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  • Department of CS newsletter

    Published: Thursday, 10 February 2022

    Weekly newsletter for the Department of CS

    [ top ]News and announcements

    New way to report Estates Issues & make requests

    As we all make a return to campus we are reviewing how we handle the reporting of Estates issues and also how we handle requests for certain things relating to our offices and environment.  The Ops team are picking up a lot of these types of issues so we have created a mechanism to capture the information in a way which makes it easy to monitor and also to pass on if appropriate.

    Department of Computer Science - Estates Issues -Report and Requests

    Please use this to report estates issues - for example - temperature too hot/cold, things being broken, ceiling tiles broken in corridor etc

    Please use this to make requests - for example - to move furniture/hardware, cleaning request (carpet/other), new office key, replacement chair etc.

    There are ongoing discussions with Estates about the heating and ventilation in Kilburn so please do actively engage and report issues with temperature so we can get them to work with us and try to resolve the issues.  Also as there has been relatively low footfall in the department up to now there are environment issues which may have been overlooked, so please report issues which you come across so we can ensure things are actioned appropriately

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Room Booking Procedure

    Our space has undergone change with various developments around the buildings and movement of teams, so there have been changes to bookable rooms and also the process to book them as follows:

    Please visit Resource Booker to request a booking in the following rooms

    (navigate to the FSE Room Booking tile -> Computer Science): 

    2.33, Atlas 1, Atlas 2, G41 & IT407

    The CSOps team will approve the bookings in a timely manner and you will receive confirmation.  You can also use Resource Booker to request spaces in MECD.

    Following a redevelopment of space on the Kilburn 2nd floor we have a suite of three smaller meeting rooms which are not quite finished, but will come online in due course.  We will communicate to you when they are fully commissioned and ready for use.

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Computer Science Department Forum

    Our next Computer Science departmental forum is scheduled for Wednesday 16th March at 2pm here in this channel on Teams. The provisional agenda is below:

    • Standing head of department item: Robert Stevens
    • Operations update from Sarah Mulholland
    • PGR report from Simon Harper
    • PGT report from Norman Paton

    If you have any agenda items you'd like to add (or remove) or any other comments or suggestions, please email

    We're having some technical issues switching from the old calendar system to a Teams based one, which means you may have received notice of a cancellation of the meeting (via email). The meeting will still be going ahead in the scheduled slot but will be on Teams at (not Zoom).


    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Kilburn Rodent Problem

    We have a Mice problem in Kilburn again.  Whilst Estates are tackling the issue with a pest control contractor, they have advised that it will almost be impossible to stop unless occupants keep foodstuffs out of their reach.  So please make sure to not leave any food sources out in the building, and to please keep any foodstuffs in sealed containers/cupboards/fridges etc.

    We will be doing building walkrounds periodically - and foodstuffs which are left out and not in a sealed container may be disposed of.

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    [ top ]Wellbeing

    Book your place on our February wellbeing webinars

    The University's webinar series on wellbeing and health topics is returning in February.  February, you can join the cancer awareness webinar, focusing on different forms of cancer, risk factors, screening and positive actions to reduce cancer risk.

    February is also Healthy Heart Month and you are invited to attend a webinar on Wednesday, 16 February focusing on heart health, including the steps you can take to make a positive difference to your own cardiovascular health.


    gravatar Marion Morris

    [ top ]Events

    Webinar: Introduction to the upcoming Highly Restricted Data Service for researchers, PGRs

    The Highly Restricted Data Service (HRDS) will be launched later this year. The project team would like to invite the research community (and any interested staff) to a webinar which will give a preview of the enhanced HRDS service. This will also cover an overview of the costs associated with the service in the future, and how researchers can benefit from a more enhanced service.

    The webinar will focus on the following topics:

    • Introduction to the services under HRDS
    • Overview of the cost model for the HRDS
    • Demo of the Data Safe Haven cloud service
    • Feedback and Q&A from the research community

    These webinars will take place on Thursday 17 February and Tuesday 8 March. You can sign up via the Eventbrite link below.

    gravatar Marion Morris

    Virtual training - ‘An Introduction to Horizon Europe’

    Event: Tuesday March 15, 2022 10:00 AM
    Register in advance for this meeting:

    Liz Fay has arranged for Branwen Hide from UKRO (UK Research Office) in Brussels to run a virtual training session for University staff – ‘An Introduction to Horizon Europe’.

