School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

16 January 2012


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News from Head of School

EPSRC visit 18th January

Four of the EPSRC Senior Managers of the ICT theme will be visiting the School on Wednesday 18th January. There will be an open meeting at which EPSRC will be explaining their strategy, and the new requirement that the ‘importance’ of projects is explained in grant applications. We have to properly understand both of these in order to secure funding. There will then be themed meetings throughout the afternoon. The Open meeting will be 12:00 – 13:00 in Lecture Theatre 1.3 Kilburn Building, please try to attend. If there is anyone who wants to meet EPSRC to discuss potential funding in their area or grants that they are expecting to submit, there may still be possibilities in the afternoon, please contact Robert Stevens.

EPSRC Fellowships – application deadlines approaching

EPSRC have changed their approach to fellowships. Anybody who is in a strong position to apply for a fellowship is encouraged to read the EPSRC website carefully and then start work on a proposal. EPSRC’s fellowship website

contains details of requirements and links to specific areas of interest for all Themes.

Because of the changes in the EPSRC’s procedure, all Fellowship applicants must submit draft proposals to Faculty for advisory input and formal letters of support; this process will occur twice per year, and the next deadline for this internal submission is 3rd February 2012 (submissions to Vicky Holt, E:, T: 65803). This is aligned with the expected date of an EPSRC fellowship panel.

Computing in Schools

You will be aware that there has been considerable activity last week over how computing is treated as a school subject. Michael Gove gave a speech on Wednesday reported in full here:

and on Friday a Royal Society Advisory Group led by Steve Furber issued a report on the subject:

The School of already has a range of activities to support schools and to engage schoolchildren, and also a Schools Liaison Group led by David Rydeheard. This renewed debate about Computer Science education is a great opportunity for us to influence the policies and to further engage with schools to the benefit of all.

Kilburn Heating Feasibility Study

Faculty have agreed to fund a feasibility study of changes to the heating/air conditioning system in Kilburn Building. There is no commitment to fund any actual works or to fix any specific problems; the study will only determine what would be needed and what the cost would be. Once that is known the School will have to decide whether it wishes to go ahead with what might be very extensive and disruptive works, and would then to persuade the University to prioritise funding the work above all of its other Estates commitments.



Paying for Long-Term Digital Storage                                                     30 Jan 12

David S. H. Rosenthal, Stanford University Libraries

11:00 - 12:00, Atlas 1&2, Kilburn Building.


Paper is a remarkably durable medium. Society has come to rely in many

ways on the persistence of printed information. The rapid transition

from paper to the Web carries with it the assumption that digital

information will be similarly persistent. The LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies

Keep Stuff Safe) program at Stanford has worked since 1998 on part of

this problem, preserving e-journals.


Experience shows that while there are technical problems in digital

preservation, the biggest challenges are economic. No-one believes

they can afford to store everything that needs to be stored with the

care it deserves. But it is generally believed that the 3 decade

history of exponential decrease in cost-per-byte of disk media will

continue, making the problem eventually go away.


Storage experts are casting doubt on the industry's ability to continue

the price drops for even one more decade. The recent floods in Thailand

caused disk prices to double. The talk will describe work in progress on

an economic model of long-term digital storage aimed at answering

questions like "how much will it cost to store this data forever?",

"is cloud storage cost-effective?", "what is the effect of short spikes

in disk costs?" and "can flash memory compete with disk for long-term


The 28th British Colloquium for Theoretical Computer Science (BCTCS 2012)                                                                                                          2-5 April 2012

The 28th British Colloquium for Theoretical Computer Science (BCTCS 2012) is hosted by the School from 2 to 5 April 2012.  The purpose of BCTCS is to provide a forum in which researchers in theoretical computer science can meet, present research findings, and discuss developments in the field. It also aims to provide an environment in which PhD students can gain experience in presenting their work, and benefit from contact with established researchers. This year BCTCS is collocated with the 19th Automated Reasoning Workshop.

The 19th Automated Reasoning Workshop (ARW 2012)             2-4 April 2012

The 19th Automated Reasoning Workshop (ARW 2012) will take place in the

School from 2 to 4 April 2012.  The workshop provides an informal forum for the automated reasoning community to discuss recent work, new ideas and applications, and current trends. It aims to bring together researchers from all areas of automated reasoning in order to foster links and facilitate cross-fertilisation of ideas among researchers from various disciplines, from theoreticians, from implementers and from users of automated reasoning methodologies.  This year the workshop is collocated with the 28th British Colloquium for Theoretical Computer Science.


Funding Opportunities

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships                                                                   18 Jan 12

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.

Each fellowship offers:
-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 responsibilities etc.
-The possibility to claim back time spent deferring the fellowship and/or working part-time at the end of the fellowship.
- 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 Section.

Applicants must  be at an early stage of their career (have completed their PhD but have no more than 6 years of research experience post PhD by the closing date of the round, 18 January 2012).
At the time of application, applicants must either:
-be a citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA), i.e. European Union, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein; 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 for at least two years, or has done so before taking up an appointment outside the EEA).
Persons holding a permanent post in a university will not be considered (includes UK).

Length of tenure:  A maximum of a years' funding is guaranteed.

Number offered:  Approximately 5 each year

Place of tenure:  Fellowships must be held in a UK university or a not-for-profit research organisation (except for Research Council Institutes).

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:  18 January 2012

UK Biological Engagement Programme (UKBEP): Strengthening Biological Security                                                                                                               8 Mar 12

Call launch 18th January 2012, Central London, Call Closes Thursday 8th March 2012

Registration is only via the website


Collaborative Scientific Engagement between UK and Overseas Laboratories to Strengthen Biological Security: through Effective Understanding and Control of Infectious Diseases.


