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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Monday, 01 June 2015

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    New Dean of the Faculty of EPS

    The new Dean of the Faculty of EPS and Vice President of the University, Martin Schröder, started work on Monday 1st June. Martin joins the University from the University of Nottingham where he was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry. A short biography can be found on Wikipedia.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    In the news

    On 26th May Daniel Dresner was interviewed on Radio 5 live about identity theft: The interview starts at 02:05:37 and runs for around 13 minutes. He was subsequently interviewed on TV on BBC World News. 

    Simon Harper and Markel Vigo were interviewed for Inclusive Design 24 on Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Philosophy of Computer Science Reading Group

    For lecturers and postgraduate students who are interested in the Philosophy of Computer Science, we are running a monthly (possibly bimonthly) reading group on the topic. Each session we will discuss a set of papers related to the Philosophy of Computer Science. Some topics include:

    • Computer Science as Mathematical, Engineering or Empirically based subject
    • The validity of using Computer Science methods to solve Mathematical problems
    • General discussions on the Philosophy of Science

    Anyone can join. The first session is on June 12th at 2.00pm in Atlas 1. Coffee will be provided. We will be discussing the following two papers:

    Computing as a discipline - Denning, P.J. (Chairman), Comer, D.E., Gries, D., Mulder, M.C., Tucker, A., Turner, A.J., & Young, P.R

    The Computer Scientist as Toolsmith 2- Brooks, F.P., Jr


    If you wish to join the reading group please contact research student Michael Lee at

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Daniel Dresner on the BBC

    Daniel Dresner was interviewed this week about cyber crime on several BBC news outlets after figures showed that there has been a 30% rise in the number of victims of identity theft in the UK.

    Daniel appeared on the One o'clock news, BBC World News, BBC Radio Five Live (2 hours and 7 minutes in), BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Scotland, Radio Cumbria and an interview clip was played on BBC Radio Two.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    PhD Tutorials - a message from the CS mentors

    On Monday 18th May, we held the inaugaural PhD Tutorials event.  The speakers were selected from the School's PhD students. Each speaker was asked to present on a technology or skill which they had found to be important through their own research.  The first talk gave an introduction to LaTeX, with excellent live-coded examples. The second covered statistical hypothesis testing and the dangers of mis-interpreting a p-value. The final talk of the day presented a series of case studies of CS research and used these to explain proper experimental procedures.


    This event was hosted by the CS Mentors.  A group of PhD students who seek to enrich the academic experience for other PGR students.  We hope to repeat this event annually.  Now is the time to get thinking about what talks you would like to see at the next event and whether you might like to present something.  If you would like to join the Mentors scheme, we will have our annual recruitment in September, so watch your emails for the call.


    Our thanks go to all of the speakers who gave up their time to present at this event.  The talks were lively, engaging and attended by a broad spectrum of PhD students, new-starters and final-years alike.  The speakers have kindly allowed their slides to be distributed for people to look back over in their own time.  The slides are acessible at the following links:


    An Introduction to LaTeX - Andrew Mundy


    See also:,


    An Introduction to Statistical Testing and Estimation - Kostas Sechidis

    Experimental Setup for Empirical PhD Research - Concepts and Tools - Nico Matentzoglu


    The Mentors

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    [ top ]Events

    Session to discuss and explore marking in Blackboard

    Tuesday 2nd June 2015, 12-13:00, 1.10 Kilburn building.

    Tom Pieroni, our new eLearning support officer will be running a session focusing on how assignment marking can be supported in Blackboard and how this has changed in the new release. This includes changes to the Assignment Tool, SafeAssign (Blackboard’s integrated plagiarism checker) and introduction of the Student Preview. He will be concentrating on the changes to the Assignment tool and how these might support the way marking takes place within the School. He will be demonstrating the tool and comparing it to the current implementation of Turnitin. If you have any questions please feel free to contact him: / x64011.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Postgraduate Summer Research Showcase 2015

    Event: 05 June 2015, 10:30-4pm, Whitworth Hall and Christies Bistro


    A unique celebration of postgraduate research at the University of Manchester featuring 200+ Posters from across the University and the finalists of the Short Film Awards and Image Awards.

    The MDC Excellence Awards will also take place between 4-5pm in Whitworth Hall. A buffet lunch will be provided. 

    Open to students and staff, please register your attendance here:

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    European City of Science- Call for Proposals - Ideas for a Citizen Science Project

    Closing date: 12th June 2015

    Manchester is the European City of Science in 2016 and we intend to bring science from the margins into a wider consciousness with the general public, reaching new audiences and creating mass appeal.  We want to engage a mass audience across the UK, Europe and potentially globally through a large scale, far reaching, participatory activity - a digitally driven citizen science project.  

