School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

28 June 2010


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News from Head of School

25% Cuts?!

It will not have escaped your attention that spending departments seem to be on course for average cuts of around 25% over the next 4 years.  Your guess is as good as mine as to where these are likely to fall, and it seems possible that higher education could be subject to cuts that are higher or lower than the headline figure.  My guess is that higher education will most likely have a higher than average level of cut, but will be allowed to compensate in part for this by raising student fees.


The school’s current plans in relation to the credit crunch were summarised in the Newsletter of 10th May. To put these into percentage terms, they represent a total movement (across income growth and spending cuts) of around 17.5% of government income. Allowing for some savings from less-than-inflation pay rounds and some movement from increased fees, the plans (if implemented successfully – by no means a foregone conclusion) seem to be of broadly the correct order. However, the percentage being associated with government cuts is higher than we previously assumed, and thus we will need to keep our focus on growing non-government income (e.g. through higher overseas student numbers through PGT and M + N agreements) with a view to avoiding the more drastic measures that would be required to reduce expenditure significantly further or faster.

Undergraduate Exams, etc

The tight timescales associated with graduations in early July create significant pressure on markers and administrators.  As such, thanks are due to all those who helped keep things on schedule. There was explicit praise from the externals for the quality of the paperwork supporting undergraduate exams and the organisation of the postgraduate exam boards, so credit is particularly due to the relevant staff in the Student Support Office for giving a positive impression and thereby enabling an effective process to be followed.

GM Workplace Cycle Challenge

The School logged the largest number of miles of all UoM departments, and are looking to come second in the "200-499" category. See:



City Innovation Lab: Manchester                                                      30 June 10

Professor Chris Taylor
13.00 – 14.00, Atlas Rooms

We are all aware of the transformative potential of information and communication technologies, and have observed the gathering pace at which technology has become part of everyday life. Arguably, we have reached a tipping point, where the power, ubiquity and low cost of technology is such that we can contemplate tackling some of the major challenges facing developed societies: sustainable transport infrastructure, the obesity epidemic, affordable health and social care, security, social cohesion etc. It is, however, characteristic of all these challenges that they are not just about the technology - they involve people and the need to address questions like how does the necessary cross-sectoral innovation happen, how will an intervention play out in practice, what are the social and personal psychology drivers, what new business models are needed? Realistically, such questions can only be answered by doing real experiments - deploying new technology at scale and measuring outcomes. The City Innovation Laboratory is a joint initiative between the University and the City-Region that aims to establish Manchester as a place of choice to conduct such experiments, by establishing the infrastructure to run large-scale trials, typically based around mobile technology. This should create research opportunities across many of the School's research areas including: information management, machine learning, sensors and low-power devices, biohealth informatics, social networks etc. In the (fairly short) talk, I will explain in more detail what is happening and discuss the opportunities for CS.

Intro to Advanced Research Computing                                              30 June 10

Due to popular demand, Research Computing Services (part of IT Services) is running its introductory course again on WEDS 30 JUNE. If you are a researcher who knows Linux but would appreciate learning the basics of how to get your model results quicker, whether by running 1000s of simulations concurrently or by dividing up the problem over 100s of cores to get the results back much sooner, then this course could help you.  Booking is essential but there are a few places left. Apply by emailing RCS Training.                            More Information

New President and Vice-Chancellor's Open Meetings

Following her appointment as President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell will be holding two open meetings for all staff on 2 and 5 July.  These will be an opportunity to hear Dame Nancy speak about her priorities for the University as well as for staff to ask questions.

The meetings will be held as follows:

Friday 2 July , Whitworth Hall, 1200-1300

Monday 5 July, Crawford House, Theatre 1, 1300-1400


Funding Opportunities

EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account: 5th Call for Applications

EPSRC awarded £8.3m to The University of Manchester in October 2009 for a Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA) to run over a period of three years. The closing date for applications to this next call is 16 July 2010 at 12pm (noon). This will be the last call in the first year of the KTA. Further calls for the next academic year are to be announced in due course.  Prior to submitting an application, academics are strongly advised to contact a member of the KTA team for advice and guidance immediately at: 0161 306 6815 or email.

More Information


Research Awards

Usability Evaluation for National Museums Liverpool

Funding Body: National Museums Liverpool
PI: Simon Harper
Award Amount: £2000

Enhancing CIAS

Funding Body: EPSRC
PI: Rupert Ford
Award Amount: £10111

Ontogrator-exploring the requirements of information portals facetted browsing of federated data resources using ontologies as a value added service

Funding Body: EPSRC KTA
PI: Andy Brass/Norman Morrison
Award Amount: £29427


Funding Body: JISC
PI: Alex Walker
Award Amount: £78989