The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) is part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl) and is the Ministry of Defence’s gateway into defence research for UK science and technology for industry, academia and other innovators.


Both natural disease outbreaks and accidental or deliberate release of infectious agents are risks to global security. Infectious diseases remain a major cause of mortality and morbidity, and social and economic disruption for millions. New and emerging diseases expose global vulnerabilities, highlighting the need for investment in policies, infrastructure, education, and training for infectious disease specialists. The UK Biological Engagement Programme aims to reduce the risk of deliberate misuse of biological materials and expertise by fostering international scientific engagement, promoting best practice in biosecurity and biosafety, and building capability for effective understanding and control of the infectious disease threat. 


The programme currently funds a variety of activities in support of these aims such as:

·         collaborative research projects that link UK experts from government and academia with scientists overseas;

·         training (including biosafety, biosecurity, veterinary & public health diagnostics and experimental design & analysis);

·         development of regional biosafety associations;

·         training and workshops in support of the aims of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.


This call invites proposals on any of the above areas of activity that link a UK institute with an overseas partner that is likely to be located in: the Former Soviet Union (particularly Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Ukraine and Tajikistan); the Middle East or North Africa. Projects will be led by the UK institute but must demonstrate significant benefit both to the programme’s aim of strengthening biological security and to the collaborating overseas partner. Preference will be given to proposals that address organisms that feature on the USA’s Select Agent List ( and are of a duration of 6-12 months (with potential for extension).


The call for proposals will be launched at a seminar at the Royal Society of Medicine, One Wimpole Street, London on Wednesday 18th January 2012 (pm) and will close 1200 noon on Thursday 8th March 2012.

  • Queries relating to the technical aspects of the programme should be sent to
  • General queries can be sent to Centre for Defence Enterprise: or tel: 01235 438445.


Registration is only via the website

Further information on CDE and our other research calls is available on

MOD does not charge to attend CDE events.

International Exchanges Scheme                                       Various/rolling round

Aim: This scheme is for scientists in the UK who want to undertake a collaboration with scientists overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel.

Eligibility requirement: The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.

Both the UK applicant and overseas applicant must:
- have a PhD, or be likely to have a PhD by the time the funding starts
- hold a fixed or permanent contract at an eligible organisation for the duration of the project (ineligible organisations include industrial, private and commercial organisations, university spin-out companies,  government bodies and research institutes and research councils)
- be based in the respective countries at the time of the application
-Collaborations should be based on a single project and travel can only take place between the UK and a country where the overseas collaborator is based.  In the case of cost share applications (see below), a relationship between both parties should already be established prior to making an application.

The International Exchanges Scheme is available for travel to all countries outside of the UK.

Applicants should ensure that they meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes (available on the website).

Value and tenure:
The funding available is dependent upon the length of the visit.  Applicants may request:
-up to of £3,000 for one-off travel lasting up to 3 months
-up to £6000 for multiple visits to be completed within 1 year (including a maximum of £1000 for research expenses)
-up to £12,000 for multiple visits to be completed within 2 years and cost share projects fixed at 2 years (including a maximum of £2000 for research expenses)~

Cost-share programme:
Depending on which country your collaboration is with proposals can be considered as a cost share application.  This entails the UK applicant submitting a proposal to the Royal Society for up to £12,000 AND the overseas applicant simultaneously submitting a proposal for an additional amount up to/equivalent to £12,000 to a partner organisation, with whom the Royal Society has a funding agreement.  For details of countries covered, application and eligibility requirements please read the cost share programme scheme notes (available on the website).

Russia (RFBR) cost-share round closing date for approved applications: 01 February 2012

2012/R1 round closing date for approved applications: 15 February 2012

Brian Mercer Feasibility Award                                       30 Aug 12/Rolling round

Subjects Covered:  Built environment, clean technology, energy and nanoscience/nanotechnology.  One award in each round will be specifically in the general field of electrotechnology (including telecommunications and IT systems), and this award is supported by the ERA Foundation.

Eligibility:  The Brian Mercer Feasibility Award is open to applicants of any nationality who have a PhD (or are of equivalent standing in their profession), who hold a substantive post in a UK university or not-for-profit research organisation and who will be in post for at least the duration of the project. The project must commence within three months of the date of notification.

Applicants may make only one application per round.  Applications from individuals or groups who already have established contacts with industrial or commercial collaborators are particularly encouraged.

Length of Tenure:  Awards are not expected to exceed 12 months in duration.

Value of Grant:   Up to £30,000 (this figure includes VAT where applicable).

Number Offered:  We have funds for 3 awards in the fields of built environment, clean technology, energy and nanoscience and nanotechnology, and one award in the field of electrotechnology. Once all awards have been made, the round will close.

Opening Information: 30 August 2011. These awards now operate on a rolling round, awards assessed on a first come, first served basis.  Once all awards have been made, the round will close.

REMINDER: Nominations required for University Distinguished Achievement Awards

The 2012 University Distinguished Achievement Awards process is underway. Awards will be made in the six categories listed below, please suggest names in any of the categories to one of the people listed before 20th January 2012.


1) Teacher of the Year suggestions to Steve Pettifer, Toby Howard, Graham Gough or Uli Sattler.

2) Researcher of the Year suggestions to Robert Stevens.

3) Undergraduate Student of the Year suggestions to Toby Howard or Graham Gough.

4) Postgraduate Student of the Year (this category is open to both PGR and PGT students) suggestions to Alvaro Fernades or Uli Sattler

5) Professional Support Services and Academic Services Members and Teams of the Year suggestions to Ursula Hayes.

6) Distinguished Achievement AwardGeneral  (any exceptional achievement or contribution not covered by one of the categories above) suggestions to Ursula Hayes or Jim Miles.