School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

18 October 2010


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News from Head of School

The Brown Report, HEFCE-T and Fees for Computer Science at Manchester

The Brown Report on Higher Education Funding ( recommends that the cap should be removed on fees charged by universities (with a levy on universities where fees are above £6000).  It is anticipated that the removal of the cap on fees will be accompanied by a very substantial reduction in HEFCE-T.  To give an indication of the impact on the school, Phill Mcdonald (the school finance manager/accountant) has produced the following analysis. The Shortfall / Student column indicates by how much fees would have to rise to undo the effect of different levels of cut in HEFCE-T.


The Hefce T grant is received by the university to support the cost of eligible UK/EU students on programmes leading toward a recognised taught HE qualification. The T grant is paid in block to the institution which can distribute the monies internally using its own criteria. The figures below show the relative value of the Hefce T grant compared to student fee income for the 2010/2011 budget (and exclude overseas student fees).



HEFCE T / Student

2010/11 Typical Fee / Student (£K)

Computer Science HEFCE T (£K)

Computer Science Tuition Fees (£K)

PGT Home





UG Home











The theoretical impact of a 25%, 50%, and 75% reduction in Hefce T is shown below with the estimated loss of income by student to the school.



25% Cut in HEFCE T

Shortfall / Student

50% Cut in HEFCE T

Shortfall / Student

75% Cut in HEFCE T

Shortfall / Student

PGT Home







UG Home















Head of School Appointment Process

Various changes have been introduced to the appointments process for Heads of School; this process is now very different from the (somewhat strange) one that used to be used in the school.  For those of you who have not been counting the days until my departure, my three years are up on 31st October 2011, and I will not be seeking an extension. I think that it would be helpful for the incoming HoS to have the opportunity to influence the duties allocation process that will complete around April 2011, so it has been agreed with the Dean that the process of appointing a new HoS will start late in 2010, with a view to ensuring that the next incumbent is identified some way ahead of the handover. If you think you may be a candidate, the university would be keen for you to take the Headstart course, for which the deadline for applications is 19th November.

The Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology (CMN) and the Work on Graphene

The announcement this week of the award of the Nobel Prize for Physics to Professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov has been met with widespread jubilation across the University. Our colleagues in the Nano Engineering and Storage Technology group are entitled to feel especially proud, having collaborated on Graphene research since its initial discovery. The facilities of Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology, have provided an excellent platform for research at the leading edge of nanoscience and much of the early work to verify that a single layer of carbon atoms had indeed been found used the facilities of the centre.

The news serves to further illustrate the broad range of activities which Computer Science in Manchester encompasses, providing a focus for our understanding of key phenomena in other discipline areas. The Centre’s world-leading research continues today as exploration of the immense potential of Graphene and similar materials unfolds. The centre hosts a vibrant programme of research into the potential of Graphene as a replacement for silicon in ultra fast electronics, as a transparent electrode in touch screen devices such as MP3 players and mobile phones and as a substitute for carbon fibres in the high performance materials used to build aircraft.

Doctoral Training Centre Update

The application made by the school for a Centre for Doctoral Training in Computer Science has cleared the first hurdle, and representatives of the bid including Steve Furber and Jon Shapiro will be attending an interview on 12th November.

EPSRC Survey for Early Career Researchers

The EPSRC Information and Communications Technology programme invites early career researchers to take a few minutes to answer the following survey ( Responses are sought from researchers at all stages in the early career path: From Ph.D. students up to academics in their first permanent appointment, usually within 10 years of Ph.D. completion. The survey is now open and will close on 29th October.
The survey forms part of a campaign of activities with the aim of increasing the participation of early career researchers in EPSRC activities and programme advice streams. So far activities of the campaign have included :


  • Support for creation of new Centres for Doctoral Training in Computer Science and Communications.
  • The inclusion of the ICT programme within Challenging Engineering for the first time this year.
  • The formation of a focus group, consisting of early career academics, that establishes an advice stream from this career stage.


The aim of this short survey is to understand in more detail the funding landscape for early career researchers and the current level of interaction with EPSRC and to ensure that the provision of support for early career researchers is fit for purpose.

Link to survey:

Further information on the ICT Programme Early Careers Campaign can be found here:



Cyber Security Summit 2010                                     Thursday 11th November

Cyber Security Summit 2010 taking place on Thursday 11th November at the QEII Conference Centre, London.

In an effort to increase the IT security skills in the UK, a Cyber Security Challenge programme was recently launched. It will set tasks, such as treasure hunts or network break-ins, for people who want to establish their information security skills.

Cyber Security 2010 Summit will help the education sector raise standards by demonstrating the value of getting involved and providing young people with a formal route to becoming a recognised and respected information security professional. With representation from the Office of Cyber Security, GCHQ, CBI, NPIA, SOCA, the Information Security Awareness Forum and CREST, this event will put you in front of the UK’s most influential speakers, policy makers and industry experts.

The event is also CPD certified so will count towards your professional development. Full conference details can be found at:


Funding Opportunities

EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA)                                             Various

The EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA) offers a comprehensive portfolio of flexible support mechanisms designed for EPSRC researchers to overcome barriers as they arise in all of the possible routes to exploitation and application of their EPSRC research base.  The Manchester KTA has seen 5 calls for proposals since its start in October 2009.


The University’s KTA Operations Board is pleased to announce the 6th call for proposals for funding under the following mechanisms:


  • Exploitation Secondment Scheme
  • Exploration Secondment Scheme
  • Concept Development and Feasibility Study Scheme


The closing date for applications to this next call is 10 November 2010, 12pm (noon).


Applications will be assessed on a competitive basis by the University’s Knowledge Transfer Schemes Panel. In this funding round, the panel expect to fund 2 Exploration Secondments, 5 Exploitation Secondments and 5 Concept Development and Feasibility Studies.


Academics are eligible to apply for funding from the KTA if they hold a current or closed EPSRC grant, provided the proposed project will support the application or exploitation of their EPSRC-funded research.


Further information about the different KTA schemes, guidance notes and application forms are available online. Please note that guidance notes and application forms are regularly updated; please download the latest versions from the website.


Prior to submitting an application, academics are strongly advised to contact a member of the KT Team for advice and guidance as soon as possible at:



Forthcoming deadlines for applications include 23 February and 5 May 2011. There is an ongoing and regular application process for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.


Research Awards

Towards exaflop applications (TEXT)

Funding Body: EC
PI: Jack Dongarra
Award Amount: £139,845