    The session is open to any University of Manchester staff who want to attend but both Research Support and Research Finance Teams should try and attend this session. This will be a 2hr virtual session (10am – 12pm) and will focus on:

    • Overview of Horizon Europe 2020 and key differences from Horizon 2020.
    • The three-pillar structure.
    • Funding opportunities:
      • Overview of the different clusters (pillar 2)
      • research infrastructure
      • pillar 3
      • widening participation
    • Missions – what are they and what do they cover
    • International cooperation in horizon Europe 
    • UK participation
    • Partner searching.

    There will be time for questions.
    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting

    The UKRO webpage on Horizon Europe is a useful resource for all staff (UKRO registration is necessary to access this page).

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    EPSRC Healthcare Technologies Strategy Workshops

    Workshops: 10am-1pm

    For each theme there will be two x 3-hour online workshops focussed on identifying the things we should be considering in each theme that will have the greatest impact to healthcare in the future.

    Please register by 16th February so EPSRC have an idea of numbers.

    • Workshop 1 & 2: multiple long term or chronic conditions                    21st and 24th February
    • Workshop 3 & 4: prediction and early diagnosis                                   3rd and 4th March
    • Workshop 5 & 6: treatments and therapeutics                                     14th and 15th March
    • Workshop 7 & 8: sustainable healthcare                                               28th and 29th March
    • Workshops 9 & 10: prevention                                                               25th and 26th April
    • Workshops 11 & 12: mental health                                                        27th and 29th April

    Workshops will be able to host around 50 people at each workshop and you can apply to attend up to two workshops. If they are oversubscribed, they will need to sift the registrations as they aren’t able to host more than 50 participants online. They will sift applications by ensuring a mix of institution, career stage, sector and research discipline.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    EU Update - Horizon Europe: Overview of Legal and Financial Issues

    Virtual Training Session: 15-Feb-22, 11am-12pm

    Liz Fay has arranged for Branwen Hide from UKRO (UK Research Office) in Brussels to run a virtual training session for University staff on Tuesday 15th February on ‘Horizon Europe – Overview of Legal and Financial Issues’.

    • The Horizon Europe model grant agreement.
    • Specific changes participating organisations need to be aware of compared to Horizon Europe.
    • Horizon Europe Legal and Financial novelties.

    Emphasis will be placed on the financial changes for both costing and reporting but will also cover other grant agreement obligations.  The session is open to any University of Manchester staff who want to attend but both Research Support and Research Finance Teams should try and attend this session.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    February is LGBT+ history month

    Did you know that February is LGBT+ history month? We have marked LGBT History Month at the University every year since 2010.

    For more information and related activities this month please click the link:




    gravatar Marion Morris

    [ top ]Research News

    Computer Science in the News!

    Dr Riza Theresa Batista-Navarro, features in a New Scientist piece about how artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind has made software-writing AI that “rivals the average human coder”.

    Professor Angelo Cangelosi told The Daily Express: "The UK government has started investing in robotics in the last five to 10 years but if we really want to make this one of the significant areas of growth in the country, then it will require continued investment or increased investment."

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Dr Tingting Mu awarded Manchester Turing Fellowship for 2021-2022

    Congratulations are in order for UoMaH Research Fellow in Representation Learning, Dr Tingting Mu, who has recently become a Manchester Turing Fellow for 2021-2022.

    The Digital Futures team hosted the first of their new Turing Fellow introductory talks for the fellows appointed in October at which Tingting presented on 'Fundamentals and Applications of Representation Learning'.  Representation learning aims at extracting refined information from raw data and knowledge, and encoding it by data representation with low memory usage, which needs to be sufficiently accurate for further use in pattern recognition, prediction and exploration tasks. Tingting's core expertise is on the understanding and learning spaces that embed such data representations. In this short talk, Tingting shared her current research landscapes, covering the theory and algorithm development, as well as the practical applications in other disciplines and industry.  You can watch the recording of her talk here.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    ARM Centre of Excellence

    The ARM Centre of Excellence at UoM has a new website

    Take a look at current and past work that UoM has collaborated on with the Arm Research and Development team.
    Director: Lucas Cordeiro; Deputy Directors; Gavin Brown, Mikel Lujan; Technical Director: David Jackson

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Research Funding Opportunities

    Pre-announcement: Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships: rounds 2 & £

    N.B. there is likely to be an internal sift associated with this call - more information to come

    Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships invest in the retention and international recruitment of the best and brightest AI researchers, who will undertake ambitious and novel research with a primary focus on tackling the methodological and theoretical challenges in AI.

