From: Chris Taylor
Sent: 22 September 2008 13:45
To: ''
Subject: CS_Newsletter_2008-09-22.doc
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School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

22 September 2008


News from HoS

This Week

School Events

External Events

Funding Opps

Prize & Award Opps

Research Awards

Staff News




News Submissions

Newsletter Archive

School Strategy

School Intranet

School Seminars

ESNW Seminars

NaCTeM Seminars


News from Head of School

Distinguished Dissertation Success

Many congratulations to Paolo Missier who has just been announced as runner up in the highly competitive CPHC/BCS Distinguished Dissertation competition.  Following rigorous review, with input from international experts, his thesis on Modelling and Computing the Quality of Information in e-Science was judged to be one of three outstanding postgraduate student contributions to computer science during the past year.  The award will be presented at a formal ceremony in November, and the thesis will be published on the BCS website.  Congratulations also to Suzanne Embury who was Paolo’s main PhD supervisor, and to Alvaro Fernandes who has worked hard to improve our profile in the competition.  More information.

Food for Thought

Last week I reported very positive news on student admissions and, in the week that abstract numbers begin to turn into real students, I would like to repeat my congratulations to all concerned.  Unfortunately, other student-related news this week has not been so positive.  First, following the results of resits, we now know what proportion of UG students who started last autumn will progress to their second year.  The answer is a very disappointing 66% – a result that we cannot begin to consider acceptable.  Close on the heels of this news, we received a summary of our results in the National Student Survey.  These showed a significant drop in Manchester CS student satisfaction in almost every category, making our results amongst the worst both in the Faculty and within the discipline nationally.  It does not require much imagination to see a potential causal link.  We need to react in a measured way, seeking to understand, in as much detail as possible, what exactly has happened, and taking considered action to improve our performance.  I know how hard most of you work to promote excellence in our teaching, and it is clear that it will be possible, to some extent, to ‘explain away’ these outcomes, but it is equally clear that we have a serious and deep-seated problem that we need to address.

This week we will be ‘welcoming’ a new cohort of students.  As a start, I suggest that we all pay special attention to making them actually feel welcome and valued – using tutorials and other opportunities for contact to help create a caring and supportive environment.  It is easy to become cynical, but our students are the lifeblood of the School and we neglect them at our peril.

Chair of School Board

The School Board is in need of a new Chair – as an honorary member of staff Mary McGee Wood is still a member of the Board, but it would not be appropriate for her to continue as Chair.  Nominations/ offers/ enquiries to Mary, please – by Monday 29 September, if possible, so we can elect/ approve/install the new Chair at the meeting on 1 October.


Events this Week                                                              top

Arts meets Science, Science meets Art                                                   23 Sep 08

A series of free Roberts funded summer seminars for postgraduate research students.  These seminars have been organised by the Graduate Education Team and Jodrell bank and are open to research students from the University of Manchester. The series of seminars will explore collaborations across the Arts, Humanities and Sciences. Students are also invited to provide posters about their own cross-disciplinary work.

More information

BCS International Academic Research Conference                      22-24 Sep 08

The British Computer Society is launching its first International Academic Conference. Full paper submissions are being solicited in all areas of research covering the broad field of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). The conference will be organized in sessions and mini-tracks, each devoted to a theme or area, and will include a small number of invited presentations.  The topics included are deliberately broad to reflect the rich texture and intellectual vigor of CSE.  Venue: Imperial College London

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.


Future School Events                                                       top

School Board Dates

1 October - Budget Report and Dean attending
26 November - UG Report
4 February - PG Report
25 March - External Affairs Report
6 May - Research Report
1 July - Resources Report

All meetings take place 1530-1700 in IT 407.


Future External Events                                                     top

University's Foundation Day Lecture New                                                 8 Oct 08

Professor Joe Stiglitz, Chair, Brooks World Poverty Institute.

