School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

29 September 2014


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News from Head of School

Macmillan Coffee Morning Success

On Friday 26 September we raised £185 for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity during our big coffee morning.  The raffle was a great success and marked the third occasion of our trying to get rid of the notorious teddy bears through charity events -we think we’ve finally seen the back of them now!


Macmillan supports people with cancer and their families by providing financial, medical and emotional support.


PhD student paper success!

PhD student Kostas Sechidis collected the prize for Best Student Paper at the European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML).  The paper introduces statistical hypothesis testing methodology for positive-unlabelled data.  This is highly applicable big data scenarios, where only a relatively small number of objects can be labelled.


“Statistical Hypothesis Testing in Positive Unlabeled Data”

Konstantinos Sechidis, Borja Calvo and Gavin Brown.

European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML). France, Sept 2014.


News and announcements

OneStart: Start something now

OneStart is a global initiative for young entrepreneurs. They are open to anyone under 35 across all fields of study to team up to launch and develop life science/health care startups. The winners will receive £100k and free lab space, as well as free legal and intellectual property advice. A dedicated OneStart launch will be held at the University of Manchester on the 14th of October.

Further information


LMS Computer Science day on Wednesday 29th October


The annual LMS Computer Science day on Wednesday 29th October in De Morgan House, 57-58 Russell Square, London, WC1B 4HS.


The day is free for students and £5 for all others, which is payable on the day.

Limited funds are available to help with students’ travel costs. Further details are available from Duncan Turton at the Society (


The theme of this year's day is "Computational and Mathematical Modelling for Improved Understanding of Biological Systems" and we have some great speakers:

Luca Cardelli (Microsoft Research & University of Oxford), Netta Cohen (University of Leeds), Aldo Faisal (Imperial College London), and Jane Hillston (University of Edinburgh).





Introduction: Professor John Goodacre                                           1 Oct 14

14:00, lecture theatre 1.4, Kilburn building

Professor John Goodacre. Manchester APT Group. Director Technology and Systems, ARM Ltd.

Having joined the Advanced Processor Technologies Group at Manchester part time recently, John will provide a personal introduction to his career, and both ongoing and future research interests. Through ARM, John has defined and led the introduction of various new processor technologies. As technical director of the currently running Euroserver project from the EU, he will also describe his vision for a new generation of computer systems and the prototype being developed in that project.

Challenges and Opportunities for Novel Maths in Cheminformatics             

                                                                                                         7 Oct 14

13-14:00, Alan Turing Building, Frank Adams Room 1

Professor Douglas Kell

Reasoning about small molecules is at the core of drug discovery, and the ability to do this computationally underpins the whole field known as cheminformatics.  It brings many interesting questions that cut across pure and applied maths, computer science, data analytics, multivariate statistics and machine learning.


For half the seminar I will set out some of the problems (examples) that I believe contain the potential for novel mathematics and approaches.

These will include:


- What is best mathematical representation of a molecule?

- Is graph theory the best way? Bitstrings and hash functions?

- How do I assess molecular similarity, similarity coefficients and clustering?

- How do I best navigate a database of 22 million molecules?

- Are there numerical transformations that make reasoning about molecular structures much easier (in some sense)?

- How do I best relate structures to activities?

- What is the best way to analyze molecules in terms of their substructures (a known NP-hard problem)?


The second half will allow for an open exchange of interesting directions we might pursue.

REMINDER Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Manchester event  16 Oct 14

16 October 2014, Lecture Theatre C14, Sackville Street Building


An information and proposal writing event organised by UK Research Office (UKRO) – the UK National Contact Point for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions will be hosted by UOM on 16-Oct-14.

This event will be helpful to anyone planning to participate in Marie Curie ITN application (deadline 13 Jan14). The event will cover key issues relating to planning, writing and submitting ITN proposals. If you would like to attend, please complete the online registration form.

Draft programme - Manchester (.pdf)

Digital Economy YES 2014

Deadline: 23 October 2014

Event: 24-26 November 2014, Imperial War Museum in Manchester


The rescheduled Digital Economy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (DE YES) is now open for entries either from individuals or from teams of 4-5 people. A briefing session for participants will take place on the 28th October in Nottingham.

