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School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

28 November 2011


News from HoS

This Week

School Events

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Funding Opps

Prize & Award Opps

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News from Head of School

Chair in Machine Intelligence

I am pleased to announce that Ross King will be joining the school as Professor of Machine Intelligence from 1st February 2012.†† His principal research interests are in the automation of science, and among other things he has pioneered the notion of a robot scientist, whereby scientific hypotheses are formed, experiments are planned to test them, a robot executes the experiments, the hypotheses are revised, and the process repeats (e.g., see


Ross has been appointed to a post advertised at faculty level for a Chair in Systems Biology; his work combines machine intelligence with advanced robotics, and he will have an experimental lab in the the MIB hosting two robots, known as Adam and Eve ( thus complements our substantial existing activities in machine learning, computational biology and e-science.

Staff Moves

We are delighted to announce that Susie Hymas has been interviewed, offered & has accepted the role of Postgraduate Administrator in SSO wef 1st December.

We are currently advertising to redeployees for a replacement for Susie's current role as Postgraduate Assistant, with a view to filling the post as soon as is possible.


Also, a reminder that the retirement event for Janet will take place this Wednesday at 4pm in the Common Room.

Christmas Party††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

The Christmas Party this year will be held on Friday 16th December from 3.30pm in the Staff Common Room/Atlas Rooms. Pizza will be provided, as well as music, but please can you bring a bottle of whatever is your preferred tipple!


World Leading Minds

The University has just advertised for over 100 academic appointments:

Specific areas of interest are listed here:

The posts listed should not be viewed as being vacancies that will be filled regardless. Within this scheme the Faculty is only advertising for chairs, and is only seeking genuinely world-leading academics. The School will also want to take account of its own strategic plan for appointments.


Roger Needham Award

This award is made annually for a distinguished research contribution in computer science by a UK based researcher who has completed up to 10 years of post-doctoral research. Nominations should be sent to BCS by the nominator Friday 16 December 2011.


Researcher of the Year: Selection of EPS Nominee for the University Award


Each School is invited to submit ONE nomination for Researcher of the Year 2010-11.


The nominee should be someone whose most recent research has successfully challenged dogma, created a new field of research, elucidated a new paradigm, made a fundamental change in thinking or impacted significantly on society. Individuals who have excelled in the area of knowledge transfer should also be considered.


Suggestions for nominations to Robert Stevens, who will circulate further information. The deadline for the School to submit its nomination is 16th January 2012.

Become a school governor in your area

As part of our widening participation and social responsibility commitments, The University of Manchester is partnering with School Governorsí One-Stop Shop to increase the number of University staff working as governors in local state schools.


Training is available to build personal skills and boost self-confidence.  Volunteers do not have to be parents nor do they need first-hand experience of the education system.  Anyone aged 18 or over, who can attend an average of 2 meetings a term, can add tremendous value to a schoolís governing body and should consider applying.


If you have a desire to help provide children with the best possible education and would like to apply or find out more, go to or pick up a freepost information slip from the Academic Support Office, room 2.127 of the Kilburn Building.


Lodanet workshop††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 7 Dec 11

Manchester Informatics and MDDA are holding a workshop on Wednesday 7th December in the Kilburn building at 10:00am-12:00pm. This is a follow up workshop to the Lodanet Meeting which was held in July. The workshop will discuss setting up student projects that could use the information and data gathered by the Lodanet Sensor that has been placed on Oxford Road.

RCUK Digital Economy Theme: Invitation to apply to participate in Sub-theme Workshops and Networks†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 30 Nov 11

Call type: Call for participants 

Invitation to apply to participate in workshops to develop research challenges and research networks


The Digital Economy Theme

The Research Councils Digital Economy (DE) Theme is supporting research to rapidly realise the transformational impact of digital technologies on aspects of community life, cultural experiences, future society, and the economy.

EPSRC leads the DE Theme on behalf of the partner research councils AHRC, ESRC and MRC, bringing together a unique community of researchers from diverse disciplines including computer science, engineering, social science, the arts and medical research; a combination of research and skills that coupled with user-led design will deliver impact.


Digital Economy Sub-themes

The DE Theme has formed four 'sub-themes' to describe the research we support (further described at the end of this document):

  • Communities and Culture - As people interact more and more over the web, what might 'community and culture' mean within a digital society?
  • Sustainable Society - Digital technologies can be used to make services more sustainable and enhance current systems (economic, environmental and social), in a way that is accessible, affordable, bespoke and popular.
  • IT as a Utility - To realise the digital economy, digital infrastructure should be so simple, accessible and reliable it is invisible to the consumer.
  • New Economic Models - New business models in a digital economy will create a more flexible, dynamic, resilient and individual-centred economy for the UK.


We now wish to further develop these sub-themes, and so are seeking applications from interested researchers and users to attend a number of one-day workshops, to explore the opportunities and associated research challenges in these sub-themes and also to create a longer term network of researchers and users around the sub-themes.


Closing date:12:00 on 30 November 2011

Issue date: 01 November 2011

Further details


Prize and Award Opportunities

Recognising and Rewarding Exceptional Performance Policy†††††††††††††††††††††††††

The policy rewards

         Exceptional Performance, generally a one-off task or project work, and

         Sustained Exceptional Performance where exceptional contribution has been sustained for a period of at least six months and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.


Applications for reward should be able to demonstrate aspects of performance that have significant impact over and above normal standards; examples may include:


         Re-engineering processes which add considerable value or increase efficiency

         Major additional activity directly aligned to Faculty objectives; e.g. NSS, Public Engagement

         Innovative and effective changes to working practices

         Demonstration of initiative in the development of novel and successful business relationships and enterprise.


Further details - Recognising and Rewarding Exceptional Performance: Policy and Procedure


Applications must be submitted using the standard form, Appendix 1 of the policy, and are usually made by line managers.  It is possible to request your line manager to make an application on your behalf but if your manager feels unable to support the case, you may make a personal application.


For the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, all School based staff applications (Academic, Academic Related and Support) should be addressed to the Head of School Administration.

Faculty staff applications should be made to the Head of Faculty Administrationís office (Room B1, Sackville Street Building)


Academic related and support staff applications should be made by 16 January 2012.


Academic and Research staff applications should be made by 23 December 2011.


All applications will first be considered locally, with recommendations being made to Faculty for consideration and decision during February/March 2012.


Any enquiries about this policy should be addressed in the first instance to your local Human Resources contact.


Funding Opportunities

FP7 ERC - Synergy Grants: Q & A on Scope and Team Structure††††††††††††††††††††

The first call of the new European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grant scheme was launched on 25 October 2011.


UKRO (the ERC National Contact Point) has prepared some questions and answers (Q & A) on this new scheme covering the scope and objectives of the scheme as well as questions on the team structure here.

The University of Manchester will be hosting one of the national ERC NCP information and proposal writing events covering Synergy Grants and Advanced Grants on Wednesday 14th December 2011.


Further information and the registration form are available here.


New Grant Awards


Title: Linked2Safety

Funding Body: EU

PI: John Keane

Award Amount: £300,448