Department of CS newsletterPublished: Thursday, 14 April 2022
Weekly newsletter for the Department of CS
[ top ]News and announcements
Make a note in your diary:
Wednesday 27th April 14:00
Tuesday 17 May 10:00
We’ve varied the day and time in the hope that most staff can attend at least one or both of them. Do pop along and if the sun shines we can even make use of the courtyard again.
The Research Lifecycle Programme (RLP) team have been hosting a number of engagement sessions to understand the varying needs and views of researchers and research support staff, in order to define what areas of research support and infrastructure need future investment. So the team can engage with a wide range of colleagues, the workshops have been extended until mid-May.
Colleagues are encouraged to sign up to one of the following workshops, or take part in the survey, to have their say before the business case is written.
The President and Vice-Chancellor have convened a pan-university working group, under the Institute of Data Science and AI (IDSAI), to develop major University initiatives in AI. It is chaired by Professor Sami Kaski, and supported by Digital Futures. The scope of activity spans basic AI methodology, social and ethical implications, business and public sector applications, translation into practice, and engaging with the local economy. There are currently three streams of activity:
- Preparing to submit a competitive bid for a UKRI AI Centre of Excellence (AI CoE)
- Establishing, within IDSAI, a Centre for AI Fundamentals
- Developing a business case for a Turing Innovation Hub
The working group would welcome your input to any of these initiatives via this web form.
AI Centre of Excellence. We are expecting a UKRI call for proposals to establish large-scale AI CoEs. As a partner in the Turing, with over 1000 members in our data science and AI community we should aspire to become one. We do not know yet what form the call will take, but we need to ensure our efforts are coordinated. The working group is identifying areas of strength and gathering supporting evidence, but may have missed something. Let us know via the web form if you have ambitions to lead a bid or a theme within an integrated bid.
Centre for AI Fundamentals. To increase the attractiveness of Manchester for AI researchers, and build critical mass, we are establishing, within IDSAI, a Centre that brings together colleagues from across the University who work on developing AI algorithms and methodologies, complementing the broader mission of IDSAI. Let us know via the web form if you would like to be part of this community.
Turing Innovation Hub. We have been working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, ID Manchester, the Turing Institute, and other stakeholders to develop a business case for a major investment in an Innovation Hub that will engage with the local economy to accelerate the translation of AI and Digital Trust technologies into practice. We are about to launch a major campaign to engage with businesses. Please use the web form to suggest companies we should target.
[ top ]Research News
Congratulations to Turing Fellow Prof. Jack Dongarra, who has won the ACM Turing Award. The Award is often referred to as “The Nobel Prize of Computer Science,” and comes with a $1 million cash prize, funded by Google. Jack’s collaborations with Manchester colleagues include work on batched computations, mixed precision arithmetic algorithms, and the PLASMA software.
UKRI have updated its grant terms and conditions and a link to the new item and news T&Cs is below. Please note these changes take into account broader policy changes related to the NSI act, Good Research Practice and Open Access as well as some technical changes to the T&Cs of both the fEC and Training Grants.
N.B. If you receive funding from UKRI, you may be required to:
- make your research publications open access
- make your research data as open as possible
- follow good research data management practices
- acknowledge your funder in any outputs.
In collaboration with the ESRC SafePod Network, the University has now launched a SafePod on campus in the Main Library.
The SafePod Network (SPN) is a major research innovation to provide and manage a network of standardised safe settings (SafePods) across the UK for data that requires secure access for research.
Congratulations to Prof. Goran Nenadic and Prof. Therese Stukel (UofT), who have one of the five successful projects from the recent Manchester-Toronto Joint Translational Centre for Digital Health seed funding competition.
Project: Configurable federated de-identification of clinical free-text data to unlock the research potential of unstructured patient data to improve health and treatment outcomes
Talk title: Urban-Regional Planning and Data-intensive technologies: needs, trends and challenges in
Advances in Data Science and AI Seminar: Augusto dos Santos Pereira
26 April 2022 | 14:00 – 15:00
Dr. Augusto dos Santos Pereira is a Brazilian Geographer at the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian census bureau).
Given that the recent wave of data-intensive technologies spawned new sets of techniques for problem-solving in many fields, the talk aims to present the current demands, opportunities, and bottlenecks for the application of such data-centric tools to urban and regional planning in developing countries. Thus, attendants will be presented with contemporary conditions of territorial planning in Brazil and the challenges for the application of Big Data and Data Science tools in the workflow of real projects.
N8PRP is a Research and Knowledge-Exchange partnership between the N8 HEIs and the 12 northern police forces, and is funded by all 20 partners until September 2024.
The primary aims of the partnership are to: galvanise and champion research with and on policing at the N8 HEIs; build research co-production capacity; share knowledge between and across police organisations and HE; develop and disseminate innovative solutions to contemporary policing problems; and strengthen the evidence base on which police policy, practice, and training are developed.
