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  • Department of CS newsletter

    Published: Tuesday, 19 November 2019

    Weekly newsletter for the Department of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of Department

    Children in Need

    Last week we had our traditional auction for Children in Need and this year we had a cake sale too. The cakes made £187.00 and the auction made £318 - making a splendid total of £505.00

    Thanks to all that contributed items for the auction and cakes - I had some cakes and they were fab. Also, thanks to all that contributed pounds to Children in Need.


    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Courtyard update

    Work has been done on the latest round of leaks in the courtyard. These appear to have held firm during the recent innundations of rain.  There is, however, a minor lake beneath the courtyard paving. This is due to be extracted before Christmas. This will further delay the deployment of the planters etc. We're now into three years and five months since work on the courtyard started.


    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    [ top ]News and announcements

    BBSRC/MRC Summer REP – Call for Supervisor Projects

    Each year we host a number of undergraduate students across the University for Summer Research Experience Placements, funded by either the BBSRC DTP or the MRC DTP.

    These placements last for up to 6 weeks and are nominally for 35 hours per week. The student will be employed by the University (and must adhere to HR policies) and will be paid the National Living Wage.  The hosting supervisor will receive £500 to cover consumable costs for the placement.

    The placements must be within the remit of the BBSRC or the MRC and fit the priority areas of our DTPs (please see guidance in attached form). If you are interested in hosting a student, please return the attached form to by Wednesday 18th December.

    Placements will then be checked for suitability and advertised online in January 2020. The deadline for student applications will be in March 2020 and you will be asked to nominate your preferred candidate from the applications received. The BBSRC DTP and MRC DTP Management Boards will make the final decision about which placements are allocated funding in April 2020.

    If you have any questions, please contact

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Department Forum Deputy Chair Role (PS)

    An online vote was established to find a PS staff member to be come the Department Forum Deputy Chair.

    2 names were nominated and it was agreed that these 2 people would share the role.

    I am delighted to announce that those 2 people are Ruth Maddocks and Jez Lloyd.

    Their role will be to support Dave Lester (Chair of the Dept Forum) and represent the PS community. Therefore please contact Ruth or Jez with any ideas or agenda items that you would like included in future Department Forum meetings.

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Senate - Agenda Items

    The next Senate meeting is around the end of January. In a new procedure - before the meeting, Senators can add items to the minutes. In some cases, these are requests for information (which are then included in the minutes), and in other cases, these may be items for discussion.

    While these items are only related to the academic aspects of the University, I'd invite you to come and discuss anything you'd like me to add to the agenda. I won't be able to accommodate lots of requests so I'll need to prioritize which might mean you're disappointed - however, I promise to be clear and transparent about what I intend to do and why.

    As an example - before the last Senate, Robert, suggested I might raise the point that the regulations state that Teaching Focused academics cannot have a period of Academic Leave (Sabbatical). I raised this before the meeting, and it was directed to the Teaching and Learning Committee.  Without even going to the Senate, it was agreed it needed to be corrected, and this process is now ongoing to get this regulation fixed.

    I'm currently preparing two position papers of my own, one on PGR supervision for Teaching Focused academics, and one on PGR Split-Site regulations. I also have on in hand focused on academic performance assessment.


    gravatar Simon Harper

    [ top ]Events

    Applying Machine Learning to the Identification and Classification of Usability Requirements

    Join us for our forthcoming Computer Science Mercury talk with speaker Manal Binkhonain in Kilburn L.T 1.5 at 2pm on Wednesday 20th November 2019

    In the last few years, supervised machine learning algorithms have been widely applied to detect and classify non-functional requirements, focusing on providing more automatic analysis for a specific non-functional category (e.g., security). Despite the importance of usability for all interactive systems, few attempts have been made to analyze and classify usability requirements (URs). The challenge is twofold: There are a variety of definitions and classifications of usability concepts, each of which characterizes usability through different aspects and measures. And it is difficult to identify these requirements due to the cross-cutting nature of URs and the ambiguity inherent in natural language text. In this talk, we will present our ongoing experiments toward using machine learning algorithms to fully automate the process of classifying and analyzing URs written in natural documents. Our results are compared with other baseline approaches and existing works.

    gravatar Karon Mee

    A lunchtime seminar looking at HIV

    A lunchtime seminar looking at HIV as an illness, treatment and its impact on different communities. FREE (as always) by registering here:

    gravatar Karon Mee

    Rutherford ‘SWISH’ – next one on Wed 27th November!

