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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Monday, 19 September 2016

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    News from Head of School

    It's week 0 this week, which is a very busy time of year, so I will keep this message brief.

    We will know final student numbers very soon, but we do know we have a very large 1st year. This means a lot of hard work for staff within the School for which I'm very appreciative. I'm sure that we will all welcome our new students - undergraduates, masters and PhD students - and make their time in Manchester stimulating and enjoyable.

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    Computer Science specialists needed for ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

    Opportunity to take part in Athena SWAN judging panels

    The Athena SWAN Charter is a peer-reviewed recognition scheme of commitment to promoting and advancing gender equality in higher education institutions and research institutes. Equality Challenge Unit, which runs Athena SWAN, is recruiting additional specialists to take part in panels assessing applications, and is particularly looking for computer science specialists.

    As a panellist, you will join a number of peers to evaluate applications from departments related to your discipline. This is an opportunity not only to further gender equality, but also to share and develop your own equality and diversity knowledge, gain insight into the equality charter process and current good practice across the sector, and to build your own professional networks and experience.

    If you are interested in lending your discipline-specific experience to help promote and advance gender equality in higher education and research institutes, please complete the brief online form to register your interest.

    You’ll also find further information on the role of Athena SWAN panellists. All panellists will receive training via live webinars and receive ongoing support throughout the process. If you’d like further information, please don’t hesitate to contact

    gravatar Liz Caine

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Student prize success

    Congratulations to Veneta Haralampieva (CSwIE, graduated 2016) who was Highly Commended in the international Undergraduate Awards for her 3rd Year Project. The scheme, which recognises exceptional performance at UG level, ran across 244 universities worldwide, with a total of 5,514 project entries. Veneta was selected as one of the 9 best Computer Science projects worldwide – an exceptional achievement!

    Congratulations also to Almudena Carrera Vazquez (CM, graduated 2016) who received one of the University’s prestigious Academic Achievement Awards, awarded to the top 0.5% of students across the whole University.

    gravatar Liz Caine

    PGT Update

    • Numbers. We have continued to see growing overseas demand, and Home/EU applications have also inched back up. To try to manage numbers, we have been increasing our entry requirements, and introduced an application deadline. The total expected numbers are: Full time: 143 (114 Overseas; 29 Home); Part Time/Modular: 6. This compares with 154 full time students in 2015/16.
    • Projects. The main changes for the forthcoming year relate to the projects.  Supervision will start half way through the 2nd semester so that there is no longer an overlap with UG project supervision, there will be 1 rather than 2 deliverables during the second semester, and all second marking will be by way of duties that have already been allocated through duties allocation.
    • PTES. The School level data on PTES shows an improvement in overall satisfaction from 71% to 89%, which is well above the university average of 82%.  Many thanks to all who have contributed to the teaching and running of the programme in the last year and for going the extra mile when this has been required.
    gravatar Robert Stevens

    AskMe badges

    Dear Staff

    AskMe badges are available in ACSO (room 2.127) if you require one.  A guide to what you may be asked and some useful resources can be found here.

    Have a great welcome week everyone!

    ACSO Team

    gravatar Karen Corless

    Sophia Ananiadou delivers keynote speech at major international language processing conference.

    Prof. Sophia Ananiadou delivered the keynote speech at the 32nd International Conference on the Spanish Society for Natural Language Processing The conference was held in the city of Salamanca between 13th and 16th of September as part of CEDI 2016.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    UK Treasury Guarantees EU Funding for UK Researchers Beyond the Date UK Leaves the EU

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury have released a statement confirming that EU funding will be guaranteed beyond the date the UK leaves the EU.  The statement provides assurance that "where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK's departure from the EU".

    It was also reiterated that British universities and research organisations should continue to apply for EU funding through mechanisms such as Horizon 2020 while the UK remains a member of the EU.  

    The statement from the Treasury has been welcomed in a follow-up statement from Research Councils UK, and in press releases from Innovate UK, Universities UK, HEFCE and the Russell Group.

    The statement also covers structural and investment funds, and has confirmed that structural and investment fund projects signed before the 2016 Autumn Statement will be fully funded even where they continue beyond the date of UK departure from the EU.  Additionally, arrangements will be made to assess whether to guarantee funding for specific structural and investment projects signed following the Autumn Statement, but before the UK leaves the EU.

    Further details on this will be confirmed prior to the Autumn Statement.

