School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

10th April 2006


News from HoS

This Week

School Events

External Events

Funding Opps

Prize & Award Opps

Research Awards

Staff News




Newsletter Archive

School Strategy

School Intranet

School Seminars

ESNW Seminars

NaCTeM Seminars


News from Head of School

Future Teaching Programmes in CS

There are a number of factors which, I believe, create the need for an urgent reappraisal of our UG programmes.  A small group of senior staff have started to prepare some proposals, but I would like to promote a more general debate.  The most obvious issue is the continuing fall in UG applications – down again, by 12.6% this year.  We will simply not be viable as a School unless we can arrest this decline.  At the same time (and almost certainly related), the past few years have seen computing and computation become increasingly pervasive in virtually every aspect of our lives.  This has led to a major shift in the job market, away from the nuts and bolts of computer technology, which is increasingly commoditised, towards system-level design and innovation.  Industry reports a huge, substantially unsatisfied, demand for ‘system architects’ – the term preferred by IBM – who can take on these challenging roles. The need is for individuals who combine a deep knowledge of CS, with more general mathematical, engineering and problem-solving skills, together with an understanding of business and market needs.  Typically these individuals need to work as members of multidisciplinary teams.  Another important development is the extent to which, as well as providing computer-based  tools, ‘computational thinking’ (see here and the ‘Vision’ statement in our 2004/5 strategic plan) increasingly provides the key conceptual framework for other academic disciplines.  We should be training individuals to contribute to this intellectual revolution – the attributes required are probably rather similar to those outlined above.  The question is, has our thinking and have our UG programmes kept up with these seismic shifts?  Our discipline has been the agent for change but, if we do not take care, may become the victim of that change.  We have accepted the need to be more innovative in the way we teach; it would be folly to make a once-in-a-lifetime investment in redesigning our UG programmes, without also questioning what we teach.  I suggest an initial discussion using the acstaff (or allstaff) alias, though it may be appropriate to set up a wiki in due course.

Faculty Teaching and Learning funds

This is a reminder that we can put forward bids for Faculty teaching and learning funds through our Learning Enhancement Officer (LEO – Professor Ian Watson).   I am writing this on a plane crossing the Atlantic, so I’m afraid that I don’t have details to hand, but there have been previous emails.  Please send outline bids to Ian before Friday 21st April 2006.  He will then be able to take them forward for discussion with one of the Faculty Curriculum Development Officers.

No News Next Week – Happy Easter

Given that we will have two shortened weeks, and that I intend to have a break over the Easter weekend, I do not plan to produce a newsletter next week, unless there is some extremely pressing news.  Normal service will be resumed the following week.  I wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable Easter weekend.


Events this Week                                                               top

No seminars notified

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.


Future School Events                                                        top

CEEBL - Half day workshop for CS staff                                                   21 Apr 06

An opportunity for CS staff to learn about enquiry based learning.

1230 – 1700 (Lunch will be provided.)

Register by emailing Kath Mullins

ESNW Technical meeting New                                                                       2 May 06

You are invited to attend a technical meeting organised by ESNW where we will discuss service-level agreement (SLA) terms for a wide range of resource types including AccessGrid, compute services and network services.  We would like a few volunteers to give 10-15 min presentations. If you are interested contact Dean Kuo.  A wiki has been set up for the topics that will be discussed at these meetings

1400 – 1700, Room 1.10 Kilburn Building (ESNW AG Room)

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.

Research Retreat                                                                                       29-30 Jun 06

Palace Hotel, Buxton

Programme under development, input welcomed (email Ursula)


Future External Events                                                      top

Nobel Laureate to speak at the University New                                        10 Apr 06

'How to Win a Nobel Prize-Dr Tim Hunt FRS, Cancer Research UK

Nobel Laureate Dr Tim Hunt, from Cancer Research UK, will be a guest of the University of Manchester when he addresses an international gathering of young researchers in April.  Dr Hunt, whose work in discovering cyclins, which turned out to be 'Key Regulator(s) of the Cell Cycle', led to his winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001 together with Lee Hartwell and Paul Nurse.  Dr Hunt will be addressing delegates at the Marie Curie Conference (MC2): Putting the Knowledge Based Society in to Practice.  Anyone wishing to attend Dr Tim Hunt's key note presentation should contact Kerry Chantrey at the email address below. Any remaining spaces in the theatre will be released following the close of the official registration period.

More Information

eProtein Scientific Meeting and Workshop                                         24-26 Apr 06

EMBL-EBI, Imperial College London (IC) and University College London (UCL), are delighted to invite you to attend a one-day scientific meeting on Protein and Genome Annotations on 24th April.  The meeting will be held on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus at Hinxton and is funded by the UK Department of Trade and Industry, BBSRC and the BioSapiens EU Project. The aim of the meeting is to describe the current approaches, both technical and scientific, which will allow contributions and access to annotations from many different laboratories, based on GRID DAS technologies.  The meeting will be followed by a two-day practical workshop addressing the use and implementation of the systems designed by the eProtein partners.  All of the systems and results of the project are freely available for the academic community to access and use, or implement within your own lab.

More Information and Registration

OPEN MEETING ON eLEARNING New                                                       10 May 06

You are invited to an Open Meeting on eLearning on Wednesday 10 May 2006, at which Professor Bob Munn, Vice-President for Teaching and Learning, will make a brief presentation and respond to questions about current initiatives to enhance e-learning.  Full details

Ask the President New                                                                                      5 May 06

All staff are being invited to submit questions for an interview with President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Gilbert which will be broadcast on the web next month (May).  Questions can be submitted in advance via e-mail to (type `President's Webcast' in the subject line), by internal mail using the form published on page 3 of this month's edition of Staff Update or in person to the Internal Communications Office, Beyer Building (staff may remain anonymous if they wish).  The deadline for submissions is 5 May.