    We invite you to submit your ideas for a mass citizen science project that will be scientifically credible, capture the imagination of a broad swathe of the general public and appeal to an international audience. The winning idea will be fully supported, developed and launched through the European City of Science delivery partners, the University of Manchester, Manchester City Council, Marketing Manchester - alongside the BBC.

    The application is relatively light-touch (2 sections and total max 1000 words). Contact for more details and the application form.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Microsoft Research Surface Hub call for proposals

    Deadline: 12 June 2015, midnight (Pacific Time)

    Microsoft recently announced a Request for Proposals that you may be interested in. Microsoft is offering a Surface Hub and up to US$25,000 to support research. Surface Hub is a new, large platform device that has a high-resolution, multi-touch and digital ink interface. It is the follow up device to the Microsoft Perceptive Pixel.
    The primary goal of this RFP is to develop a better understanding of the role and possible applications of Surface Hub in the workforce and greater society. The hope is to stimulate and advance academic research on this new platform and to encourage applications of Surface Hub for novel purposes.
    They are looking for research proposals that will investigate new ways that Microsoft Surface Hub can contribute to work, learning, communication, and collaboration.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Wellcome trust biomedical research and health public engagement funding

    Next deadline: 26 June 2015 

    Up to £5k public engagement funding is available through the Wellcome trust but proposals must be led by PIs in FMHS or FLS.

    The scheme is open to staff and postgraduate students across the University for public engagement and outreach projects around the general theme of biomedical research and health. The proposal is light-touch (1 page A4).

    Contact for full details.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    N.I.C.E. Award 2015 - Call for Applications

    Deadline: 01 July 2015

    The “Network for Innovations in Culture and Creativity in Europe” (N.I.C.E.) theme for 2015 is “Solving the World’s Major Challenges – a call for innovations”. They are looking for projects, research projects and political strategies from the cultural and creative sector which offer innovative approaches for difficult global problems with special, but not exclusive, attention given to digital innovations.
    Entries eligible can be artists, companies, non-profit initiatives, public institutions as well as researchers and research institutions from EU member states and candidates.

    Participants should add a short promotional film (max. 2 minutes) to the application giving an insight into their work.The winning projects will be awarded with a total prize money of up to 20,000 Euro and a presentation at the N.I.C.E. exhibition on 22-23 Sept 2014 (Essen, Germany).

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    EPSRC Opportunities

    EPSRC Statements of Need for Mid-range Facilities 2015

    Intention to Submit (new facilities only): 22 June 2015
    Closing Date:           14 Sept 2015 at 16:00

    EPSRC offers an annual opportunity to submit Statements of Need for Mid-range Facilities in support of excellent Engineering and Physical Sciences research. Statements of Need should originate from the research community that will benefit from the facility rather than deriving from individual groups or institutions.

    Communities who wish to apply for a new Mid-range Facility in the future are encouraged to work with the appropriate EPSRC theme from an early stage. Any new facilities must register their intent to submit, using the electronic 'Intent to submit' form.

    All Statements of Need must use the electronic Statement of Need template form.

    All submissions of Statements of Need will be tensioned against each other and against the current EPSRC Mid-range Facilities portfolio. After the prioritisation panel, EPSRC themes will decide on whether there is enough evidence to support a facility in this area. The final decision on whether to open a tender process for a facility or how to take the advice from the panel forward lies in the remit of the respective EPSRC theme. Feedback will be sent to all Statement of Need applicants and EPSRC themes will work with the individual research communities on the appropriate downstream process.



    Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst - Round 4

    Closing date for registration: noon 05 August 2015

    Closing Date: noon 12 August 2015

    EPSRC, BBSRC and Innovate UK are inviting Expressions of Interest for funding from the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst. The Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst programme will accelerate commercialisation by supporting the development of new industrial biotechnology products and processes, and enabling their potential scale-up. It will support research and development for the processing and production of materials, chemicals and bioenergy through the sustainable exploitation of biological resources. We are particularly encouraging a collaborative approach.



    Joint Singapore-UK Research in Cyber Security

    Closing Date: 30 July 2015 at 16:00

    Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF), the UK's Cabinet Office (CO) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) wish to encourage up to 3 joint research activities in cyber security. 

    Proposals for new projects in any area relevant to cyber security, from new or established partnerships, are welcome. We intend to fund a balanced programme of research in which the individual projects can work together to maximise mutual benefit. Collaborations need to prepare a single, unified, proposal which describes a full programme of work in both countries. This will be submitted to EPSRC by the UK lead organisation on behalf of the research partners in both the UK and Singapore. Projects should last 25-36 months, starting in Spring 2016 and ending no later than December 2018.


