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  • Department of CS newsletter

    Published: Thursday, 30 January 2020

    Weekly newsletter for the Department of CS

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Removal of UKRI Pathways to Impact Section

    The UKRI has announced that the Pathways to Impact section on grant applications is to be removed – affecting UKRI applications from the 1st March 2020:

    Over the next 12 months, UKRI will be piloting simpler, streamlined application and assessment processes for its research and innovation calls. These pilots will inform changes across UKRI to reduce the burden placed on researchers and innovators applying to UKRI whilst ensuring it continues to invest in the best ideas and people.
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Fire hazard warning

    Please raise awareness in your area to discourage both staff and students from continually leaving an energised phone charger in a 13A power socket.

    Please share this with your Safety Committee and remind people to turn-off the power socket outlet when an appliance is not being used or physically disconnect the appliance.

    gravatar Karon Mee

    New Member of Staff

    A big welcome to JunYong Tan who has started working in the R&A office as PG/CPD Assistant.

    gravatar Karon Mee

    Travel to China

    Please note that the University has now decided that ALL travel to China should be suspended until the end of February. Further information is detailed in the email below. There is a FAQ section for you.



    Situation update on 29/01/20 at 18.30

    Dear colleagues

    Our latest advice and support is available on a frequently asked questions document.

    If you have health concerns then you should contact NHS 111 as recommended by Public Health England. However, to make other queries regarding the current situation you can email

    Staff and students should return from China

    The University will provide all assistance possible to staff and students. All staff and students studying, on placement or University business in mainland China should book travel back to the UK as soon as possible, which will be covered by the University.

    If you have not heard from either your School (staff, PGT, PGR students) or the International Programmes Office (UG students) please check your email or contact your School (staff, PGR, PGT students) or International Programmes Office (UG students) as a matter of urgency.

    If you are a Chinese national and unable to return to the UK, please let your School know so that arrangements can be put in place to support your studies or work.

    Staff and students should not travel to mainland China

    The FCO continues to advise against all travel to Hubei Province, and now advises against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).

    Staff and students should not travel to mainland China until the end of February or until the FCO advice changes. We will review our advice on 10 February when many Chinese businesses reopen.

    Kind regards

    Simon Merrywest. Director for the Student Experience


    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]Events

    Time to Talk Day on 6th February 2020 Coffee and Cakes

    Time to Talk Day

    Come and enjoy Computer Science coffee, cakes and biscuits in Kilburn Common room from 10.30am on Thursday 6th February 2020

    One in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year (Mind), yet there continues to be stigmas and misconceptions around mental health.

    Our University made a public commitment in June 2013 to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination by signing the Time to Change pledge. In signing the Time to Change pledge, our University is committed to help raise awareness and to tackle the stigma around mental health for our staff and students.

    The University is also holding an event


    • Take a Break – come and join us at the Atrium, University Place (drop in session 12pm-2pm) to chat and mingle with colleagues and students over a cup of coffee and a cake

    If you need support or are worried about someone else, support and resources are available through the Big White Wall and the Counselling Service

    gravatar Karon Mee

    MRC Priorities and Strategy Seminar

    Event: 03-Feb-2020, 11:15-12:15 (Innovation Suite, Core Technology Facility)

    MRC are visiting The University to deliver a seminar that outlines their research priorities and long-term strategy.  Joining us from the MRC are:  Professor Fiona Watt (Executive Chair); Dr Martin Broadstock (Programme Manager for Immunology); Dr Louise Jones (Head of Translation).

    Register via:

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    FSE China Research Centre Workshop

    EoI deadline: 13-Feb-2020
    Event: 19-Feb-2020

    FSE together with BE team is hosting an afternoon workshop for FSE academics, which will explore the potential for The University of Manchester to set up a UoM Research Centre in China.
    The FSE China Research Centre Workshop will be aimed at academics who are interested in access to state-of-the-art facilities and commercialising their research; a research environment enriched by numerous universities and close proximity to industry in China as well as having access to talented fully funded researchers.
    The research areas of focus are as follows:

    •  Energy & Low Carbon
    •  Connected Autonomous Vehicles (Future Mobility)
    •  Biomaterials & Biotechnology
    •  AI  & Big Data
    •  Environmental Remediation

    Please note, there is a selection process for this event based on the criteria below. Anyone wishing to attend must provide information detailing how their research adheres to the criteria by the EoI deadline.

    •   A research idea that would benefit from being based in China
    •  Understanding or previous experience working/collaborating with China
    •  Potential to commercialise current work (TRL 3 and upwards)
    •  A commitment to spending up to 3 months per year in China on a 5 year contract

     Academics who are keen in registering their interest for the workshop, can do so through the Eventbrite page:
    If you have any questions about the workshop please do not hesitate to contact Joachim Huet(FSE) or Chenchen Zheng(BE).

