School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

8 September 2014


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News from the Head of School

Student survey results

The School has done very well in the national student surveys for our taught programmes. In NSS our overall score has moved up 5% from 88% to 93%. That has resulted in us moving from 35th in the UK to 10th. Within the University the School is doing well, we are one of the top 5 positive contributors to the University’s overall NSS score:


The School also did well in the PTES national student survey of PGT programmes. This is a government-run survey, currently its findings are not published in the manner of NSS but they will be in future. Students on the ACS programme gave the School and overall satisfaction of 91%, for ACSwITM 94%. The University’s summary comparison of each discipline with its sector average is below, it shows the School doing well compared to the rest of the University:


Student recruitment

Until registration is complete it is very difficult to make definite comments about student recruitment this year. At the moment it looks likely that numbers of UG students and International PGT students will have increased somewhat. A huge amount of effort has gone into student recruitment, especially into the Web pages, UG open days, visit days, interviews and applicant communications. That has meant that this year we did not drop our A-level grades at all during confirmation and we did not enter clearing, so the average A-level points of our students this year will be higher. Consequently we have raised our standard offer from AAB to AAA for the coming recruitment round. I would like to thank all of the people who have worked so hard to achieve this improvement.

Academic Staff changes

There have been a number of changes in staff duties for the coming year, the full range of duties can be seen in the load model. In particular Robert Stevens has taken on the role of Deputy Head of School from Allan Ramsay, and Norman Paton has taken on the role of PGT Director from Uli Sattler. I would like to thank Allan and Uli for all their efforts and achievements over many years in those roles.

Prof. John Goodacre

John Goodacre has been appointed as a part-time Professor of Computer Architectures in the School. John is and will remain Director of Technology and System Research in the Processor Division of ARM Limited. He will participate in a number of existing projects and will lead on some new research proposals. John will be giving an inaugural lecture that will be announced separately.

Academic Promotions

I am delighted to announce that the following academic promotions have been confirmed by the University:

Simon Harper and Bijan Parsia have been promoted to Reader.

David Lester has been promoted to Senior Lecturer.

Konstantin Korovin has been promoted to Senior Research Fellow.

Kieran Smallbone has been promoted to Research Fellow (Grade 7).

Research Fellowships

Antoniu Pop has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship, and Mikel Lujan has been awarded a 3-year extension to his Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

New Scientist article features Computer Science

Ross King and Sophia Ananiadou appeared in the New Scientist (30th Aug edition) on automated discovery, particularly on Ross’s robot scientist Eve and Sophia’s FACTA+.

Students enter Micro Air Vehicle competition

Undergraduate students Antonio, Sanchez Gomez, Kirill Kldiashvili and Davide Vitelli attended the International Conference on Micro Air Vehicles to join the competition element, competing against academics and research groups from across the world. They came 7th out of 13, beating several international groups.

Animation Competition video

The winning animations from this year’s animation competition can be found here along with a video of the event.

SWB student success

Mario Rosado de Souza is a Brazilian Science Without Borders (SWB) student who undertook a summer project with Rob Haines and Caroline Jay. His work has led to a paper “Defining Sustainability through Developers' Eyes: Recommendations from an Interview Study”, Mario Rosado de Souza, Robert Haines and Caroline Jay that has been accepted for the 2nd Workshop on Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE2), which is To be held in conjunction with Super Computing 2014 in new Orleans.


News and announcements

University news: identifying fractures in medical images

Tim Cootes is working with other Manchester colleagues on a new tool that automatically searches medical images for early signs of osteoporosis in the spine by identifying fractures there and could help reduce the number of future potentially fatal hip fractures.


Steve Furber features in BBC news

Steve Furber is quoted on BBC News Online (8 Aug) on reports that scientists have produced a new computer chip that mimics the organisation of the brain, and squeezed in one million computational units called "neurons". 

School of Computer Science: new research brochure available

The School’s new research brochure is available (bottom of page). For hardcopies please contact Sarah Chatwin.

EPRSC Science Photo Competition – Launches: 1 September 2014 

EPSRC is launching its second Science Photo Competition, open to all EPSRC-supported researchers and EPSRC-supported doctoral students. Enter the competition for your chance to share your research through pictures and win top prizes.

BBSRC Images with Impact competition

Closing date: 6 October 2014

BBSRC has launched its Images with Impact: the Great British Bioscience Image Competition as part of the 20th anniversary programme, with a total prize fund of £2400.

Images must showcase UK bioscience and its importance in everyday life. Entrees can be submitted from the public, BBSRC-researchers and students. An esteemed panel of judges will selected our top finalists to go through to the public vote.



H2020 visit to Manchester                                                              11 Sep 14

  • Event: 9-16:00 (incl lunch), Cordingley Lecture Theatre - Humanities Bridgeford Street Building

Ian Devine from UKRO (the UK Research Office based in Brussels ) will update us on various aspects of Horizon 2020, including gender, ethics, open access and Research Data Management and H2020 evaluation. Please register: Horizon 2020 Information Day


RAEng Research Forum                                                                 26 Sep 14

  • Event: 10am-5pm 26 September, RAEng, Prince Philip House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5DG

Carole Goble is speaking at the annual Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) event, which explores the cutting-edge of world-class engineering research, funded by the RAEng. It provides an excellent opportunity for the worlds of research, industry, business and policy to meet and exchange views. Registration required.