    It was noted in the statement that David Gauke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has written to each of the devolved administrations in the UK in order to confirm that the same level of assurances provided to UK government departments also apply to them, in terms of programmes that they administer but which are dependent on EU funding.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Events

    School Leadership Team (SLT) - call for agenda items

    The next School Leadership Team (SLT) meeting will be at 3pm on 28th September. Please email Robert Stevens with any agenda items (plus an explanation) that you think should be raised and discussed at SLT.

    gravatar Karen Corless

    Seminar - Deep Learning, Hardware, and TensorFlow 21/09/16

    Deep Learning, Hardware, and TensorFlow by Pete Warden (Google) on 21/09/16 KB L.T. 1.5  at 14:00

    The rise of deep learning as a solution for many audio, image, NLP, and other ML problems and its computationally-intensive nature means that new approaches for hardware have become attractive. This seminar will discuss the work that Google has been doing with TensorFlow to support different platforms, with a focus on ARM and DSP solutions for mobile and embedded deployment of models. Topics will include eight-bit arithmetic, model minimization, and cascade approaches to power minimization.

    Pete Warden is the technical lead of Google's TensorFlow deep learning framework. He was founder and CTO of Jetpac, acquired by Google in 2014 for its mobile deep learning technology, and previously worked at Apple on GPGPU optimizations after a career in the game industry. He's the author of several books on data for O'Reilly, and is a Manchester CS graduate.

    Refreshments served after the seminar at 3pm in the Staff tearoom.

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    EPSRC Workshop on New Opportunities in Signal Processing

    Deadline: 21st October 2016

    EPSRC is holding a two-day workshop on New Opportunities in Signal Processing, at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Bristol, between the 7th and 8th Febrary 2017.

    More information, such as a list of possible subject areas, visit the EPSRC website.

    Those wishing to attend the workshop should complete the short Expression of Interest (EoI) form at the above link. This will be used to select participants based on their ability and willingness to contribute to the discussion as described in their EoI submission.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI) Pump Priming Programme

    Deadline: 30th September 2016

    Please contact if you wish to apply.

    The University of Manchester Research Institute (UMRI) has been created to take forward the Manchester Strategic Vision 2020 goal of establishing the University as a major centre for interdisciplinary research. UMRI has two principal aims:

    1. To foster interdisciplinary research by ensuring that the necessary structures, resources (including funding) and incentives are in place; and
    2. To provide a governance framework for research institutes and other interdisciplinary structures in the University to assist in maximising their performance.

    Funding available

    Funds will be made available for strategic investments to build sustainable interdisciplinary activities. This call is for pump-priming proposals to provide support for activities that lead to an increase in successful interdisciplinary research. Examples of funding modes include:

    • Support for workshops designed to explore opportunities for collaborative working
    • Funding for feasibility projects in new interdisciplinary areas that have the potential to lead to external funding
    • Support for the preparation of key proposals where the work is clearly interdisciplinary (e.g. Horizon 2020, GCRF)
    • Support for potential new Networks

    A proportion of the funding under each of the modes may be used to build partnerships with appropriate stakeholders, including overseas research institutions in developing countries.

    Applications for equipment and/or self-contained project support will not be funded.

    Applications should be between £10,000 - £50,000, applications at or near the maximum amount will only be funded exceptionally.

    Proposals should be up to six months in duration and funds should be expended by 31 July 2017. An end of grant report will be requested following completion of the project. 


    This call is open to researchers in all disciplines who are eligible to apply for external research grants.

    Submitting an application

    Applicants are invited to submit a proposal of no more than three pages, to include:

    • The title of the proposed project
    • A short description of the proposed project
    • Details of the interdisciplinary basis of the proposal, to include details of project partners
    • Why UMRI funding is needed, to include an explanation of why other faculty/school or external grant funding is not more suitable
    • Deliverables. For projects aiming to secure external grant funding, this should include the name of funder and anticipated submission date
    • Planned follow-on activities and how the success of the project will be measured within 12 months and 24 months
    • A breakdown and justification of the costs of the project

    Assessment process

    Applications should be submitted by email to The closing date for applications is 30 September 2016.

    Applications will be assessed under the auspices of the Research Strategy Group, chaired by the Vice-President for Research and Innovation.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Featured Research Outcomes

    New collaborative award for Text Mining led by UNITIS.

    Prof. Sophia Ananiadou has received a £118,000 grant to support the curation of a database for toxicological data related with natural compounds. The project is co-ordinated by UNITIS and involves a consortium of 12 companies.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Tech Support News

    Dropbox Business

    The University have officially announced that Dropbox Business arrives for staff next month (October 2016).

    From the above linked article, you can request access and there is also guidance for existing users. As an existing user myself, I urge you to be careful regarding which option(s) you choose. Feel free to consult me for advice – as I have been through it already and made the odd poor choice. Things are tricky to fix if you choose unwisely. 

    ps: IT Services will review take-up at the end of October and see if they can include postgraduate research students.

    gravatar Ian Cottam

    gravatar Karen Corless
Generated: Friday, 10 April 2020 11:09:34
Last change: Monday, 19 September 2016 16:00:22