    Their aim is to establish centres of excellence in key areas of AI research in the UK, helping to build new capability and capacity in the UK. This will contribute to the development of a diverse and sustainable UK AI research ecosystem.

    The fellowships enable enhanced engagement between academia, business and other sectors through flexible career paths that encourage intersector mobility (fellows must be employed by the eligible host organisation for the fellowship duration). The first five fellows were announced in July 2021, including Prof. Sami Kaski.

    Applicants should be able to:

    • demonstrate international standing in your area
    • show potential for adding value to the UK AI leadership landscape
    • build new capability and capacity in AI within the UK.

    We encourage applications if you:

    • are currently employed in any sector, including academia, business, government or the third sector
    • are a UK-based or international researcher
    • have taken a non-standard career path after completing your primary degree.
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Royal Society International Exchanges

    Deadline: 09-Mar-2022

    You can apply for this scheme if both you and the overseas co-applicant:

    • hold a PhD or have equivalent research experience 
    • hold a fixed or permanent contract at an eligible organisation for the duration of the project (ineligible organisations include industrial, private and commercial organisations, university spin-out companies and government bodies)
    • are based in the respective countries at the time of the application

    Collaborations should be based on a single project and travel can only take place between the UK and a country where the overseas collaborator is based.

    Funding available is dependent upon the length of the visit. You can request:

    • up to £3k for one-off travel lasting up to 3 months
    • up to £6k for multiple visits to be completed 1 year
    • up to £12k for multiple visits to be completed within 2 years and cost share projects fixed at 2 years

    The Royal Society also partners with the following bodies to co-fund International Exchanges awards through a Cost Share scheme:

    • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy (CNR)
    • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)
    • Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (MOST)
    • National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

    This entails the UK applicant submitting a proposal to the Royal Society for up to £12,000 and the overseas applicant simultaneously submitting a proposal for an additional amount up to/equivalent to £12,000 to the partner organisation, with whom the Royal Society has a funding agreement.  In the case of cost share applications, a relationship between both parties should already be established prior to making an application.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    DSTL Invitation to participate: Creation of a Test Plan to Validate Speaker ID algorithms

    Register interest: before 11-Feb-2022
    Deadline: 04-Mar-2022

    Speaker Identification (ID) technology is used in a wide range of applications. Dstl has a requirement to understand the capabilities of competing technologies for forensic applications and other intelligence-gathering opportunities, and be able to evaluate them in a repeatable and effective way.

    This requirement is to formulate a test plan, reviewing and replicating the applicable methodologies developed within HMG, and by international governmental organisations and bodies such as NIST (National Institute of Standards & Technology), and improving and augmenting where necessary.

    The test plan will then be checked by assessing and reporting the performance of the Equipment under Test (including the latest version of the Phonate application from Oxford Wave Research).

    The test plan generated from this requirement will support the assessment of speaker ID systems in an impartial manner, with the test plan comprising a range of test cases reflecting the breadth of evaluations for specific use cases, environments and speaker types, in order to determine a system under test measures of performance and reliability under a set of conditions which are generally not fed into a vendors own testing.

    The requirement for this activity is to produce a speaker identification algorithm test plan, together with a report on the findings of using the test plan to evaluate a sample application and its performance.

    The following elements are expected to form part of this requirement:
    1.    Review existing test methodology documentation
    2.    Devise optimal test plan for tactical Speaker ID Capability
    3.    Repeat selected testing from the plan (with real, collected audio)
    4.    Augment a suitable test database and testing with new use-cases, conditions and challenges using test application (Phonate-see note below). 
    5.    Report on findings, with recommendations for future use.

    It is expected that a collaborative approach will be taken to creation of the test plan, including input from both the system-under-test vendor or software developer and the end-user (identifying conditions for which operational collect will take place). Dstl will facilitate these communications and meetings.

    Success will be measured by the completion of the tests and presentation of the results.  The database will be augmented and there will be scope for other Government departments to use the test plans for further independent testing.
    This work should preferably be completed by end of April 2022. 
    Contact for full details.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    ERC Consolidator Grants (COGs)

    Internal deadline: Monday 14-March-2022    
    ERC Deadline: 17-Mar-2022

    information-for-applicants_he-erc-stg-cog_en.pdf (

    The highly competitive and prestigious ERC Consolidator Grants are for outstanding proposals from applicants with (first) PhD awarded 7-12 years ago. Up to €2 Million is available over 5 years for 'excellent science'. Up to €1m additional funding is available for:

    (a) "start-up" costs for PIs moving to the EU or an AC from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant and/or 
    (b) the purchase of major equipment and/or 
    (c) access to large facilities and/or
    (d) other major experimental and field work costs, excluding personnel costs.