    On Wednesday 27th November, 12:30-1:30 we’ll be running our next SWISH event. Bring your unwanted clothes and swap with others! Admission £2 if you bring items, £3 if you do not, proceeds to Cornerstone Day Centre.

    All clothing welcome – the theme for this SWISH is Winter Warmers.

    This will take place in the Rutherford Building, in the Rutherford Room.


    gravatar Karon Mee

    UMRI Multimorbidity Research Network launch event

    Event: 13-Dec-2019, 12-5pm (Dalton Room, Core Technology Facility)

    The University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI) Multimorbidity Research Network is organising a network launch event. Please register using Eventbrite (spaces are limited). For CS colleagues there is a good deal of Data Science work to be done in this area.
    The event will be co-hosted by Prof Niels Peek (UMRI network lead; Digital Health), Dr Jenny Humphreys (Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMD), Prof Evan Kontopantelis (Data Sciences and Health Services Research) and Dr Suzanne Verstappen (RMD Epidemiology, Work). FBMH Vice Dean for Research & Innovation Prof Nigel Hooper will open the event, and an introduction to the UMRI multimorbidity research network will be provided by Prof Niels Peek, Health eResearch Centre for North England, UoM. Speakers include:
    • Prof Stewart Mercer, Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity, University of Edinburgh: Multimorbidity, deprivation and the inverse care law
    • Prof Jose Valderas, Professor of Health Services and Policy Research, University of Exeter: Title TBC – multimorbidity, primary care, and quality of care
    • Prof Tracy Hussell, Professor of Immunology and the Director of the Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and Inflammation, UoM: Title TBC – new approaches to multimorbidity research at Lydia Becker Institute of Immunology and inflammation
    • Dr Ivan Pavlov, UKRI/MRC PSMB Programme Manager (incl. multimorbidities): UKRI priorities and recent calls including Strategic Priority Fund UKRI-NIHR call on multimorbidity
    The programme will include breakout sessions to discuss methodology and clinical challenges, and presentations from recently funded pump-priming studies.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Research Funding Opportunities

    Reminder: Internal deadline for NERC Standard and New Investigator grants

    ·         25-Nov 2019 (noon)  - Internal review deadline for full proposals  to be sent to (no late or incomplete admissions accepted)
    ·         26-Nov 2019 – Proposals sent to the UoM NERC Demand Management Panel
    ·         w/C 2-Dec 2019 (tbc) – UoM Panel meet
    ·         w/c 2-Dec 2019 (tbc) – Decisions communicated to applicants
    ·         Tuesday 14th Jan 2019- NERC submission deadline
     Contact Sarah for further details.
    Exceptions - Please note, the University Panel is not required to review applications where the PI is non lead, Manchester’s costs will be under £65k and there is no UoM JeS.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    RAEng APEX Award

    Deadline: 26-Nov-2019

    APEX (Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research award) offers established independent researchers, with a strong track record in their respective area, an exciting opportunity to pursue genuine interdisciplinary and curiosity-driven research to benefit wider society. There's a particular emphasis on the boundary between science, engineering and the social sciences and humanities
    Award: £100,000 plus £10,000 for public engagement activities

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation - Call for mentors

    This is a call for mentors who would like to support an engineering innovator shortlisted for the Africa Prize 2020. Mentors typically give up a few hours per month, from November/December to June. We are looking for experienced engineers (from academia or industry) and entrepreneurs from a range of backgrounds, who could help guide a shortlisted innovator on the development of their engineering products and/or business.
    For more information, please contact  Cordelia Burch

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Call for Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships

    Internal EoI: 09-Dec-2019, midday

    UoM has the opportunity to submit 4 applications for the Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships and encourages applications from more established researchers. 

    UKRI are seeking to invest in the next generation of AI researchers who will undertake ambitious and novel research with a primary focus on tackling the methodological and theoretical challenges in AI driven by real world applications. This research should show significant novelty in the development of AI technologies and should go beyond applying established AI approaches within applications. Fellows will be expected to actively seek to develop into a position of leadership in their host organisation, in the national and international research community, and engage with and influence the strategic direction of UK AI research.

