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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Monday, 10 October 2016

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    News from Head of School

    Open Day
    The University and the School had its second Open Day on 8th October and again it was a success. Over the two Open Days we've had 700 visitors into the School, which is a small rise on previous Open Days. The recent addition of a mini-lecture to our Open Days was very well-received. In this session these mini-lectures were given by Caroline Jay and Steve Furber; the visitors were very well engaged and asked many questions. I thank both staff and students for the time they put in to making these Open Days work so well.

    Out-of-Hours Access
    As described at School board on 5 October, the out of hours access to the Kilburn Building will be changing  from the end of the month. Instead of two porters being on duty there wil be only one porter on duty. The two porter arrangement was to accommodate access to the data centre in IT Services; since the data centre is no longer here, the second porter is no longer deemed to be required.

    The remaining porter will still do a sweep of the Kilburn Building at 6 p.m. to check that anyone in the building has permission to be present in the building and to move all taught students to the lower first floor and KB 1.8. A second sweep of the building is done at 11:30 p.m. to remove taught students from the building.

    During these sweeps there will be no  porter on duty at the Goods Entrance. this means those wishing to gain entry will have to use swipe access. To leave the building there is a green button that will unlock the doors. Both mechanisms have been checked by Estates and are working.

    This means anyone wishing to  come into the Kilburn Building  during the sweeps will need to have the appropriate permissions on their staff card. This will be organised and done centrally; all staff will have 24 hour access. taught students will have out of hours access from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. once they have passed the out of hours test. PGR students will have 24 hours acccess once the same test has been passed.

    This is due to happen at the end of October. If you have any concerns do raise them with me.

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Issues with myManchester and computers in teaching labs

    There have been problems with MyManchester that have meant students cannot access their on-line timetables. If you have enquireies from students then direct them to the School’s composite Year timetables:

    for UGT or

    for PGT.

    Otherwise direct them to SSO.

    Some of computers in our labs have not been working. This has meant a lot of work, especially with the large numbers of students coming into our first year. Thanks to the team within the School the problems are mostly resolved.

    Both issues have caused a lot of work for staff within the School and this effort is much appreciated.

    Professor Robert Stevens

    gravatar Karen Corless

    PhD Programme with A*STAR Institutes, Singapore

    We are now seeking new collaborative research projects as part of the PhD Programme with A*STAR Institutes, Singapore.  Following the successful recruitment of over 30 students to date on the programme, project proposals are now being accepted for studentships commencing September 2017.  The Programme is overseen by a Christoph Ballestrem in FBMH and a cross-Faculty Steering Group. 

    Each Faculty will be responsible for the selection of their own projects and students, but with final approval via the Steering Group and/or Academic Board established by A*STAR.  These studentships are badged to the A*STAR Research Attachment Programme (ARAP) of which the University is an official partner – see website.

    The studentships are split-site – with students spending years 1 and 4 in Manchester to ensure transfer report and thesis submission; years 2 and 3 in Singapore.   Students will register in Manchester, and be awarded a University of Manchester PhD.  Funding for the programme will be supported in part by the Manchester Principal Supervisor’s School/Faculty and A*STAR, and will cover tuition fees (UK/EU), student stipend, flight allowances and consumable support.  In FBMH, there will be 8 studentships available for 2017/18 entry.  In FSE, the Faculty will support 3 studentships for 2017/18 entry.  Schools in FSE may also choose to support studentships through School/DTP funding if the project/student is appropriate to both the Research Council and A*STAR. Please discuss funding with your Head of School.

    Projects must deliver added value through two-centre research activities which advance joint research interests with regular communication between collaborating laboratories.   A full list of institutes can be found on the A*STAR website which span the biomedical and science and engineering research areas.

    PIs interested in the 4 year training programme need to make personal contact with the likely supervisor at A*STAR, agree the project details and complete the attached form and return it no later than Friday 4 November 2016.   Projects will followed the approvals process as outlined below following submission.   Approved projects will be advertised on the dedicated UoM-A*STAR website and locally on Faculty/School websites as well as  Interviews will take place in February 2017, further information regarding the application/interview process will be circulated at a later date.

    PIs can seek guidance regarding potential collaborations from successful PIs from recent cohorts.  If you have any specific questions about the administration of the ARAP scheme, student eligibility etc.  Please contact Jessica Bowler in the FBMH Doctoral Academy office for this information.