N8PRP’s activity has traditionally focused on research in the Social Sciences, and is now extending into other areas including Medicine and Health, Computer Science and Maths, and Business and Management.
The support N8PRP can provide for UoM academics includes:
- Disseminating information about policing funding calls (e.g. Home Office STAR, The ESRC Centre for Policing Vulnerabilities, and our own N8PRP Small Grants
- Disseminating news about N8PRP events, webinars, and conferences
- Providing letters of support for funding bids for policing projects
- Facilitating access to police forces for data gathering
- Increasing the impact of research at the level of police policy and practice
- Assisting with administration for policing events and conferences
More information about the partnership can be found here: www.n8prp.org.uk.
[ top ]Research Funding Opportunities
This year’s Appointments Call recruiting to BBSRC’s Pool of Experts and the Follow-on-Fund Committee is now live on the BBSRC website. The closing date is 25 May 2022.
BBSRC will also be hosting a webinar for potential applicants on Wednesday 6th April 14:00 – 15:00. Anyone interested can learn about the roles and hear from a panel of experienced members of the Pool of Experts and Follow-on-Fund. The webinar will be recorded and the recording will be made available on the website shortly after for those unable to attend.
If you require any further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Appointments Board secretariat: email@example.com
- within the first five consecutive years of an independent research post, at the time of application e.g. ECRs. This can be either your first permanent independent academic research post or a named limited-tenured/fixed-term academic research post, obtained in open competition (note that tenure must cover the duration of the award);
- Additionally, applications may be considered from independent researchers (i.e. principal investigators) who have recently returned to academia following a career break from research.
The scheme provides up to £20k seedcorn funding for 12 months to cover:
- Travel expenses and subsistence for essential field research
Awards are expected to commence by October 2022.
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25m for game-changing and commercially viable research and development (R&D) innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy that:
- intends to commercially exploit the project results from the UK
- involve at least one SME
Projects of 6-18 months must have total eligible project costs between £100k and £500k and can be single or collaborative. Projects of 19-36 months must have total eligible project costs between £100k and £2m and must be collaborative.
Maximum Award: £300k for 3 years
The aim of the Rosetrees 2022 Interdisciplinary Award is to encourage collaboration between Clinicians/Scientists and experts in AI/ ML (being interdisciplinary is mandatory). Applications can relate to any disease or medical condition that affects a significant proportion of the population.
We hope that the merging of skills and experience in these areas will lead to innovative research that addresses unmet clinical needs. Proposals must include details on how artificial intelligence and machine learning can result in patient benefit within 5-10 years.
Projects that address logistical problems within the NHS that will result in more efficient services, reduce costs and/or improve patient experience are of interest.
The 2 lead applicants (medicine and AI/ML) should be tenured academics within the host institution. Only one ID award application can be made per host institution. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org asap if you are interested in this scheme.
Fellowships must start between: 1st November 2022 to 31st March 2023
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is the leading research funding agency in Japan, established by the Japanese Government for the purpose of contributing to the advancement of science. Our Pre/Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (Short Term) provides the opportunity for short-term visits for UK, European, North American and Canadian researchers ordinarily based in the UK or Ireland to do cooperative research with leading research groups at Japanese Universities and Institutions. The programme is designed to provide researchers with first-hand experience of the research and living environment in Japan (for 1-12 months), whilst expanding academic exchange between Japan and the UK or Ireland.
Eligible applicants also need to be either within 2 years of finishing their PhD at the time of applying to start their fellowship in Japan or have obtained their PhD at a university outside of Japan within the last 6 years (on or after 2nd April 2016).
Apply for up to £750k to investigate high priority use cases for future supercomputers. You can be from any area of the UK research community. You do not need to be a researcher working within EPSRC’s remit.
UKRI webinar: 25-Apr-2022 10.30am
Internal deadline: 27-Apr-2022
EPSRC deadline: 07-Jun-2022
The EPSRC has issued a pre-announcement for “Manufacturing Research Hubs for a Sustainable Future”. Due to the range of potential interest from The University of Manchester community, the Sustainable Futures platform has been asked to manage this process and assist in aligning and enhancing emerging bids. This includes bids that would be led by UoM and those where UoM may be a partner.
Further details of the call, which will support two £12m Hubs, can be found here.
If you are interested in engaging with this call in emerging internal or external consortia please e-mail email@example.com, providing the following information, no later than 16:00 on 27 April 2022:
Proposed UoM researchers and their expertise and affiliations (if in UoM) and external partners (with an indication on lead institution).
If not yet finalised, indicate who is being considered and what stage the discussions are at.
Brief description of the proposal (c. 200 words).