Funding Opportunities

Research Support Office

Please contact us through

There is information about support for grant writing, submission and successful examples at and through EPS. The EPS blog The Word contains features News, Events and comment relevant to Postgraduate Researchers, Research Staff and Supervisors or PIs.


Important: Changes in EU Funding Opportunities

More detailed information is available now that for Horizon2020 has started (the successor of FP7 EU programme). EU research funding is important for the School and it’s important to understand what’s available

EU funding-related documents are placed by the University's EU team at:
The easiest way to find these documents is to search using the keyword: 'Horizon 2020'

A great resource recommended by the ICT National Contact Point is, which also provides handy overview documents.


H2020 and High Performance Computing (HPC)

Want to know more about HPC opportunities in H2020? The e-infrastructure special interest group of the Knowledge Transfer Network has made some slides available.

Some upcoming calls include:

·       FET Proactive funding opportunities: Towards exascale high-performance computing deadline Nov 2014

Contrails: finding understanding and countering crime in the cloud  16 Sept 14

Closing date: 16:00 16 September 2014

Working with the Metropolitan Police Service and the National Crime Agency, EPSRC and ESRC are jointly requesting proposals for a research Centre which will improve understanding of, and responses to, criminal activities and behaviour in the cloud.

Upcoming Digital Transformations Small Grants Call

Call opens: September 2014

The AHRC will be launching a Digital Transformations Small Grants Call during September 2014. This call will be for Digital Transformations relevant projects to apply for funding of up to £50k FeC. Within this call there will be a focus on projects that demonstrate research collaborations between Arts and Humanities disciplines. Projects will be expected to commence between April and October 2015.

Research Support Office

Please contact us through

There is information about support for grant writing, submission and successful examples at and through EPS. The EPS blog The Word contains features News, Events and comment relevant to Postgraduate Researchers, Research Staff and Supervisors or PIs.

 British Council Research Links Travel Grant                                    30 Sep 2014

·       Closing date: 30 Sep 2014

Travel grants are available under the Researcher Links initiative, as part of the Researcher Links - Newton Fund, and separately as Researcher Links. Researchers based in the UK and one of the partner countries may apply to spend up to 3 months in a research institution, either in the UK (if researcher is based in a partner country), or one of the partner countries (if researcher is based in the UK).  Research visits funded by successful travel grant applications must take place before 31 Mar 2016.

Joint EPSRC and POST postgraduate initiative 2015                  03 Oct 2014

·       Closing date: 03 Oct 2014

For EPSRC-funded PhD students: looking to make your CV stand out?  A 3-month secondment opportunity to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is open to EPSRC-funded PhD students.

Medical Research Foundation (MRF) Motor Neurone Research Funding                                                                                                             12 Oct 2014

·       Closing date: 12 Oct 2014

MRF is inviting applications for research that will increase understanding of the diseases and conditions affecting motor neurones. Up to £1.5 million is available for this competition and applicants can decide to apply for a grant or fellowship up to £300k over a maximum 3yr period.

Health Foundation Efficiency Research Programme                   20 Oct 2014

·       Closing date: noon 20 Oct 2014

The Health Foundation’s Efficiency Research Programme is an open call for innovative research ideas on system efficiency and value for money in health and social care.

We are inviting researchers to submit ideas on innovative approaches that support transformational change needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of health and social care in the UK. Two or three experienced research teams will be funded to explore ways that health, or health and social care services can address the challenge of increasing efficiency and value for money, and providing more for less.

Each project will receive £250k-500k for research completed over 3-5yrs.

Connected Digital Economy Catapult Fellowships Programme: EoI call for coordinating academic partner                                                    22 Oct 2014

·       Closing date: 4pm 22 Oct 2014

The RCUK DE Theme and Digital Catapult seek an academic partner to manage the delivery of a new visiting fellowships programme enabling academic staff to undertake research visits to the Digital Catapult carrying out research on user-led projects.


EPSRC’s Design the Future                                                             29 Oct 2014

·       Closing date: 4pm 29 Oct 2014

Expression of interest invited that explore how designers use the integration of new engineering and technologies, leading to the development of future products, manufacturing processes, devices, services and industrial and infrastructure systems.


MRC and EPSRC molecular pathology nodes                             10 Nov 2014

·       Closing date: 4pm 10 Nov 2014

Proposals are invited to establish high-quality molecular pathology nodes, each a multidisciplinary centre of innovative diagnostic test discovery and development bringing together the research base, pathology/genetic services and industry.


EPSRC’s Bridging the gaps between the engineering and physical sciences and antimicrobial resistance                                                              11 Nov 2014

·       Closing date (estimated): 11 Nov 2014

As part of the cross-council initiative in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) this call aims to engage engineering and physical sciences (EPS) researchers with the AMR challenge and to develop multidisciplinary networks within their institution. These networks will support people to build capacity and understanding which could lead to future research proposals.

