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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Friday, 02 June 2017

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    Kilburn window replacement programme

    The window replacement programme for the Kilburn Building is expected to begin very soon. New double glazed and opening windows will be fitted to all offices on the outer edge of the building to improve ventilation. This should help to alleviate some of the high office temperatures, such as those many people experienced last week.

    For health and safety reasons it will be necessary to move out of your office while the windows are being replaced. How long you need to move out for will depend on the size of the office. Tony McDonald has circulated a schedule for the first phase, which was sent to all staff by email on 30th May. If you have not received this please contact

    Efforts will be made to try and minimise disruption, but as with any significant estates project some disruption and noise will be inevitable. However the project is being undertaken for our benefit. These changes will be disruptive, but together we should be able to make it as painless as possible.

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    SSO office relocation

    As a result of the IT Services ground floor refurbishment and the Kilburn window replacement schedules the Student Support Office (SSO) will temporarily relocate from LF21 to LF7/8 (opposite Byte Cafe) on Tuesday 6th June. Please be aware that during the relocation there will be a delay in responding to enquiries while computers and telephones are being set up. Any urgent queries should be sent to or very urgent issues can be referred to me (, 2.6 Kilburn) or ACSO. It would be helpful if any non-urgent visits to SSO could be delayed until after Wednesday 7th when normal service should be resumed.

    gravatar Liz Caine

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Email Forwarding and the Acceptable Use Policy

    The University recently updated its Acceptable Use Policy and the associated Standard Operating Procedures, please see: 

    One of the main changes is the prohibition of third party webmail services (eg Gmail) to send or receive emails related to University work. Specifically you should not automatically forward email to a third party as:

    • Exporting personal data outside of the EU without a formal data processing agreement is in breach of the EU directive on the transfer of personal data 
    • There are issues surrounding access to work-related emails in relation to freedom of information requests and University records management policies on the retention of documents.

    Further information:

    gravatar Liz Caine

    [ top ]Events

    Cyber Security Programme events

    As part of the University's Cyber Security Programme, a number of events are taking place with local experts including the School's Dr Daniel Dresner, sharing their insights into the underworld of cybercrime, its victims and first hand advice on staying safe.

    You will also hear about the University’s Cyber Security Programme and the changes being made to how we log in to some services, using two-factor authentication.

    All events are being held across lunchtimes at various venues around the campus. See more details and book your place.

    More about the event speakers

    Daniel Dresner – The University of Manchester

    Dr Daniel Dresner is the University’s academic coordinator for cyber security. Daniel works to improve the interaction between people and technology and mend the often broken threads that bind information together. Danny will share his view of cybercrime in the higher education sector.

    Paul J Taylor – Greater Manchester Police

    Paul Taylor is an investigator working in the Greater Manchester Police Cyber Crime Team. Paul has investigated a number of denial of service attacks, website hacking and ransomware reports and will share real life experiences of cyber crime victims and the tales told by those arrested.

    Helen Williams – TITAN North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

    Helen Williams is a cyber-protect officer at TITAN working with businesses, education and the general public to raise awareness of potential online dangers. Helen will talk about how criminals are tracked down and the forensic investigation along with simple steps to avoid becoming the next victim.

    gravatar Liz Caine

    Save the Date - Invitation to NewMind Sandpit #4

    Event: 05-06 July 2017 (Manchester - location tbc)
    Registration required.
    The EPSRC funded NewMind Network for the development of technologies to support & transform the management and treatment of mental health is holding its fourth Sandpit event in July 2017. The event aims to bring together clinicians, EPS researchers, patient representative groups, mental health charities, service users, NHS organisations, and industry partners to develop ideas and proposals to submit for funding to the NewMind Plus Stage 1 Feasibility Fund.
    NewMind plans to award grants for projects that investigate underlying Engineering & Physical Science challenges for technology in the service of Mental Health. Funding is available in two stages:

    • awards for up to 12 exploratory / feasibility projects (~£15k),
    • larger grant support (~£45k) for up to four of these initial projects

    At both stages i.e. applications for feasibility funding and subsequent application for larger grant support, proposals will be assessed by a friendly but challenging Dragons' Den style panel.

    The Sandpit will help you find opportunities for collaboration across the network and to develop research ideas further. Details of how to apply for funding will be made available at the event.