DE YES is designed to develop business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship in UK postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers. The three day event includes an expert speaker programme and business mentoring opportunities, culminating in a competition where teams of researchers work together to prepare a business plan which will be pitched to a panel of judges.

Further information


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 November 2014

REMINDER EPSRC IAA 7th call                                                     15 Oct 2014

Closing date: noon 15 October 2014

Further info

Royal Society Research Grants                                                   15 Oct 2014

Closing date: 15 October 2014


This scheme is for UK early stage career researchers (within the first 5 years of the start date of their first permanent or limited-tenured academic position) and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables (up to £15k incl. VAT), or for academics to research the history of science.

Further information

University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI) – Pump Priming Programme                                                                                                    17 Oct 2014

Closing date: 17 October 2014

This call for pump-priming proposals is to provide support for activities that lead to an increase in successful interdisciplinary research. Preliminary data work is not eligible. Funds of £10k -£50k for up to 6 months will support and pump-prime new interdisciplinary research programmes which seek to release synergies between existing clusters of excellence (see Manchester Strategic Vision 2020). Applications at or near the maximum amount will only be funded exceptionally.


This call is open to all researchers who are eligible to apply for external research grants. Funds should be expended by 31 July 2015.

Applicants are invited to submit a two page outline to James Evans consisting of:

  • The title of the proposed project
  • A short description of the proposed project
  • Details of the interdisciplinary aspects of the project, to include details of project partners
  • Details of the likely outcomes and/or outputs from the project
  • A breakdown of the costs of the project (contact
  • The longer-term goals of the project. What future funding sources will you approach?


Successful applicants will be notified in November.

Newton Advanced Fellowships                                                        22 Oct 14

Closing date: 17:00 22 October 2014


The Newton Fund is a new initiative that aims to develop the long-term sustainable growth and welfare of partner countries through building research and innovation capacity. Newton Advanced Fellowships provide established researchers with an opportunity to develop the research strengths and capabilities of their research group or network through training, collaboration and reciprocal visits with a partner in the UK for up to 3 yrs. Applications are welcome from the following countries: Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey (opportunities vary – please check the scheme notes for each discipline).


Up to £37,000 is available each year for:

·       A salary top up (maximum £5,000) for the group or network leader from the partner country.

·       Research support (up to £15,000) to cover costs for studentships, staff, consumables or equipment.

·       Travel and subsistence (up to £12,000) to cover travel costs of the UK partner to the international partner and/or travel of the international partner to the UK.

·       Training (up to £5,000) to support the career development of the applicant and their research group or network.


Applicants must be no more than 15 years post PhD; hold a contract (permanent or fixed-term, depending on partner country requirements) in an eligible university or research institute outside the UK, which must span the duration of the project.

More information

Newton Mobility Grants                                                                  22 Oct 14

Closing date: 17:00 22 October 2014


The Newton Fund is a new initiative that aims to develop the long-term sustainable growth and welfare of Partner Countries through building research and innovation capacity by facilitating exchanges of researchers. The Newton Fund Partner Countries are: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Awards cover costs for travel, subsistence and research expenses and the grant must be based around a joint research project.


·       The British Academy programme is known as Newton Mobility Grants. Grants are offered up to a maximum of £10k for a year.

·       The Royal Academy of Engineering programme is known as the Newton Research Collaboration Programme. Awards provide funding at a flat rate of £2k per month of exchange visit (up to £24k for 12 months total exchange visit/s).

·       The Royal Society programme is known as Newton International Exchanges. Awards last from between 3 months and 2 yrs; up to £12k is available dependent upon the length of the visit.


Please Note: not all Partner Countries are participating in this call, please consult the relevant website for further details.

BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2015                                              27 Oct 2014

Closing date: 27 October 2014

BBSRC's Innovator of the Year (2015) competition is now open for BBSRC-funded researchers who have ‘stepped outside the lab to realise the potential of their research’. This competition recognises and rewards individuals and small teams who have harnessed the potential of their excellent research. Winners in each category will receive a £15,000 award, with a further £15,000 for the overall winner.

The competition has three categories:

·              Commercial

·              Social

·              Most promising

More information

Fullbright awards 2015/16                                                           31 Oct 2014

Closing date: 17:00 31 October 2014


Fulbright awards provide grants for research, teaching or a combination of the two at any higher education institution in the US (for 3-12months and for $15k- $120k).  


Awards typically provide a contribution towards any institutional fees, travel to/from the US, accommodation and general maintenance costs while in the USA. There is substantial pre-departure support, including a Finalists’ Workshop (March) and a 2-day Orientation Programme (July). Awards are available in the following categories:


·       All-disciplines Awards

·       American Studies Early Career Award

·       British Heart Foundation Award

·       Elon University Scholar Award

·       Fight for Sight Research Award

·       Lloyd’s of London Insurance Award

·       Northern Ireland Public Sector Awards

·       Peabody Scholar Award

·       Police Research Award

·       Robertson Visiting Professor in British History Award

·       Royal College of Surgeons of England Award

·       Scottish Studies Award

·       University of South Florida Postdoctoral Scholar Award

Wolfson Research Merit Award                                                    4 Nov 2014

Closing date: 4 November 2014


The Wolfson Research Merit Awards scheme provides universities with additional funding (£10K-£30K p.a.) to attract to this country or, retain here, scientists of outstanding achievement and potential. We would particularly welcome applications from outstanding female researchers. Award-holders must hold a permanent post at the university at the time of starting the award and be wholly funded by the university. However, the post does not need to have been confirmed at the time the nomination is made. 


·       Only researchers who are relocating to the UK are eligible to apply for research expenses; and

·       The Vice Chancellor’s letter of support should provide a reasoned case for the nomination (including details of the case for retention or recruitment) and state why this nomination is a priority issue.  We still require the letter to indicate support for the application and confirm that the university agrees to employ the applicant after the end of the award, if successful. The statement should include the organisation’s intention to continue remunerating the nominee with the same salary enhancement as that awarded.


Decisions will be made available in February 2015.

Wolfson Research Merit Award

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation                                                 12 Nov 2014

Closing date: 12 November 2014


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is now inviting applications to Grand Challenges Explorations, which seeks innovative global health and development solutions. Applicants can be at any experience level; in any discipline.


Two-page proposals are being accepted online on the following topics:

·       Surveillance Tools, Diagnostics and an Artificial Diet to Support New Approaches to Vector Control.

·       New Approaches for Addressing Outdoor/Residual Malaria Transmission

·       New Ways to Reduce Pneumonia Fatalities through Timely, Effective Treatment of Children

·       Enable Universal Acceptance of Mobile Money Payments to Create an Economic Ecosystem that Will Help Lift the Poorest Out of Poverty

·       Explore New Ways to Measure Brain Development and Gestational Age

·       New Ways of Working Together: Integrating Community-Based Interventions


Initial grants will be US $100k each, and projects showing promise will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to US $1 million.


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.


·       Chengkun Wu, Jean-Marc Schwartz, Goran Nenadic: "Molecular profiling of thyroid cancer subtypes using large-scale text mining", Proc. of the 13th International Conference on Bioinformatics (InCoB2014).


This paper won a Best Paper Award, and this is for the second consecutive year - the same authors got the best paper award last year at the same conference! An extended version of the paper will be published in the Systems Biology journal.


·       MLO PhD student Kostas Sechidis (supervised by Gavin Brown) collected the prize for Best Student Paper at the European Conference on Machine Learning.  The paper introduces statistical hypothesis testing methodology for positive-unlabelled data.  This is highly applicable big data scenarios, where only a relatively small number of objects can be labelled.


Statistical Hypothesis Testing in Positive Unlabeled Data. Konstantinos Sechidis, Borja Calvo and Gavin Brown. European Conference on Machine Learning (ECML). France, Sept 2014.


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