    Fellows are expected to build interdisciplinary teams including post-doctoral research assistants, research software engineers and data scientists. Resources can be used for research expenses including travel, equipment, research technical support including research software engineers, PDRA and fellow salaries, training and other standard expenses. Support for studentships through this investment will not be permitted. Individual items of £10-400k equipment can be included on proposals for individual research projects if the equipment is essential to the proposed research and if no appropriate alternative provision can be accessed. However, a 50% contribution to the cost of the equipment from other sources is required.

    To express your interest in applying, please send an outline case for support (up to two sides of A4) with a CV (up to two sides of A4) by 9th December to
    Your outline case should address the same areas as the ‘Outline Case for Support’ of the call document (these are described on p.13) but we are requesting a shorter outline case for the purposes of the internal selection process.
    There will be an internal review process to select applications, which will include existing staff and external potential applicants. 

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Research News

    Prof Tsujii attends dinner with President Macron at Global Forum on AI for Humanity

    Prof. Jun'ichi Tsujii, NaCTeM Scientific Advisor, attended a dinner with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, at the Élysée Palace in Paris, the President's official headquarters. The dinner was held as part of the Global Forum on AI for Humanity (GFAIH), which was held in Paris from October 28th -30th, 2019.

    The GFAIH took place in the context of the forthcoming organisation of a Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), as decided at the last G7 summit. It will serve as the formal launch pad for GPAI and will inform GPAI Working Groups’ future agenda.

    More information

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    [ top ]Wellbeing

    Peer Support Group for Working Parents

    The Peer Support Group for Working Parents in the Department of MACE, School of Engineering launched in March this year. From the new academic year, we would like to expand the group to reach out to a greater number of people in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

    Please register now to attend the Adolescence session, which will take place on Thursday 5th December, 12.30-1.30pm, B8, George Begg Building.

    In this session, we will explore what makes adolescence a distinct developmental stage; the challenges and opportunities. We will begin to understand the psychological, physical and social changes that interact. The guest speaker (Dr Samantha Hartley) will offer some ideas for self-care and principles for managing parenting roles during this time. There will be space for discussion, reflection and learning. Tea and coffee will be provided, please feel free to bring your own mug and a packed lunch.

    Speaker: Dr Samantha Hartley, a Senior Clinical Psychologist, an expert in Adolescence. She is a HEE/NIHR ICA Clinical Lecturer working with Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester.

    More information about the Peer Support Group for Working Parents:

    What is this group for?

    The group aims to provide peer support for working parents in the Faculty of Science and Engineering with older children (pre-school, primary, high school and college).

    What is the support?

    The group will run peer support sessions and invite child experts for guest sessions. It will focus on:

    • Sharing child caring experiences

    • Work-Life Balance

    • Child with challenging behaviours

    • Child with disability/long-term medical condition

    • Hands-on advices from experts in child psychology and child care

    How can attendants benefit?

    The parenting sessions will help attendants obtain more hands-on advices and best practices, and improve parenting skills as well as manage your own wellbeing. It is a great listening and sharing place to feel that we are not alone in the child caring journey.

    Best regards,


    Dr Han-Mei Chen

    Group leader


    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    [ top ]Tech Support News

    The Technical Excellence Award 2019

    The Technical Excellence at Manchester (TEaM) network invite entries/nominations for the Technical Excellence Award 2019. The award is aimed at recognising the contribution of technical staff to the working life of the University. All staff members (including technical and non-technical PS staff, and academic staff) are encouraged to nominate any technical member of staff that they believe deserve recognition for their work.

    The award will be judged by a panel of external technical staff and the contribution to be recognised should have been made between September 2018 and September 2019. Nominations should be submitted to by Monday 16th December. The awards will be announced at the next TEaM Annual Event.

    Please email for an entry form and guidelines. Please include Technical Excellence Award in the subject title.

    Please feel free to share this email with non-TEaM colleagues to help us recognise and promote the vital contribution made by technical staff.


    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks
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Last change: Tuesday, 19 November 2019 16:42:52