opportunity for university lecturers in engineering to gain state-of-the-art industrial experience.
Applicable to engineers of all disciplines, the Scheme's objective is to enable the secondees to impart the fruits of this experience to their students through teaching, through case studies using up-to-date material and, in the longer term, through course design. The benefits also accrue to the host organisation which gains a temporary but highly qualified member of staff, and to the university which has the opportunity of strengthening its links with industry. The Scheme provides funding for the university to employ a temporary replacement for the secondee. In this way it minimises the effects on the normal flow of teaching, and makes it easier for universities to release members of staff for secondment. The Scheme has also been well received by industry, and many organisations have indicated a willingness to offer places to engineering academics: where possible The Royal Academy of Engineering helps in the 'matchmaking process'.

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Royal Academy of Engineering Global Research Awards

Global Research Awards provide an opportunity for engineers currently engaged in research and development to undertake projects in centres of excellence overseas. Projects should focus on activities which could help stimulate wealth creation and improvements in the quality of life, supporting the international development of research networks and encouraging the uptake of globally competitive technology in the UK.

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Prize and Award Opportunities                                         top

We have acknowledged the need to raise the profile of the School both nationally and internationally.  Nominating individuals for awards, and working actively with others to ensure that deserving individuals are nominated is one way of doing that.

MacRobert Award for innovation in engineering                                   31 Jan 06

The Award, first presented in 1969, honours the winner company with a gold medal and the team members with a prize of £50,000. The presentation of the Award recognises the successful development of innovative ideas in engineering. It seeks to demonstrate the importance of engineering and the role of engineers and scientists in contributing to national prosperity and international prestige.

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IEEE Internet Award                                                                                       31 Jan 06

The IEEE Internet Award was established by the IEEE Board of Directors in June of 1999. It is presented annually for exceptional contributions to the advancement of Internet technology for network architecture, mobility and/or end-use applications. This award can be given to an individual or team of up to three.

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The IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award                                                                31 Jan 06

The IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award was established by the IEEE Board of Directors in 1986 for outstanding contributions to the integration of computers and communications. This award can be given to an individual, multiple recipients, or a team.

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The IEEE Emanuel R Piore Award                                                            31 Jan  06

The IEEE Emanuel R. Piore award is presented annually to an individual, or team of two individuals, for outstanding contributions in the field of information processing, in relation to computer science, deemed to have contributed significantly to the advancement of science and to the betterment of society.

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René Descartes Prizes 2006                                                                         4 May 06

The European Commission is inviting proposals under its framework 6 science and society programme for Rene Descartes prizes. These are to recognise excellence in research and science communication. Prizes for research will be at least 200000 euros each, and projects must include legal entities from 2 different member or associated states, and include at least one member state or associated candidate country.

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Research Awards                                                               top

None this week

Staff News                                                                           top

Awards and Promotions

None this week

Academic Arrivals

None this week

Academic Departures

None this week

Research Arrivals

None this week

Research Departures

None this week

Administrative Arrivals

None this week

Administrative Departures

None this week

Sabbatical Leave

Andrei Voronkov: Microsoft Research, Redmond USA
Aug 05 – Aug 06.

Ian Horrocks: University of Bozen-Bolzano, Bell Labs, and Stanford University
Feb 06 – Sep 06.

Peter Aczel: Nijmegen University, and Maths Institute at the University of Munich
Jan 06 – Sep 06.

Alasdair Rawsthorne: 80% secondment to Transitive Technologies
Oct 05 – Sep 06.

Alvaro Fernandes: IBM Almaden Research Centre US
Jul – Dec 06.

Vacancies                                                                           top

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