    A prerequisite of funding is that you attend at least one Sandpit event prior to submitting your proposal, and that it shows strong alignment with the priorities and outcomes contained in the Research Roadmap.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Reminder - Digital Economy NetworkPlus Call

    Deadline to register interest: 01 Jun 17
    Event: 03 July 17, London (approximately 10:30-17:00)

    The EPSRC DE Theme would like to support up to five ‘NetworkPlus’ grants to stimulate development of DE research and communities within key emerging areas of national importance for DE research. These networks will bring together relevant parts of the interdisciplinary DE communities and a variety of stakeholders, to identify the key research opportunities, build collaborations and grow the area of research for the benefit of the UK. The NetworkPluses will undertake a variety of activities including workshops, events, feasibility studies, secondments or horizon scanning. Applicants are encouraged to tailor their activities to the needs of the area and to be innovative in their approach.

    The areas of focus for these NetworkPlus grants should be proposed and justified by the applicants.

    The aim of the NetworkPlus event is to enable those interested in running or participating in a NetworkPlus to meet and discuss ideas, and to provide an opportunity for potential applicants to better understand the scope and requirements of the call. If you are not able to attend the event but would like to input to potential topics for future DE NetworkPlus grants, please also fill in the same form on the EPSRC Events page, indicating that you will not be attending, but explaining the area in which you feel there should be a DE NetworkPlus, and why. The deadline for this is also 1st June.

    Remember that the School has funds to cover visit costs to funder events if you feedback information to the School. Contact Gavin Brown for more information.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

    Event: 09 June 11:45 to 14:00 (Dalton Room, University of Manchester Innovation Centre)

    In preparation for the University's involvement in the next Collective Fund Call a workshop, hosted by Professor Steve Flint (Associate Vice-President for Internationalisation), will take place in at UoM. The workshop will aim to identify the key areas for University engagement in the second Collective Fund call. The workshop will also aim to identify areas of strength for future cross-council or individual council GCRF calls. Registration is required.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]PGR News

    PGR Staff Newsletter

    'sudo', is the occasional newsletter for University Staff Supervising Computer Science PGR Students. It's new, and it will hopefully allow the PGR crew to better tell you about anything coming up so that you're prepared and it doesn't come as a terrible shock! It's going to be abbreviated, informal, infrequent, and high in information.

    If you're not already receiving it but would like to email Me!

    gravatar Simon Harper

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    Wellcome Innovator Awards - Human Health

    Deadline: rolling

    Up to £500k (for up to 2 yrs) is available to researchers who are developing healthcare innovations that could make a major impact on human health. Examples include therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics, medical devices, digital technology and regenerative medicine. We support projects ranging from the earliest stages of translational research up to clinical development.

    The project you propose must enable your innovation to move on to the next stage of development.

    We’re particularly looking for proposals to solve problems in mental health, neurological disorders or neglected tropical diseases. We may consider proposals outside these areas, but you will need to contact us first. We especially encourage partnerships between different kinds of organisations and across disciplines.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Microsoft BCS/BCS IRSG Karen Spärck Jones Award 2017

    Deadline: 12 Sep 2017

    The British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG) in conjunction with the BCS created an award in 2008 to commemorate the achievements of Karen Spärck Jones.

    Karen was a Professor Emerita of Computers and Information at the University of Cambridge and one of the most remarkable women in computer science. Her contributions to the fields of Information Retrieval (IR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), especially with regard to experimentation, have been outstanding and highly influential. Karen's achievements resulted in her receiving a number of prestigious accolades such as the BCS Lovelace medal for her advancement in Information Systems, and the ACM Salton Award for her significant, sustained and continuing contributions to research in information retrieval.

    Open to all IR/NLP researchers, who have no more than 10 years post doctoral or equivalent experience at the closing date for nominations (non-research times, eg, parental leave or career breaks, will be taken into account).

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    EPSRC Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Hubs in Extreme and Challenging (Hazardous) Environments

    EoI deadline: 15 June 2017

    This funding call is part of the Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). This is not a standard EPSRC funding call and the remit is unique to this call. Dates may be subject to change. EPSRC may mandate a specific spend profile across the duration of the programme and prior to EPSRC awarding the grants, all Hubs must undertake to start spend on 2 October 2017.

    The ambition of the programme is to develop robotic solutions to make a safer working environment in industries such as off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining, which will increase productivity and open up new cross disciplinary opportunities which are not currently available.

    The programme is split into three separate elements, which will be delivered in parallel to provide connectivity across both research and innovation strands. The full programme will be strategically managed to meet the overall RAI challenge.

    The four year RAI investment will address challenges in off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining, and will include:

    • Use-inspired research Hubs with specific partnership resource, to drive and accelerate translation of fundamental science in Robotics and AI systems (This call led by EPSRC);
    • Innovation programme to support collaborative research and development with co-investment from industry (This call will be led by Innovate UK) and;
    • Demonstrator programme to allow companies to test these systems in world-class facilities across the UK (This call will be led by Innovate UK).

