News from Head of School
This will be the last newsletter of the year, so let me
take the opportunity to say “thanks” for the many different forms of support
that I have received during the year, and to offer best wishes for an
enjoyable and relaxing festive season.
Progress Against Credit Crunch Plan
I thought that it might be appropriate to use the last
newsletter of the year to provide an update of progress against our internal
medium-term plan to weather the financial storm. In essence, with a view to ensuring that we
were well placed to weather the consequences of the credit crunch, we put in
place plans to tighten the financial position of the school by around £2.1
million over a 5 year period (broadly 2009-2013). This is around 10% of our total income
(including research), 14% or our core income (broadly all income except that
obtained on grants that is then spent directly on research), or 18% of our
core income excluding overseas fees (used as an approximation of our UK government
The plan involved both cost savings and income generation;
previously the goals were stated in the May
10th Newsletter, and these are now associated with some progress
First, for cost savings:
Value Over 5 Years
Non Academic Staff
The figure given for Academic Salaries reflects the fact
that we know that we will manage to achieve a £350K reduction over 5 years,
although this has not yet happened. The figure for Non Academic Salaries
reflects the changes since the start of 2009. The change in Non Pay reflects
cuts to our non-pay budget for the 2010/11 financial year.
Second, for income growth:
Value to Budget Over 5 Years
To take the above in turn, with respect to UG Student
Retention, overall retention rates for the 2008 and 2009 cohorts were
similar. However, we anticipate that there will be a significant improvement
for the current first year cohort, as: (i) their average grades are
significantly better; (ii) there are fewer students on joint courses that
have tended to have higher drop-out rates; and (iii) we have fewer students
from clearing who are on second-choice programmes. With respect to Overseas
PGT, there has already been strong growth, in particular in the context of
the new programmes. In CPD (in particular Distance Learning), there is a new
programme in Digital Biology this year, and there are further developments in
the pipeline. In terms of EU Research
Sustainability, the increasing profile of EU Funding and the recent creation
of a role to ensure that we play the game better, have yet to lead to clear
income changes, but in practice changes in behaviour take time to feed
through to the bottom line; there are certainly lots of applications being
made. With respect to M + N agreements, we have a number of leads, but no
deals or students yet. In addition to the above planned areas of income
growth, in 2013 the recently won Centre for Doctoral Training grant will
generate over £200K for the school, so we can perhaps claim a To Date total
Thus two years into a 5 year plan, we are around 85% of
the way on expenditure reduction and 50% of the way on income growth. Looking
at the external environment, the most visible risks are:
That fee changes cause us to recruit
reduced numbers of home undergraduate or masters students (perhaps the
greatest risk being at masters level – if we lost 60% of our home masters
students, the reduction in income would be around £250K).
That the university will impose
reductions on our numbers of home undergraduate students with a view to
improving our retention rate (our target has been set at 190 for 2011 as
against 210 in 2010, a potential future income reduction of over £400K).
That grant income will reduce in the
context of a smaller academic community and somewhat reduced research council
budgets (a 10% reduction in our research council sustainability would be
We should anticipate that there are also some other cuts
pending the details of which have not yet been published (“known unknowns”).
Overall, however, my take is that the plan is still broadly of the scale required
to address the main visible risks.
Progress with the plan is satisfactory, but some of the more
challenging areas have yet to bear fruit.
School Christmas party 17
3pm, Staff/postgraduate common room.
There will be food and some drinks but please bring along
a drink to help things along. Email
your music suggestions to Jez Lloyd
Future Research Leaders in ICT Workshop 15-16 Feb 2011
I would like to draw your attention to the announcement of
the “Future Research Leaders in ICT” workshop to take place on the 15th-16th
February 2011 at the Scarman House conference centre, University of Warwick.
We would encourage applications to attend from early career academic
researchers across the full ICT remit. During this workshop we aim to provide
opportunities for future research leaders in ICT to:
a greater understanding of EPSRC's strategic priorities and funding mechanisms;
with current research leaders from the ICT community;
with other early career researchers from across ICT to identify new and
emerging research directions;
and form contacts to take the research ideas forward.