What is the area of focus? Please note that UKRI seek to refresh and complement their existing manufacturing hubs portfolio, and so ambition and innovation are key drivers of selection. Avoiding duplication with an existing Hub is essential.
Depending on the level and diversity of interest, we will convene meetings or work with teams directly to help enhance proposals and secure support.
Please note that UoM cannot support bids – either ones we lead, or we support – that haven’t progressed through this managed process, so please do get in touch if interested.
We strongly encourage colleagues interested in this call to attend UKRI’s webinar about the call, scheduled for 10:30 on 25th April 2022.
This is the new scheme which replaces the ‘NERC Standard Grant’
- Monday 23rd May 2022 (12pm) Internal review deadline for full proposals that will go to University NERC Demand Management Panel
- 23rd May 2022 Proposals sent to University NERC Demand Management Panel
- Monday 23rd May – Monday 30th May University panel meets
- Wednesday 1st June 2022 Decisions to applicants
- Tuesday 19th July 2022 NERC Pushing the Frontiers external deadline
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.
Please contact your research support contact asap if you are interested in this scheme. Complete proposals should be submitted by RSMs (firstname.lastname@example.org) to Daniel Twiddy by 12.00 23-May-2022.
Please note that NERC will be using this scheme to assess Demand Management in the same way that the old NERC Standard and New Investigator grants were. There is a slight change to the required documentation, with CVs no longer being a requirement, nor are Partner letters of support, equipment quotes or a Justification of Resources.
• Cover sheet (template attached)
• Case for Support (7 pages max – incorporating ‘Capability to deliver’ (2 pages) and ‘Description of the Research Project’ (5 pages))
• Details of any partnerships (though a letter of support is no longer required)
• If application is a resubmission, include NERC comments where possible.
RSMs must submit validated bids only where department based peer review has taken place. If this confirmation has not been received, the proposal will not be reviewed by the University.
The University internal review panel will expect ‘submission ready’ proposals. Incomplete proposals will not be reviewed by the panel.
Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered, applications received directly from academics will be returned to RSMs for validation.
In addition to this, I wanted to highlight the fact that bids for the joint NSF/NERC scheme will also need to be submitted to this internal panel for review. There are no deadlines quoted on the webpage for NSF/NERC bids, but proposals are sent to the next available ‘Pushing the Frontiers’ or ‘Large Grant’ panel.
Internal deadline: 12-Apr-2022
MRC have just announced their 2022 Mid-range Equipment Call for Biomedical Research (https://www.ukri.org/opportunity/purchase-mid-range-equipment-for-biomedical-research-mrc-equip/). A contribution of £100k-800k may be requested, up to 100% fEC.
Please contact your research support contact asap if you are interested in this scheme.
Demand is expected to be very high for this call, and MRC predict they may either have to i) reduce the scope of the call (e.g. to certain technologies) or ii) limit the number of applications per institution, following this initial Expression of Interest round.
The Expression of Interest form asks if the application has been through an internal sift process, so we would like to co-ordinate our applications to ensure they are to remit, and there is no overlap between requests, that they make full use of local strengths, and that we have sufficient resources to support applications proceeding to full stage.
If you are intending to submit an Expression of Interest, could you please prepare a short document detailing:
1. the applicants/user base,
2. the equipment sought, and its benefits (~200 words)
3. the research that will be performed with the equipment (~200 words).
This is a similar format to the EoI, with a slightly relaxed word limit.
Please submit your document to email@example.com cc-ing in firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 12th April. These will be considered by the FBMH Research Technology Development Group, with representation from FSE, and feedback given to applicants on Wednesday 20th April, ahead of the EoI deadline on the 28th.
[ top ]Sustainability and Green Impact News
Dr Jen O’Brien, Academic Lead of Sustainability Teaching and Learning, UoM
Talk title: Education for Sustainable Development in a Living Lab approach
Students at the University of Manchester alone, are a 40,000 strong force for change. Imagine the global potential. To harness that force, we are deploying Education for Sustainable Development in a Living Lab approach to partner across and beyond the University to affect sustainable change. Students are equipped and empowered with skills and confidence as they engage in interdisciplinary applied research set by external partners. Our University Living Lab was established as the first of its kind in 2013. Since then students have worked with a huge range of partner organisations, including international consultants, governments, health bodies, charities and local businesses.
Talk title: Bioeconomy Sustainability Indicator Model (BSIM)
The University of Manchester have developed a new ‘Bioeconomy Sustainability Indicator Model’ (BSIM) to provide a flexible research tool to assess and compare the sustainability performances of biomass resources, technologies, supply chains etc. This presentation will introduce the BSIM and discuss results from case studies. Also highlighting how perceptions of ‘sustainability’ varies – for industry and government stakeholders sustainability requires the generation of jobs, economic growth; social scientist stakeholders place far greater importance on public acceptance of technologies and impacts on land, food and society etc.