As you may be aware, the University marks its foundation each year with a Foundation Lecture given by someone of renown.  The President and Vice-Chancellor would like to invite as many members of staff as possible from across the University to attend this prestigious event.  If you are interested in attending, please request a ticket by emailing Lesley Sisson



Funding Opportunities                                                      top

EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowships Call 2008                                          30 Sep 08

EPSRC are offering Postdoctoral Fellowships in theoretical physics, theoretical computer sciences, mathematical sciences and life sciences interface to enable the most talented new researchers to establish an independent research career, shortly or immediately after completing a PhD.  The awards are for a period of up to three years and primarily cover the salary costs of the Fellow, travel and subsistence.
More Information

RAEng - Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships New        14 Nov 08

These Fellowships provide an opportunity for mid-career academics based in UK universities to be relieved of their administrative and teaching responsibilities, for between one academic term and a year, in order to concentrate on full-time research in any engineering discipline.  The award provides a grant to cover the cost of a replacement member of staff for the period of the Fellowship to carry out the teaching and administrative responsibilities of the researcher. A support fund of up to £2,500 is also available as part of the Fellowship.
More Information

Industrial Secondment Scheme                                                                        Open

The Industrial Secondment Scheme provides an invaluable opportunity for engineering teaching staff in Higher Education institutions 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 organization which gains a temporary but highly qualified member of staff, and to the university which has the opportunity of strengthening its links with industry.

More Information

UoM Knowledge Transfer Challenge                                                               Open

The KT Challenge offers small grants for concept studies and feasibility studies. If you are interested in developing ideas in collaboration with an industrial partner – developing new technology, or applying existing technology in an industrial setting – please contact Constantinos Astreos.

EPSRC Encouraging Postdoctoral Mobility Between Disciplines           Open

EPSRC would like to encourage the transfer of outputs of research between different research disciplines as well as aiding the career development of EPSRC funded PDRAs. In the first instance an extra year of support will be offered. Transfers between the engineering and physical science disciplines and the life sciences are encouraged.  There are no closing dates for proposals.

More Information

EPSRC ICT Platform Grants                                                                               Open

EPSRC invites outline proposals for its information and communication technology platform grants. Platform grants aim to provide world-leading UK groups with continuity of funding for strategic development, longer-term research and international networking.

More Information

Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chairs                                        Open

Full-time professorial appointments, in any engineering-related subject. The academy particularly welcomes proposals of a multidisciplinary nature. Funding is provided for 5 years.

More Information

RAEng Industrial Secondment Scheme                                                          Open

An opportunity for university lecturers in engineering to gain state-of-the-art industrial experience.

More Information

BBSRC International Scientific Interchange Scheme (ISIS)                       Open

To help scientists make and establish new contacts with their international counterparts.

More Information

RAEng Global Research Awards                                                                      Open

Projects in centres of excellence overseas focussing on stimulating wealth creation and improvements in the quality of life.

More Information

EPSRC Engineering Visits                                                                                  Open

Support for salary costs and travel subsistence for scientists and engineers of acknowledged standing, either from within the UK or abroad, to visit the investigator's organisation.

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.


None currently open


Research Awards                                                              top


Funding Body: The Leverhulme Trust
PI: Simon Harper
Award Amount: £112187

Machine Learning for Thread Level Speculation on Multicore Architectures

Funding Body: EPSRC
PI: Gavin Brown & Mikel Lujan
Award Amount: £421442

Theoretical Computer Science; modal/hybrid logic and complexity theory

Funding Body: British Council
PI: Thomas Schneider
Award Amount: £950


Funding Body: EC
PI: Carole Goble
Award Amount: £496471



Staff News                                                                          top

Awards and Promotions

None this week

Academic Arrivals

Eva Navarro Lopez - Career Development RCUK Fellow

Academic Departures

None this week

Research Arrivals

None this week

Research & Technical Departures

None this week

Administrative Arrivals

None this week

Administrative Departures

None this week

Sabbatical Leave

Alasdair Rawsthorne: 80% secondment to Transitive Technologies
Oct 07 – Sep 08. - continuing


John Keane: Academic Year 2008/09


Len Freeman: April to Sept 2009


John Gurd: Academic Year 2009/10


Liping Zhao: Sept 2008 to Mid Jan 09, and Mid July 09 to mid Jan 10


Josh Knowles: Feb 2009 for 6 months


Rizos Sakellariou: Lent term 2008-09, Summer term 2008-09, Michaelmas Term 2009-10 (2 semesters)


Xiao-Jun Zeng: January 2009-April 2009


Ning Zhang: January 2009 – June 2009


Vacancies                                                                           top

Academic Staff


Research & Technical Staff


Management & Professional Staff


Administrative Staff