    Christoph Ballestrem

    A*STAR Programme Director (FBMH)

    FBMH Primary Supervisors – submission of projects to Jessica Bowler,

    FSE Primary Supervisors – submission of projects to Lee Wilkinson,

    NOTE to CS Staff: Contact ACSO for relevant UoM Project Proposal document 


    Deadline for submission of proposals              

    Friday 4 November 2016, 5pm

    Deadline for approvals to be completed

    Friday 11 November 2016

    Advertising of shortlisted proposals

    w/c 14 November 2016

    Deadline for student applications

    Friday 13 January 2017

    Deadline for Supervisor to nominate preferred candidate

    Friday 3 February 2017

    Formal panel interviews held

    w/c 13 February 2017

    Informal offers confirmed

    w/c 20 February 2017

    gravatar Karen Corless

    Research Support Manager Weekly Surgery

    Starting from this Wednesday 12th October I shall be hosting a weekly Research Support surgery, where academic members of staff can drop by my office to discuss anything research related such as potential funding opportunities and ongoing applications. 

    The surgery will be held on Wednesday afternoons between 2pm and 4:30pm in my office, room 2.7, Kilburn.

    (You are of course welcome to stop by at any other time, but as I am technically based across two sites, I can't always guarantee I'll be available).


    Tom Wise

    School of Computer Science Research Support Manager

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Events

    Lecture on MPI+X on the way to Exascale - 12 of October

    Dear Colleagues,

    I am taking this opportunity to invite you for the public lecture presented as part of the European Exascale applications workshop to be held at the School of Mathematics on Wednesday 12 October, Frank Adams 1 lecture room, 13:00-14:00.

    Professor Bill Gropp (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) will speak on 'MPI+X on the way to Exascale' and will address the task of transforming current-generation parallel programming models to make them effective for programming an Exascale supercomputer by the early 2020's.

    The talk will be delivered remotely and projected on the screen.

    Professor Gropp's keynote will be followed by a panel discussion on the topic "Programming for Exascale, Complete disruption or slow evolution?" There will also be a chance to discuss the topics of the seminar and panel sessions, with the panel and other representatives from HPC programming-model developers over coffee immediately after the panel discussion.

    More details can be found at:

    There is no need to register for this event, and I will be happy to provide any further information if needed.

    Best wishes

    Jakub Sistek

    School of Mathematics

    gravatar Karen Corless

    The Inaugural Lord Morris of Manchester Memorial Lecture - 3 November 2016

    Dear All,

    As Co-Chairs of The University of Manchester’s Disabled Staff Network, Melanie Sharpe and I are thrilled to announce our first public lecture focussing on the rights and equality of disabled people, in honour of the late Alf Morris, Lord Morris of Manchester – the world’s first Minister for Disabled People.

    The inaugural Lord Morris of Manchester Memorial Lecture event will take place on Thursday 3rd November, 6.30pm-9pm, at The University of Manchester. Our special guest speaker will be Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson!

    Please see our University News article at

    Tickets are priced at just £1, plus an optional donation.

    For further details, and to book your ticket, please go to the main event webpage:

    Join us on social media using #LordMorrisMcrLecture and follow us @UoMDSN

    It is a public lecture so anyone and everyone interested in disability equality and politics are welcome to attend: colleagues, students, alumni, volunteers, community groups, friends of our University, members of the general public (adults only), etc.

    We would really appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at the event.


    Co-Chair  DISABLED STAFF NETWORK,  The University of Manchester 

    gravatar Karen Corless

    EPSRC Pathways to Impact Workshop 3rd November 2016

    Faculty will be running an EPSRC Pathways to Impact Workshop on Thursday 3rd November; they are planning two sessions am and pm (depending on demand).  The session will be led by Jenn Chubb (University of York) supported by Judith Gracey (RBESS).  It will involve presentations and interactive group work on Pathways to Impact plans.

    Please note that those interested in attending will be required to submit a current or previous Pathways to Impact application and Impact Summary.

    Objective: To support academics to develop more successful and appropriately funded Pathways to Impact plans

    Why is it important?

    EPSRC has updated its stance on P2I recently: ‘A clearly thought through and acceptable pathways to impact is an essential component of a research proposal and a condition of funding.... If a proposal is ranked high enough to be funded but does not have an acceptable Pathways to Impact it will be returned. Applicants will be asked to revise the Pathways to Impact and the proposal will only be funded once that acceptable revision has been received’. 

    Academic participants are requested to submit one of their own previous or current Pathways to Impact applications and Impact Summary to get feedback on these in advance of the workshop and to bring them along to work on during the session.