    SUPERGEN Marine Challenge 3 - Research on Marine Energy Development

    EoI deadline: 23:59 16 June 2015
    Closing Date: 04 August 2015 at 16:00

    EPSRC, as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme, invites proposals for collaborative research projects (new or existing collaborations) to undertake fundamental research that will investigate novel concepts for marine energy development. Three priority remit areas were identified at a scoping workshop in October 2013 and have been further refined (in consultation with UK marine energy champions) to form the remit of this call:

    • Wave and Tidal Array Modelling
    • Novel Materials, Components and Sub-Systems
    • Increasing Survivability and Reliability

    Up to £3M is available for this call with EPSRC looking to fund 4-5 projects for up to 3 years. Each project should provide a single submission with a single PI. The Institutions involved in the successful application(s) will be expected to become associate members of the SUPERGEN Marine Hub (UK Centre for Marine Energy Research [UKCMER]). In order to focus effort, applicants may only be named on one proposal for this call, either as a Principal Investigator (PI) or as a Co-Investigator (Co-I).

    Any applicant intending to submit a proposal to this call must register their intent through an EoI including names and affiliations of the PI and any Co-Is, project partners, the research remit area(s), project outline, fit to UK marine research strategy and the approximate value of the funds to be requested. 


    Reminder - Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security (Early and Established Career Fellowships only)
    Issues of Trust, Identity, Privacy and Security (TIPS) are of fundamental importance to both the RCUK Digital Economy (DE) Theme and the cyber security strand of the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security (PaCCS). Working with partners across the Research Councils, together EPSRC wishes to support early and established career fellows in TIPS. Fellowships in this priority area should help to develop and bring together the community, supporting true leaders who are able to deliver both underpinning and enabling research. In your application you will need to define and justify the focus of your proposed fellowship research within this broad TIPS priority area.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Lloyds 2015 Science of Risk Prize

    Deadline: 25 Sept 2015 

    Lloyd's is the world's specialist insurance market where cover is provided for a wide range of risks, helping individuals and companies manage risks ranging from property damage to third-party liability. To help us better understand these risks, it's important for us to keep track of academic research in a variety of fields.

    Detailed understanding of risk is essential to everything we do at Lloyd’s, and the Science of Risk prize is designed to challenge researchers and Lloyd’s insurers to stretch their thinking. For researchers, the prize offers an opportunity to translate original work for a business audience. For insurers, the prize generates insights in to some of the most challenging risk management problems they encounter. Entries for the 2015 Science of Risk Prize will be accepted under two categories:

    • Big data analytics and machine learning
    • Cyber risk

    To enter, researchers must submit recently published peer-reviewed research papers illustrating their expertise in risk-based subjects of interest ti insureres and reinsurers. The prize is for researchers at every level in their career, including PhD students and Post Doctoral research staff.


    • We are offering prizes of £5,000 for the best research paper in each category.
    • A prize of £1,00 for best runner-up in each category will also be awarded.
    • An awards dinner in Lloyd’s historic Adam Room will be held for the category winners and runner-up in each category. 
    • The winners are expected to present their work at a conference at Lloyd’s prior to the awards dinner. All entrants including shortlisted entrants are also expected to show their work on A1 portrait posters, which will be shown at the event.
    • Attendance at the dinner and conference is expected for all those receiving monetary prizes.  

    Contact Lucy Stanborough with questions.


    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Reminder - Finding value in complex biological data - integrated ‘omics - Feasibility studies

    Briefing event:  02 June 2015
    Registration deadline: 24 Jun 2015
    Deadline: noon 01 Jul 2015

    Innovate UK and BBSRC are to invest up to £2.5 million to stimulate innovative, integrated approaches to biological systems. The aim of this competition is to build a commercial ecosystem to exploit the commercial opportunities of ‘omics (e.g. genomics, proteomics etc.), systems biology and complex biological data streams.  

    We are especially seeking projects that develop sustainable business models for SMEs to service innovation requirements of key industrial sectors such as pharmaceuticals and agri-tech. Projects must be business-led, collaborative and include at least one micro company or SME as a lead or significant collaborator. 

    We have allocated up to £2 million to fund collaborative R&D projects of up to 2 yrs for between £250k-400k.  A further £500k is available for smaller-scale feasibility study projects lasting 12-18 months with total project costs up to £150k.


    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    gravatar Jim Miles
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Last change: Monday, 01 June 2015 21:50:53