School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

 18 March 2013


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News from the Head of School

PASS Success

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Support) facilitates learning through mentoring from students in higher years. This year’s PASS leaders have doubled the attendance rate of first year students at the weekly sessions and developed the activities for second years, providing a mixture of sessions on particular themes, such as course unit options, finding an industrial placement and exam technique, with drop-in clinics for academic support. This year has also seen the first session for third years, giving them the opportunity to talk to current MSc and PhD students about post-graduate study. All these activities are almost entirely organized and run by student volunteers and have been very beneficial to students. In recognition of their contribution the School invited the PASS leaders to a meal at the Red Hot World Buffet on Deansgate.

Staff Survey – you might win an iPad

The University aims to achieve at least a 50% completion rate for its staff survey this year so that it can have some confidence that the results are properly representative of staff opinions. The survey is being operated independently of the University to ensure confidentiality. You should have received an email asking you to complete the survey, the email address that the message came from should have been ‘Surveys, Staff’ and the subject line should have been ‘University of Manchester Staff Survey’. More information can be found at:

Please take some time to complete the survey. You will be entered into a raffle for one of 6 iPads.

Comic Relief Fun

As you can see from the delightfully dressed denizens of CS/IT in the picture

below the School held a fancy dress day on Friday 15th March to raise funds for Comic Relief.  The theme was comic or film characters and I hope you will agree that they earned the money!



A Message from the Dean: EPS Acting Associate Dean for Research             

“Following Hugh McCann’s departure, I have asked Professor Steve Yeates (School of Chemistry) to be Acting Associate Dean for Research in the faculty (


In the first instance I have asked Steve to concentrate on REF to ensure that we do not lose momentum in this area.  I hope that you will join me in supporting Steve in his new role.”

Colin Bailey

EC Consultation on future directions

Contributions to the FET 2012 (Oct-Dec) consultation on key science and technology areas for the future are available to view and comments may still be submitted. The EC have acknowledged that the consultation has a relevance that goes beyond FET and may be useful in shaping some of the other parts of the future Horizon 2020 Work programmes so please take some time to have your say by liking, disliking or commenting on proposals around your area. These results will be considered in the preparation of the H2020 and the Work programme 2014-2015 and possibly complemented by targeted workshops on dedicated topics.

EPSRC Advanced Materials, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and Energy Storage event                                                                                                  21 Mar 13

Vicky Holt is due to attend an EPSRC information event on 21st March in London, focusing on EPSRC’s plans for the recent capital funding received in support of Advanced Materials, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and Energy Storage. EPSRC will inform attendees about the call and answer any questions that there may be. Please contact Vicky if you have any questions to put forward if the chance arises.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference                            20 Mar 13

Deadline for registration is Friday 15 March.

Please register and detail dietary requirements to Lynn Davies.

12.30-1.15: Lunch and networking

1.15-1.45:  Higher Education Academy Advisors

1.45-2.00: Introduction from the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning

2.00-2.45: Parallel sessions

2.45-3.15: Refreshments and networking 

3.15-4.00: Parallel sessions

4.00-4.30: Plenary discussions and action plans


Presenters for Parallel Sessions:

·         Richness, responsiveness and relationship: using rich media materials to enhance teaching of core concepts … Fiona Saunders (MACE)

·         Distance learning, challenges and opportunities’… Andy Gale (MACE)

·         ‘Textiles has talent’: enhancing delivery, content and assessment of professional and employability skills…Liz Barnes (Materials)

·         ‘Embedding employability enhancement: the use of surveys to establish efficacy’… Frances Hill (MACE)

·         ‘The Journey’: a web resource to help students to acclimatise to the expectations of the University of Manchester and expectations in the UK…Mark Hughes (Physics)

·         ‘Support to first year UG students in Mathematics in EEE’… Fumie Costen (EEE)

·         ‘A blended approach to embedding employability skills and global societal responsibility: an NTFS study through a Masters unit in managing humanitarian aid projects’… Bland Tomkinson (MACE)

·         ‘Learning styles: variations amongst students; differences between cultures and disciplines’… Frances Hill (MACE)

·         ‘The impact of research, reading and training on 1st Year UG student performance: dealing with plagiarism’… David Schultz (EAES)

·         ‘Student views on aspects of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning’… (Students from Physics and Astronomy)

·         ‘Gender difference in the conceptual understanding of Newtonian mechanics: a UK cross-institution comparison’… Marion Birch & Niels Walet (Physics)

UoM ESRC presentation                                                                              25 Mar 13

·         12pm 25 Mar 2013, John Casken Lecture Theatre, Martin Harris Centre


Professor Paul Boyle, CEO of ESRC is giving a presentation to all staff, outlining ESRC strategic priorities and future investment areas going forward. For more information please contact Jared Ruff.


Funding Opportunities

School Research Office

Please contact us through

There is information about support for grant writing and submission at

eFuturesXD                                                                                                                 N/A

           Closing date: N/A

eFuturesXD has a total of £600k available over 3 years, with panels meeting every month to review applications. Awards must involve at least 2 partners from UK universities (incl. intra-University applications) and be cross-disciplinary within ICT. At least one applicant must be from the electronics community, registered and active within eFutures. The following are available:


·         Travel award up to £5k

·         Meeting award up to £10k

·         Facility award up to £20k

·         Staff award up to £60k

SUPERGEN Energy Storage Scoping Workshop                               24 April 13

·         Closing date: 24 Apr 2013

·         Event: 6 June 2013, Birmingham


The EPSRC is calling for participants, as part of the RCUK Energy Programme, for a future workshop to help scope future investments in energy storage research.


Please register for the workshop to be able to input into the strategic direction of the UK energy storage research community, establish priority research areas for the forthcoming call for a SUPERGEN Energy Storage hub and consider areas for subsequent energy storage research calls.


Research Professional is a useful search engine for finding other funding opportunities.