    Please let Sarah Chatwin know asap if you are interested in this call as others in the faculty may also be interested.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    EPSRC Cross-Disciplinarity and Co-Creation in ICT Research

    Outline deadline: 14 June 2017

    Following an outline panel on 31 July and 01 August 2017, selected applications will be invited to submit full proposals by 27 September 2017.

    This call seeks to encourage active collaboration between researchers working in different disciplines and/or with users of research. The ICT landscape has rich opportunities for closer working between disciplines and many of the most exciting opportunities emerge at the interface between established areas. Cross-disciplinary research includes novel collaboration within the ICT community, with researchers across the EPSRC portfolio and with researchers funded by other research councils. It also includes collaboration with users of research. Co-creation is the joint creation of a research project by collaborators.

    Proposals submitted to this call should clearly articulate how the proposal has been co-created (for example, an idea that could only have arisen from a cross-disciplinary dialogue). They should also describe what aspects of the proposed research would not be possible without cross-disciplinarity and co-creation and any new areas that could arise from the proposed research.

    As part of this award, successful applicants should play a role in championing cross-disciplinarity and co-creation in ICT research. This will include supporting relevant EPSRC-led workshops and shaping best practice.

    There was an information event for prospective applicants on 04 May 2017 in London. Slides and FAQs from this event are available on the webpages.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Human-like Computing: Call for feasibility studies

    Deadline: 16 June 2017

    This is a Call for feasibility studies for research that could lead to the development of human-like computing systems: machines with human-like perceptual, reasoning and learning abilities, which support collaboration and communication with human beings.

    Human-like Computing goes beyond designing improved AI or machine learning systems, and it is not about incorporating findings in neuroscience.

    However a key component of the projects we are looking to encourage and support is multidisciplinary research involving cutting edge and state-of-the-art research in both computer and cognitive science. Approximately £2M is available to support feasibility studies of up to £300k (for 18 months). ESRC are supporting this initiative and additional funding may be made available if suitable proposals are forthcoming.

    The application process is in two stages. First, an initial audition to select promising ideas. This will take place in Birmingham and applicants who are unable to travel can deliver their pitch via Skype. The proposers of these will then be invited to submit full proposals which will be assessed by an interview panel in the autumn. This will be held in Polaris House in Swindon.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Upcoming: ERC Synergy Grant scheme

    The ERC Synergy Grant scheme, which ran under two pilot calls in 2012 and 2013, will be re-launched in the ERC Work Programme 2018.

    1. is expected that the call will be published on 19 July 2017 (subject to the adoption of the Work Programme 2018 by the European Commission), with a deadline of 14 November 2017 - the deadline might change depending on the actual date of adoption of the Work Programme.

    The perspective is to fund 25 to 30 projects in 2018, with grants of maximum 10 M€ for up to 6 years.

    The aim of Synergy Grants is to address ambitious research questions that can only be answered by the coordinated work of a small group of two to four principal Investigators and their teams, bringing together their complementary skills, knowledge and resources in unprecedented ways. The ultimate goal of the scheme is to give support to a close collaborative interaction that will enable transformative research at the forefront of science, capable of yielding ground-breaking or even unpredictable scientific results and/or cross-fertilizing disciplines. The ambition is of course to open the way to results that are more than just the sum of the Principal Investigators' individual contributions.

    The scheme is open to all researchers from anywhere in the world, based in Europe or in an Associated Country. Each Principal Investigator must be hosted by and spend 50% of their total working time in an institution established in an EU Member State or Associated Country. They shall spend a minimum of 30% of their total working time on the ERC project. There are no other specific requirements other than high scientific quality and ambition enhanced by the synergetic collaborative aspect of the project.

    Only exceptionally competitive proposals are likely to be funded.

    Depending on the evaluation result, reapplication rules will apply to all Principal Investigators participating in a proposal, which may affect their application possibilities to all ERC calls under the 2019 ERC Work Programme.

    As soon as we have further information on this call and the adoption of the 2018 Work Programme I will circulate more details.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Featured Research Outcomes

    Danny Dresner featured in Cybertalk

    Dr Danny Dresner talks about cyber safety and people power:

    Danny also appeared in the Daily Mail on 18th May on cyber bullying.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    gravatar Liz Caine
Generated: Friday, 10 April 2020 11:13:27
Last change: Friday, 02 June 2017 10:18:29