    Key points the training will address:

    • Developing a framework for your research impact planning
    • Making a P2I interesting and engaging and understanding what funders expect to see
    • Considering which stakeholders to involve (and how) during your research project
    • Understanding the types of benefits and impacts that your research could have
    • Resourcing and costing applications appropriately
    • Defining milestones/timelines
    • Evaluating/evidencing impact and understanding and using appropriate metrics.

    If you would like to attend, please contact Rupa Sharma (

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    UoM and UKRO ERC Consolidator Grants 2017 Information Sessions

    The University will run an information session for potential ERC consolidator grant applicants on Tuesday 1st November 2016. An ERC panel member, Professor Judi Allen, and an ERC Consolidator Grant award holder, Professor Richard Layfield, will speak at the session and will provide hints and tips for writing successful ERC proposals.

    The session will also cover the practicalities of the submission process. The consolidator call is open to researchers of any nationality with 7-12 years of experience since completion of PhD. Applicants are expected to be active researcher and to have a track record of excellent research. The scheme is design to support PIs at the stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme.

    Date      :           1st November 2016

    Time      :           12 – 2pm

    Venue  :           A115 Samuel Alexander Building

    To register please contact


    UKRO, the UK Research Office, is also holding a half day  information and proposal writing session for  researchers applying for ERC Consolidator Grants.   This event will be held at two venues, dates for both have just been confirmed:

    • University of Glasgow, Wednesday 26th October 2016, 14.00 – 17.00 (registration from 13.30)
    • The Royal Veterinary College, London, Wednesday 16th November 2016, 14.00 – 17.00 (registration from 13.30)

    Attendance is free of charge, but you must register, places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  To register and for further information go to:

    Aim: each session will provide participants with a detailed practical overview of the ERC Consolidator Grants scheme. Participants should gain a deeper understanding of the proposal format and the key issues they are required to address in planning, writing and costing a proposal as well as tips for preparing for interview. There will also be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    Research Funding Opportunities

    Some useful resources for bid preparation as well as the recently updated Funding Scheme Planner can be found here:

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    EPSRC: Manufacturing the future

    Deadline: 10th November 2016

    The EPSRC Manufacturing the Future challenge theme invites investigator-led proposals which address key research challenges facing manufacturing in the UK today and in the future for a one-off, manufacturing-focussed prioritisation panel.

    Although there is no closing date and proposals can be submitted at any time, those proposals submitted before 10 November 2016 will be considered for a one off, manufacturing-focussed prioritisation panel. It is strongly recommended that proposals are submitted before 10 November to ensure there is enough time for the peer-review process to be completed.

    First grants as well as standard research proposals are invited.

    If you wish to apply, please contact

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Featured Research Outcomes

    Industurial funding for NaCTeM

    Sophia Ananiadou has recently been awarded £346,000 by an industrial partner to carry out research on health monitoring. The project will run for 2 years.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    [ top ]Tech Support News

    WiFi Projection - update

    IT407 now joins Atlas 1, Mercury and IT401 with wifi projection capability, and others will follow. Because of the existing sophisticated media switching gear in IT407 the setup to use wifi projection is just pressing the button labelled AppleTV (next to the HDMI button) and following the instructions on the top of the lectern. This makes it a good place to try out wifi projection before using it in anger. The instructions for using it are in my dropbox folder here: together with the similar instructions for the other rooms.

    gravatar Ian Cottam

    Dropbox Business - update

    Dropbox Business is scheduled to be available to all UoM staff from 11 October 2016. More information and application links here:

    If you have a personal dropbox that uses, my advice is to go to Settings on your dropbox web page and change the email address to a private one you use, such as a gmail account. That way there is no danger that your personal box will be subsumed by a University of Manchester one. Currently, as you have to apply for a Dropbox Business account, one assumes that no such take-over will occur should you choose not to apply; but I will keep an eye on this.

    IT Services hope to have single sign-on authentication working by 11 October, but people, like me, on the trial have not seen it yet.

    A cost-based decision on whether PhD students can request the service is due to be made at the end of this month.

    More detailed advice and any questions on the service to-date can be requested from me: 

    gravatar Ian Cottam

    TECHSO - the Technical Support (virtual) Office

    Just a reminder that TECHSO – the Technical Support Office – have a web page, showing its members and what we do:

    gravatar Ian Cottam

    gravatar Karen Corless
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Last change: Monday, 10 October 2016 15:15:19