The number of places on the workshop is limited, therefore
those wishing to attend are asked to complete and submit an expression of
interest form by 1200 on Friday 7th January. Further details and the
Expression of Interest form can be found on the EPSRC website:
CLOSING DATE: 5pm Friday 14th January
SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY TO UKICTPioneers@epsrc.ac.uk
For how to enter and information on the prizes go to:
This exciting competition is open to all 2nd and 3rd year UK post
graduate research students in ICT related subjects who can demonstrate the
exploitation potential of their research. Your PhD does not have to be funded
by EPSRC to participate in this competition.
ICT related subjects include but are not restricted to
Electronics, Communications, Computer Science and Human-Computer Interfaces
Shortlisted candidates and their supervisors will be
invited to a VIP research exhibition and awards event in London on 23rd March
2011 attended by senior government and business representatives; providing a
superb opportunity to get yourself noticed and make fantastic contacts in
both the industrial and academic research communities.
Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships 19
The Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship scheme supports excellent
scientists and engineers at an early stage of their career, and is designed
to help them to progress to a permanent position. It is aimed specifically at
researchers who require a flexible working pattern due to personal
circumstances including parental/caring responsibilities and health issues.
Female candidates are particularly invited to apply.
The possibility of holding appointments on a
part-time basis or converting from full-time to part-time and back again
to help match work and other commitments, such as parental or caring
The possibility to claim back time spent
deferring the fellowship and/or working part-time at the end of the
The possibility of claiming some funds for family
support where these can be justified on scientific grounds, e.g. the cost of
child care during a conference or collaborative visit abroad.
Eligibility: Applicants must demonstrate a current need for flexible support
due to personal circumstances at the time of application. This can include:
current parental/caring responsibilities, e.g. raising children or looking
after ageing or seriously ill family members; or clinically diagnosed health
issues. Please note that this is not an exclusive list and further
clarification on the eligibility requirements can be obtained from the Grants
are expected to be at an early stage of their career. As an example,
applicants should have between one or two post doc positions. At the time of
application, applicants must either:
be a citizen of the European Economic Area
(EEA), i.e. European Union, Iceland, Norway
or a Swiss citizen.
have a relevant connection to the EEA or
Switzerland (a relevant connection can be established if an individual has a
PhD from a university in the EEA or Switzerland, or has worked as a research
scientist in a university or research institute in the EEA or Switzerland for
at least the past two years, or has done so before taking up an appointment
outside the EEA or Switzerland).
Persons holding a permanent post in a university will not be considered
of tenure: A maximum of 4 years' funding is guaranteed.
Place of tenure: Fellowships must be held in a UK university
or a not-for-profit research organisation (except for Research Council
Value: Provides funding to cover the research fellow's salary costs,
estates costs and indirect costs. Under the full economic costing model, 80
per cent of these costs will be met by the Royal Society. Research expenses
(up to £13,000 for the first year and up to £11,000 annually thereafter) will
also be provided.
Opening date: This round is now open
Closing date: 19 January 2011
Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships 10 Jan 11
Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships were established through
the generosity of the Leverhulme Trust and seek to provide opportunities for
academic researchers to be relieved of all their teaching and administrative
duties to allow them to concentrate on full-time research for up to one year.
Subjects Covered: All areas
of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical
must hold a permanent post at a UK institution and be at a
suitable stage in their career when they would particularly benefit from a
period of full-time research.
Length of Tenure:
Between one academic term and one year.
Value of Grant: The
fellow's employing institution will be reimbursed for the full salary cost of
a teaching replacement (up to the equivalent of the minimum point on the
lectureship scale as paid by the host university). Research expenses up
to a maximum of £2,500 are available to each fellow to cover the costs of
consumables, equipment, travel and communicating science.
Opening date: 18
Closing date: 10