Lunchtime Yoga Classes                                                                       Tues & Thurs

Karon Mee

People have been practicing yoga for over 3, 000 years. The benefits of practice can be experienced on many levels, physical and spiritual. A healthy spine, improvement to physical health and body awareness in general is experienced through asana (postures), while calmness of the mind and improved use of the respiratory system are effects of meditation and breath awareness.  Classes are non-competitive and suitable for all levels.  Do not eat at least an hour prior to class. UMSA members £1.50; non-UMSA £2.00 per class

1200 – 1300 Tuesdays, 1310 – 1400 Thursdays, Staff House


Funding Opportunities                                                       top

2006 Leonardo da Vinci Staff Bid Application New                                  11 Apr 06

We are preparing to submit a bid for staff mobility grants under the Leonardo da Vinci Mobility Programme and therefore need an indication of the number of staff grants we are likely to require. Staff exchange is funded under Leonardo for the exchange of expertise, competencies, innovative methods and practices in relation to vocational training.  Exchanges do NOT need to involve two-way movement of staff.  Further details about the scheme are provided below and additional information can also be found at: More Information


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.

More Information

Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Awards                                      27 Apr 06

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology, this scheme aims to give universities additional support to attract key researchers, with great potential or outstanding achievement, to this country or to retain those who might seek to gain higher salaries elsewhere.  The focus of the award is salary enhancement. Research expenses are also considered for research costs not suitable for Research Councils research grants applications and for overseas applicants to support integration into the UK research and funding environment.

More Information

Wellcome Trust Equipment Grants                                                          Apr/May 06

The Wellcome Trust consider applications for multi-user items of equipment, including equipment required to create a central resource for a number of disparate scientific programmes.  The maximum amount awarded is £1 million. It is expected that applications will include a contribution from the university, or other source, proportional to the total request.  Applications for less than £10 000 will not normally be considered under this scheme. Small, project-dedicated items of equipment can, however, form part of a project, programme or fellowship application.

More Information

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'.

More Information

RAEng Global Research Awards                                                                        Open

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.

More Information


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.

BCS Distinguished Dissertations                                                                10 Apr 06

The Conference of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC), in conjunction with the British Computer Society (BCS), annually selects for publication the best British PhD/DPhil dissertations in computer science.  The scheme aims to make more visible the significant contribution made by Britain - in particular by post-graduate students - to Computer Science.

More Information

IBM Unstructured Information Management Awards                             14 Apr 06

IBM is pleased to announce the 2006 Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) Innovation Award program, an international award competition designed to encourage the use of open source and open standards-based tools for academic curricula and research.

More Information

Teaching Excellence Awards                                                                       18 Apr 06

The University has recently instituted "Teaching Excellence Awards", which focus on achievement in teaching (including learning support) and involve a grant of £5,000 to recipients for the further development of their teaching or their career.  If you believe you have a case to be considered for an award, please submit a statement of not more than five sides of A4 detailing your eligibility against the published criteria. Each Head of School has been asked to put forward one nomination only, so I will consult with the Heads of UG, PG and the Teaching Assessment Panel to select the strongest case. Nominations need to be with the Faculty by 28th April, so please get your case to Lynn by 18th April.

IBM Eclipse Innovation Award program 2006                                          28 Apr 06

IBM is pleased to announce the 2006 IBM Eclipse Innovation Award program, an international award competition designed to encourage the use of open source and open standards-based tools for academic curricula and research. Qualified faculty and researchers may submit proposals for work with applications in teaching, research or community building around Eclipse.

More Information

René Descartes Prizes                                                                                    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.

More Information

The IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal                                                           1 Jul 06

The IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal was established by the Board of Directors in 1986 'for exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems and technology.' The award is named in honour of Dr. Richard W. Hamming, who has had a central role in the development of computer and computing science, and whose many significant contributions in the area of information science include his error-correcting codes.  Recipient selection is administered by the IEEE Medals Council through the IEEE Awards Board.  It may be presented to an individual or group, up to three in number.  The award consists of a gold medal, bronze replica, certificate, and honorarium.

More Information

The IEEE John von Neumann Medal                                                             1 Jul 06

The IEEE John von Neumann Medal was established by the Board of Directors in 1990 and may be presented annually 'for outstanding achievements in computer-related science and technology.' The achievements may be theoretical, technological, or entrepreneurial, and need not have been made immediately prior to the date of the award.  Recipient selection is administered through the IEEE Medals Council of the IEEE Awards Board.  It may be presented to an individual or group, up to two in number.  The award consists of a gold medal, bronze replica, certificate and honorarium.

More Information


Research Awards                                                               top

Perceptually Realistic Environments for Architectural Planning and Visual Impact Assessment

Funding Body: EPSRC
PI: Roger Hubbold
Award Amount: £356,142

PhD Training Programme at ReIMiCS/AKA2006

Funding Body: EPSRC
PI: Renate Schmidt
Award Amount: £4,752

Practical Reasoning Approaches for Web Ontologies and Multi-Agent Systems

Funding Body: EPSRC
PI: Renate Schmidt
Award Amount: £181,883


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

Academic Staff New

Chair in Computer Engineering

More Information

Chair in Computational Systems Biology

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Teaching Fellowships in Computer Science

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Career Development Fellowships

More Information

Research Staff


Administrative Staff