School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

9 May 2011


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News from Head of School

Research Profiling Exercise

The results of the university’s Research Profiling Exercise (RPE) are becoming available.  These take the form of:

1.     The raw data on which profiles are based.

2.     The grades assigned to individual members of staff.

3.     The profiles for schools based on staff grades.

In terms of dissemination, we will provide each academic with a copy of the raw data used in the RPE, the grades will be available on request shortly, and the profile for the school is as follows:


In the above, A is the top classification (and you can infer the rest!).  These are analogous to the four-point scale used in REF, but although outputs are important, there is a greater contribution to grades from activity (e.g., grants, research students) in RPE than in REF. The most substantial change from the previous RPE is the reduction in the number of D classifications in Computer Science – this is partly due to departures, but may also result from improved performance, the change in sampling period, more complete data provision, changes in interpretation, etc.


As a guide to anticipated REF returns (ignoring for now the differences between REF and RPE), note that research assessed at levels C and D is not currently funded (and this seems unlikely to change).  Thus it is a significant concern that over 30% of our staff are assessed at these levels.  The current HEFCE model funds research at ratios 9:3:0:0 for A to D, so the fraction of a return assessed at A is really crucial.  The school will shortly interact with all staff eligible for REF about their publications within the current REF period, with a view both to understanding how we are shaping up in terms of outputs and to providing guidance on how to strengthen individual returns.

New Early Retirement and Voluntary Severance (ERVS) Scheme

The university has launched a further ERVS scheme, with a view to reducing its costs in the currently challenging financial climate. Each faculty has savings targets that will only be met if there are savings in all of academic, administrative and support staff in most schools.  It is not anticipated that there will be further ERVS schemes, and the university may resort to more direct means of obtaining pay savings if the targets are not met.  Details of the scheme are at:





IMI eHealth week                                                                                       9-15 May 11

The second Stakeholder Forum of the Innovative Medicines Initative (IMI) will be held in Budapest during the eHealth Week.

The eHealth Week is jointly organised by the European Commission’s High Level Ministerial Conference and the World of Health IT Conference & Exhibition and will address healthcare issues from the home to the hospital. A number of side events and an exhibition will be organised including a workshop on "Active and Healthy Ageing – from Hospital to Home" in the framework of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing.

The IMI Stakeholder Forum will take place on 11 and 12 May during eHealth Week. The Forum was organised for the first time in 2010 in Brussels, and aims bringing together industry representatives, regulators, policy makers, scientific experts, patient representatives and science leaders together to discuss about IMI projects, the IMI Research Agenda and IMI calls for proposals.

Further information

School Board meeting                                                                                 11 May 11

15:30-17:00, IT building room 407.
Research Report, Management of MSc projects.

MaDE 2011: Manchester Dependability Week                                 23-28 May 11

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Computational and Dynamical Analysis (CICADA) is organising a week of symposia and tutorials in Resilient Engineering for dependable systems and in modelling of Cyber-Physical systems. These events are free to PhD students and a nominal charge of £25 per event is made to other research and academic staff. The events will be of interest to researchers in formal methods and in modelling complex systems. Several academics from the School will be speaking or giving tutorials during the week. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from international experts in these fields at very low cost. The programme comprises:


FIRE:  Formal and Interdisciplinary models in Resilience Engineering 23-25 May

A Research school with tutorials and lectures


IMCPS2011:  Interdisciplinary Modelling of Cyber-Physical Systems 25-28 May

Second International Symposium in the series


FORMA 2011:  Formal and Resilient Methods in Aerospace 28th May

A Tutorial Workshop affiliated with IMCPS2011


Details of registration are online. For more information contact Helen Harper.

Seminar on BBSRC Funding Landscapes                                       3rd June 11

Dr Alf Game Seminar on BBSRC Funding Landscapes
9:00-10:30, Friday 3rd June.


Dr. Alf Game will visit the MIB on Friday 3rd June 2011 to give a presentation on the BBSRCs future funding landscapes and the implications for delivery of their remit amongst other topics.  Alf will be accompanied by Dr. Colin Miles, Head of Integrative and Systems Biology.  Alf is a senior administrator at the BBSRC and is driving much of the change there and I anticipate that he will give a high level and informed presentation/discussion.


Please let Lesley-Ann Miller know if you plan to attend



Prize & Award Opportunities

Royal Academy of Engineering Prizes to Reward Excellence in University Teaching                                                                                                           14 Oct 11

The Royal Academy of Engineering have just launched the 2011 ExxonMobil Excellence in Teaching Awards, a programme which seeks to reward teaching excellence in UK universities.

The award remains fundamentally unchanged from previous years: each award is made up of a prize of £10,000 with the opportunity to access in kind support from ExxonMobil such as curriculum enrichment and employment opportunities for both students seeking work experience and priority status for graduates seeking full time appointments on completion of their degrees. Each winning university is able to tailor their own programme of in-kind opportunities to suit their specific needs or interests. To date, those universities who have been selected to receive awards have benefited from priority for graduate recruitment and employment; undergraduate work placements and internships; access to the latest case study teaching material and site visits.

Please note this scheme is for engineers of every discipline; it is not restricted to those from the chemical engineering or petrochemical engineering disciplines nor does a prospective applicant need to have any work experience in these subject areas.

Further details and application info

Deadline for applications: 14th October 2011