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Atlas Talk: The Reachability Problem for Petri Nets is Not Elementary

    Join us of our next Computer Science Atlas Talk with speaker Ranko Lazic on Wednesday 5 February 2020 in Kilburn L.T 1.5 at 1pm

    Title:The Reachability Problem for Petri Nets is Not Elementary

    Host: Ian Pratt-Hartmann

    Petri nets, also known as vector addition systems, are a long established model of concurrency with extensive applications in modelling and analysis of hardware, software and database systems, as well as chemical, biological and business processes. The central algorithmic problem for Petri nets is reachability: whether from the given initial con?guration there exists a sequence of valid execution steps that reaches the given ?nal con?guration. The complexity of the problem has remained unsettled since the 1960s, and it is one of the most prominent open questions in the theory of veri?cation. Decidability was proved by Mayr in his seminal STOC 1981 work, and the currently best published upper bound is non-primitive recursive Ackermannian of Leroux and Schmitz from LICS 2019. We establish a non-elementary lower bound, i.e. that the reachability problem needs a tower of exponentials of time and space. Until this work, the best lower bound has been exponential space, due to Lipton in 1976. The new lower bound is a major breakthrough for several reasons. Firstly, it shows that the reachability problem is much harder than the coverability (i.e., state reachability) problem, which is also ubiquitous but has been known to be complete for exponential space since the late 1970s. Secondly, it implies that a plethora of problems from formal languages, logic, concurrent systems, process calculi and other areas, that are known to admit reductions from the Petri nets reachability problem, are also not elementary. Thirdly, it makes obsolete the currently best lower bounds for the reachability problems for two key extensions of Petri nets: with branching and with a pushdown stack.

    Joint work with Wojciech Czerwinski, Slawomir Lasota, Jerome Leroux and Filip Mazowiecki.

    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]Research Funding Opportunities

    Towards a new framework for using land assets

    Deadline: 26-Mar-2020

    UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) invite proposals to this call on the Strategic Priorities Fund programme on 'Landscape Decisions: Towards a new framework for using land assets'. This is a four-year multidisciplinary programme jointly delivered by NERC, AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC and the ESRC on behalf of UKRI.

    There is £1 million available for this call. All fellowships (full or part-time) will be in the area of landscape decision-making and may be in the form of:

    • Research Synthesis Fellowships in which fellows will review the outcomes of research within and beyond the Landscape Decisions programme in relation to policy implications and land user recommendations;
    • Research Translation Fellowships in which fellows will translate the outcomes of research into policy-relevant tools and applications by working closely with end-users and stakeholders or by working with academic groups as a practitioner;
    • Community Engagement Research Fellowships in which fellows will implement a programme of research using a range of methods to engage land users and communities in landscape decision-making.

    The programme will be structured across three work packages:

    1. Developing new mathematics.
    2. Building new model solutions.
    3. Stimulating new thinking and communities.
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships – Round 5 call.

    Internal review deadline: 24-March-2020
    Outline deadline:30-Apr-2020
    Full application deadline: 02-Jun-2020

    If you would like to submit an application contact asap for full information. Departments are asked to submit application(s) to the faculty internal review.

    Applications will be reviewed by a Faculty panel (via Sarah Chatwin). We will aim to communicate decisions to applicants week beginning 6th April.

    1. Send the following documents to Sarah Chatwin for collation by the internal deadline above.
    Departments are asked to rank applications if submitting more than one application.
    • CV in the format of the scheme template – max 2 pages - use template
    • Outline proposal - max 2 pages - use template

    2. Faculty panel will review the outline proposals/ CVs and rank the applications. The panel will provide feedback to Depts. on which candidates will be supported for submission to UKRI and confirm the process for obtaining institutional support letters.

    Applicants whose proposals have been approved by faculty review should liaise with the Research Services hubs to organise costing and submission on JeS.

    Further information:  UKRI have advised that updated guidance will be made available at the start of March.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Research News

    Publication of SPRITE+ Challenge Themes

    The recently launched EPSRC NetworkPlus for Security, Privacy, Identity & Trust (SPRITE+) has published its Challenge Themes after an online consultation and a meeting of 75 SPRITE+ Expert Fellows from academia, business, the police and government. The themes identified are:
           1. Digital Vulnerabilities
           2. Digital Technologies and Change
           3. Accountability and Ethics in a Digital Ecosystem
           4. Digital Technologies, Power and Control

    SPRITE+ is led by a consortium of five universities: University of Manchester, Imperial College London Lancaster University, and Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Southampton, and is directed by Digital Futures’ theme lead for Digital Trust and Security, Professor Emma Barrett. The network brings together people involved in research, practice and policy relevant to its core themes, with an emphasis on digital contexts.

    Profs Chris Taylor, Angelo Cangelosi and Danny Dresner are Manchester CS Expert Fellows for the project.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Sustainability and Green Impact News

    Sustainability Seminar Series: Zero Carbon 11th February 13:00 – 14:00, Simon Building 1.34

    The seminar will take a look at Manchester’s climate change target of zero carbon by 2038 and how the University and other businesses will look to address this. Speaking at the seminar will be:

    • Pete Bradshaw – Head of Sustainability, Manchester City Football Club
    • Dr. John Broderick Lecturer in Energy & Climate Change, University of Manchester

    Sign up here



    gravatar Karon Mee

    gravatar Karon Mee
Generated: Thursday, 02 April 2020 23:41:28
Last change: Thursday, 30 January 2020 13:46:59