School of CS newsletterPublished: Monday, 11 July 2016
Weekly newsletter for the School of CS
[ top ]News from Head of School
The vote to leave the EU has potentially serious implications for the School. You will all be aware that the School has substantial numbers of EU students and substantial research funding and, assuming that the country does leave the EU, we will have to adapt significantly.
This need not be a disaster. Provided that nothing happens precipitately Computer Science as one of the most popular disciplines in the UK for study and one that the Government recognises as of the most important for the future development of the UK should find a flourishing future.
In the short term the University has been communicating with all EU students that have offers for September start. The President's statement assures potential students that there will be no change in fee, in eligibility for loans or in status for the duration of their programme, based upon a statement (27 June) from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science and a statement from the student loans company.
The Dean has written to all staff in FEPS on 27th June reminding them that the UK is still a part of the EU and is still eligible to apply for EU research funding until such a time as the UK has left the EU, and encouraging staff to press ahead with EU funding applications.
Various organisations are collecting and presenting evidence of the value of collaboration within the EU to science, including the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC), Universities UK (UUK) and Scientists for EU. The Royal Society is lobbying ministers and prospective prime ministers about the impact of Brexitand expects to make a statement, probably around the time of the EuroScience Forum in Manchester at the end of July.
The uncertainty that the referendum has created is having an impact, if you are aware of any impact on research then evidence is being collected in various places, including Scientists for EU and BIS.
We face interesting times. There is no doubt that exit from the EU could bring significant change, depending on how it materialises, but demand for the discipline is strong and there should be scope for us to adapt.
My final 'duty' as Head of School will be the annual School BBQ at 3pm on Friday 22nd July. I hope that you'll be able to come along to celebrate the end of another academic year and that this year's summer of rain will change its tune for a while. Arrangements will be similar to previous years with the same caterers providing a range of food including vegetarian options. Some drinks will be provided including something sparkling but please bring your own drinks too.
Robert Stevens will be taking over as Head of School on Monday 25th July, at the same time Uli Sattler will be taking over as Deputy Head. I wish them both well. In preparation I will be moving out of the Head of School Office by the end of this week after which I can be found in room IT114 on the ground floor of the IT Building.
[ top ]Events
The Wellcome Trust is hosting a focus group to find out how researchers experience their grant application process. This is targeted at women, BME and disabled researchers who are less likely to apply for Wellcome funding. It is taking place on Friday 1st July at 11am – 1.30pm. For more information and to register, visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/have-you-ever-applied-for-wellcome-trust-funding-tickets-26167841719.
If colleagues cannot attend the session there is still an opportunity to share their experience via a survey also available via the Eventbrite link.
[ top ]Funding Opportunities
The Centre for Higher Education Research, Innovation and Learning (CHERIL) based within the Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) is launching a programme of project funding for the 2016-17 academic year.
A launch event for the funding programme will be held on Monday 4th July 2016 from 13.30 to 15.00 in the Alan Turing Building (G207).
At the launch event there will be an opportunity to find out more about the funding programme and to meet with award-holders from last year. The Director of CHERIL (Prof Stephanie Marshall) will lead the event. All interested parties are invited, to register your attendance at the event, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cheril-funding-launch-event-tickets-25578487946
The broad aims of CHERIL are:
- To provide University Senior Management with strategic advice on developments in teaching and learning across the sector
- To promote original, rigorous educational research into pedagogy, policy and practice in HE
- To promote inquiry into practice in HE teaching
- To serve institutional needs by helping University and Faculty teaching agendas to engage with day to day academic teaching practice.
CHERIL is interested in all kinds of projects related to Higher Education.
The Centre welcomes bids that support our broad aims of enhancing teaching and learning outlined in the CHERIL Strategy. Please see http://www.seed.manchester.ac.uk/education/research/centres/cheril/funding-call/ for further information
The deadline for submitting a bid for CHERIL funding is 5th September 2016.
Deadline for applications: 1st August 2016
The Royal Society are inviting applications to the Theo Murphy Blue Skies Award.
The objectives of this re-launched scheme are to support:
- Innovative research that will lead to preliminary or proof of concept data for unproven or novel and transformative ideas.
- Fundamental research in new and emerging areas or that have the potential to open up new areas of research.
- Original and bold research that may lack a sufficient evidence base in the literature and so unlikely to fare well in the normal peer review process and be supported by traditional grants schemes.
It covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering and mathematics, but excluding clinical medicine.
Researchers with an established track record in their own field that have identified an opportunity to develop their research in a new direction and into an emerging field of research are strongly encouraged to apply.
This scheme provides:
- £50,000 to £150,000, dependent on the nature of the research proposed.
- Consumables, equipment, collaborative travel expenses and if required, costs of a teaching replacement to relieve academic researchers from some of their teaching and administrative duties.
- Support for 12 or 24 months.
All awards must start on 1 January 2017.
Please contact the Research Office asap if you are interested in applying (email@example.com)
[ top ]Featured Research Outcomes
Sophia Ananiadou and Georgios Kontonatsios have co-written a paper published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, entitled "Topic detection using paragraph vectors to support active learning in systematic reviews".
[ top ]Tech Support News
Some of you will have seen my email that the Linux image in the Teaching Labs has undergone security and other updates. Any software that you rely on for Teaching should be re-tested. Jeff Pepper spotted, for example, that Perentie failed. This was due to a change in the GTK library. The issue (with Perentie) has been fixed and details are available from Jeff on request.
Please take this as a beacon and think about your own software testing over the summer.
Ian Cottam has just been to a Dropbox for Business (DfB) Update from IT Services.
- The pilot starts later this month for IT staff and the user group. I'm in the user group. The pilot will last 2 months.
- The full DfB service will launch 4 October 2016 and be an opt-in service via a request form.
- The security broker layer has been selected but it is not public knowledge yet. For quite some time, it is likely to operate in observe mode only. Much later, it may be used to e.g. force encryption on highly restricted material.
- DfB will be single sign on using e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To-date, it is staff only. A case is being made, over the next few weeks, to fund PGRs too (but we can't predict the outcome of this).
- There will be advice and FAQs as to options for the 3000 or so staff already using Dropbox accounts. The complex case is where people are paying for a Pro account, might have accumulated several perks, and particularly if you used @manchester.ac.uk to sign-up. My advice would be:
a) think carefully before deciding what to do (it is very messy to reverse a decision, to say the least);
b) it is easy right now to change your @manchester.ac.uk to a private email address -- it's a facility on the Dropbox web site -- which can then make subsequent decisions easier.
My own, ultra cautious, plan is this:
i) set up a new local account on my Mac(s);
ii) use that with email@example.com as my UoM owned DfB account;
iii) gradually share folders with it from my paid for personal account;
iv) when confident, leave the shares from my personal account;
v) eventually my personal a/c will have only non UoM content.
There are many options -- but remember to think carefully before pressing the go button.
I'm happy to advise on individual School cases.