    COG grants support individual researchers that are consolidating their own independent research team or programme and who can demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their scientific proposal. With the support of the Host Institution, successful PIs are expected to lead their individual teams and devote as a minimum 40% FTE working time on the ERC project and a minimum of 50% of their 
    working time in an EU Member State or an Associate Country.

    Please contact your research support contact directly asap if you are interested in this scheme.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    ERC Advanced Grants (AdGs)

    Deadline: 28-Apr-2022

    The ERC Advanced Grants (AdG) 2022 call is now open. 

    AdGs support individual researchers who are already established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements (of 10 yrs) and who can demonstrate the ground-breaking nature, ambition and feasibility of their research proposal. Advanced Grants can be up to a max of €2.5m for a period of 5 years. Additional funding up to €1m can be requested in the proposal to cover the following 
    eligible costs when these are necessary to carry out the proposed work:
    (a) "start-up" costs for PIs moving to the EU or an Associated Country from elsewhere as a consequence of receiving the ERC grant and/or 
    (b) the purchase of major equipment and/or 
    (c) access to large facilities and/or
    (d) other major experimental and field work costs, excluding personnel costs.  

    The big change from 2021 to 2022 is the:

    • inclusion of the COVID disruption box for the CV
    • DORA ban on Journal Impact factors

    UKRO AdG webinars:

    Please contact your research support contact directly asap if you are interested in this scheme.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Sustainability and Green Impact News

    Blog released - sustainable-engineering

    Please click on the link below for a blog written by Michael Fisher and released by  Policy@Manchester for your interest.

    gravatar Marion Morris

    Upcoming Sustainable Futures Seminar:

    Geological subsurface energy storage: minimising uncertainties towards decarbonisation & Translating research into effective Green Infrastructure practice: Policy, finance and interventions in urban planning

    This Sustainable Futures Seminar will bring together researchers from across UoM and key external stakeholders to discuss sustainability activity at UoM. We invite internal and external delegates to attend this event consisting of two 25-minute presentations, each followed by an interactive Q&A.

    Date and time | 14:00 to 15:15 on Thursday 10th March

    Book Today - Final Tickets Remaining

    Dr Ian Mell, Reader in Environmental & Landscape Planning, Faculty of Humanities, Manchester Urban Institute at The University of Manchester

    Presentation Overview: The increased focus on parks and greenspace due to Covid elevated the political currency associated with Green Infrastructure planning. However, there remain misconceptions regarding the costs, benefits, and value of urban greening in local government decision-making. Alternative pathways for intervention are however visible linking policy, finance, and he creation of greener and more sustainable places. However, the evidence based used to support investment is often fragmented and requires greater alignment between natural and built environment professionals. Evaluating existing Green Infrastructure in the UK provides scope to identify who, what, and how investment in urban greening be achieved. Taking a purposely multi-partner approach to assessment enables advocates to navigate the complexities of policy formation, ratification and implementation whilst also making robust economic arguments for intervention. Reflecting on existing practice allows us to set out further opportunities to integrate of green infrastructure within urban planning debates.

    Professor Kevin Taylor, Professor of Sedimentology and Tectonics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Dalton Nuclear Institute & Manchester Environmental Research Institute at The University of Manchester

    Presentation Overview: Short- to medium-term storage of energy, particularly heat and hydrogen, within rocks in the subsurface provides opportunities for wide-spread and large-scale decarbonisation of heating and power generation. Recent research has shown that ample storage is available in the UK, both onshore and offshore. However, the efficiencies and impacts on system behaviour as a result of repeated injection and extraction of the stored energy (fluids, gases, heat) are poorly constrained. This talk will provide an overview of multi-scale imaging (2D and 3D lab and synchrotron X-ray tomography) and characterisation (pore networks, mineralogy, water-rock-gas interactions) research that we are undertaking in order to better constrain these uncertainties.

    You can find full details of all the Sustainable Futures Seminars here. If you would like to present on your research at a future seminar then please contact,

    Connect with Sustainable Futures

    gravatar Marion Morris

    gravatar Marion Morris
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Last change: Thursday, 10 February 2022 15:05:39