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Faculty updates

Experiment Ideas Needed

Chris Bowdery in Physics is looking for help on behalf of fellow Institute of Physics member Moira Mason:

As a Scout Leader, Moira will be a member of a 50-strong team of Leaders and Scouts from West Lancashire who will be travelling to South East Greenland for a month in Summer 2007. Moira is particularly interested in finding a good scientific project to be involved with - the website from the 2004 scheme will give some idea of projects undertaken on the last trip. If any faculty staff can suggest a project, or if there is any ongoing work that Moira and her group could be of assistance with whilst in Greenland or on their week's training expedition to the Jotunheimen region of Norway this summer, please get in touch:

Free furniture

As a result of the refurbishment of the faculty offices over the Easter period, several items of surplus furniture will become available. A selection including desks, office chairs, filing cabinets and bookcases are likely to be available around the end of the Easter vacation. These items will be free to departments within the faculty on a first come, first served basis. For details of what is available contact Andrew Whitehead (Ext:93828).

Grants for the Enhancement of Teaching

The Faculty offers financial support for enhancing your teaching, either to attend teaching-related conferences (up to £500), or as a buyout of time (up to £3000). A full description with applications forms is available.

Funding Roundup

Funding news for February 2006:

In Geography Mark Hounslow has received funding from English Heritage to apply archeomagnetic dating to an Iron Age smelting hearth at Sherracombe Ford on Exmoor (BBC website: Exmoor dig unearths Roman iron links). Barbara Maher (last seen cleaning water with magnetism at the Ideas Festival) has received funding from the Environment Agency and The British Antarctic Survey for Magnetic Biomonitoring at Didcot Power Station and magnetic intensity analyses of Antarctic lake sediments respectively.

As reported in LU News, Environmetal Science's Nick Hewitt, together with Rob MacKenzie, Nick Chappell and Brian Davison have been awarded 521,000 from NERC as the lead partners in a consortium (totally 1.7M) to investigate 'Oxidant and particle photochemical processes above a South-East Asian tropical rain forest'.

The Centre for Sustainable Water Management has been awarded an EA research fellowship and has appointed Dr Trevor Page to the post. This fellowship will examine issues relating to the uncertainty surrounding model predictions of phosphorus pressures on surface waters and their impact on ecosystem health under the Water Framework Directive. CSWM in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Chemicals Management is also host to another EA fellow - Dr Susan Caspar - in understanding sediment dynamics and sediment-associated contaminant transport in catchments.

In Communication Systems Bahram Honary has attracted £98,000 in European Commission funding for work on the PULSERS project. Funded under IST-FP6, the PULSERS project brings together leading EU industrial players to work towards the establishment of an Ultra Wide Band (UWB) standard that benefits EU industry. UWB is a promising technology for future communication systems. It can be considered as a short range wireless communication technology - operating over tens of metres - with very high capacity capabilities (100's of Mb/s). There are lots of potential applications for this technology, especially in the field of home connected devices, where virtually unlimited transfer capabilities between consumer equipments would enable, for example, wireless transfer of high-definition TV signals between devices - opening the door to a range of very high quality video based applications for markets such as education, culture or entertainment.

Also in Communication Systems, The Royal Society has funded work by Mike Kosch on 'high Frequency radio wave induced artificial airglow at mid-latitude' as well as a visit to Lancaster in April and May of Professor Flank Klawonn - an expert in the field of data mining (See below for seminar details).

Meanwhile, resident InfoLab21 company m-ventions has provided funding for an industrial studentship in novel interfaces for Mobile Applications. Started by Communication Systems' Reuben Edwards and Paul Coulton, m-ventions develops mobile applications and are the people behind RFID-enabled PAC-MAN game PAC-LAN among other projects.

In Computing Paul Rayson has been awarded £10,500 from the China Centre for information Industry Development for work on a 'corpus based hybrid EBMT system'. Paul is director of director of the UCREL research centre, which specialises in pioneering work on computer analysis of large bodies ('corpora') of naturally-occurring language. Also in Computing, David Hutchison has secured £348,000 in European Commission funding for work on Automatic Network Architecture as part of the FP6 framework.

In Psychology John Dixon has been awarded £63,500 in ESRC funding to support research into 'intergroup contact and construction of racial inequality and injustice in postapatheid South Africa' - furthering John's work on the social psychology of contact and desegregation.

Funding Correction

In January's Funding Roundup we reported that Professor Costas Xydeas of Communication Systems had received £66,000 from BAE Systems for work on 'Collision Avoidance'. In fact Dr Plamen Angelov is the principal investigator of this project and Professor Xydeas is the co-investigator.

Seminar: Cluster Analysis with application to Gene Expression Data

Professor Frank Klawonn, author of a number of books in the field of data mining, will be visiting Lancaster University in April and May and will give a talk entitled "From cluster analysis to finding interesting patterns" (5 April, 1-2pm in C60 InfoLab21).

Cluster analysis aims to split a given data set into homogenous groups or clusters. In some cases, however, all that is needed is to discover single interesting patterns within the data, for which it is sufficient to find only one or two well-defined clusters. The talk will discuss function-based cluster analysis and focus on new methods to identify single clusters in data sets using techniques such as k-means clustering and noise clustering. A motivation and application of the method in the context of analysing gene expression data will be given. All are welcome to attend.

More info on Professor Klawonn's research

Faculty Fix-it Group

For those of you that weren't at the recent plenary, the faculty fix-it group exists to receive your moans about faculty-wide issues. Currently, they are looking into complaints received about signage within faculty buildings and the cleanliness and general provision of toilets across the faculty and hope to be able to report progress at the next plenary in June. If you would like to comment on either of these issues, or suggest something else that the group looks into, please contact them at

From LU News...

Science and Technology related stories from the past few weeks:

Getting a Headstart at Lancaster

Sixth form pupils will get a taste of student life this summer at a residential computing course at Lancaster University