Theme areas:

Understanding resistant bacteria in context of the hostA deeper understanding of resistance forming bacteria from genomics, through to cellular and host pathogen interactions will unveil new potential targets for antibacterials, new paradigms for diagnostics and surveillance and greater insights into fundamental mechanisms of resistance development. It will also facilitate the development of new models, both in vitro and in vivo, as well as functional screens for the evolution of resistance.

Working across disciplines, the identification of new “druggable” antibacterial targets through the application of structural, systems and synthetic biology will be accelerated. Bioinformatics, computational biology and mathematical modelling will facilitate systems-level approaches to better understand resistance mechanisms, their evolution and spread in human- and animal- bacterial pathogens. Population, single cell and molecular level understanding of resistance mechanisms and antibacterial mechanisms of action will be investigated using advanced structural and imaging approaches through fostering links between the biological and physical sciences.

This theme is expected to provide the basic knowledge to underpin many of the other activities and will aim to:

provide better understanding of resistant bacteria in the host context;

identify new targets for novel antibacterials;

define better ways of predicting and influencing the acquisition and evolution of resistance; and

uncover new markers for diagnosing bacterial infection, virulence and resistance.

A call for proposals is now open under this theme. Deadline 2 September 2014.


Accelerating therapeutic and diagnostics development

Understanding the real world interactions

Behaviour within and beyond the health care setting

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) multidisciplinary project award   17 Nov 2014

·       Closing date: 4pm 17 Nov 2014

This call is for Multidisciplinary research projects that involve both cancer researchers and scientists from engineering and physical science disciplines, where the aim is to generate original research ideas and explore their applicability in cancer research.


UK-Republic of Korea Civil Nuclear Research Programme          25 Nov 2014

·       Closing date: 10am 25 Nov 2014

EPSRC, in collaboration with The South Korean Ministry Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), seeks collaborative research applications in nuclear decommissioning nuclear waste treatment and disposal.

Eramus funding for training/ teaching in Europe 2014/15           01 Feb 2015

·       Closing date: up to 01 Feb 2015

The International Programmes Office is distributing Erasmus funding for staff mobility. Erasmus offers a funded opportunity both for academic and non-academic staff to teach, train or work in another participating European country. You could get to know first-hand the workings of another European educational system, deliver a course with European colleagues and/or discover best practices to bring back to your role in Manchester. There are two strands of staff mobility:

·       Teacher Mobility (for academic staff only)

·       Staff Training (for non-academic or academic staff)

Applications cannot be considered after 1 February 2015. Applications will be processed in order of receipt. Placements must be completed by 31 July 2015.

RAEng Research Exchanges with China and India                               now open

·       Closing date: tbc

The Research Exchanges with China and India scheme facilitates engineering research exchanges between researchers based at UK higher education institutions and their counterparts in China or India. Exchanges can be either one-way or two-way. Applications open in early September 2014.

Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security                        12 Dec 14

Closing date: 16:00, 12 December 2014

 On behalf of partners across the UK Government, EPSRC is inviting applications from UK Universities who would like to be recognised as Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACEs-CSR.) This is the third and final call in the initial phase of this scheme.


Featured Research Outcomes


Did you know…papers featured in the newsletter also go on display in the Kilburn Building (outside finance: 2.03)? Send your new publications to Robert Stevens so that more people get to know about your research.


·        Markel Vigo, Caroline Jay, and Robert Stevens. protégé. 4us: Harvesting ontology authoring data with protégé. In Heiko Paulheim, Martin Voigt, Annett Mitschick, and Roberto Garcia, editors, 2nd Workshop on Human-Semantic Web Interaction Workshop (HSWI14), 2014. Best paper winner.

·        Rak, R., Batista-Navarro, R., Carter, J., Rowley, A., and Ananiadou, S. (2014) Processing Biological Literature with Customisable Web Services Supporting Interoperable Formats. Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation

·        Rak, R., Batista-Navarro, R., Rowley, A., Carter, J., and Ananiadou, S. (2014) Text Mining-assisted Biocuration Workflows in Argo. Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation

·       'Combining Semantic Web Technologies with Evolving Fuzzy Classifier eClass for EHR-based Phenotyping: a feasibility study'
Best refereed application paper at AI-2014, Mercedes Arguello Casteleiro will present the paper in a special session on 11 Dec.

·       Mining temporal footprints from Wikipedia Michele Filannino, Goran Nenadic
Proceedings of the 1st AHA! Workshop on Information Discovery in Text (COLING 2014). Related links:
reviews, bibtex, demo, source code.

·        Studying the Evolvability of Self-Encoding Genotype-Phenotype Maps, in Lipson, Hod et al. (eds.) ALIFE 14: The Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, pp. 79-86 MIT Press, 2014. A.M. Webb and J. Knowles

·        Population Fluctuation Promotes Cooperation in Networks, arXiv:1407.8032 [cs.GT], July 2014. Steve Miller and Joshua Knowles


Have we missed something? If you have some award news that you would like us to know about please contact Sarah Chatwin.