Lancaster University

SciTech bulletin

Faculty Lecture: Information Security - Where Computer Science, Economics and Psychology Meet

Worried about ATM fraud? Interested in knowing why cryptosystems fail? If so, then come and hear Professor Ross Anderson's lecture next Wednesday 12 March at 4pm. The lecture will be held in the Biology Lecture Theatre and will be followed by a light reception.

Ross Anderson is Professor of Security Engineering at the University of Cambridge and has been one of the founders of the study of information security economics. You may have seen him last week on BBC's Newsnight explaining how to hack chip and pin point-of-sale machines with a paperclip.

Free Communication Skills and Media Training!

Don't forget to sign up for the Faculty of Science and Technology's one-day communication skills and media training courses.

These courses will provide training to all scientists to ensure they are equipped with the skills needed to communicate with a variety of audiences, whether it be students and scientists from other disciplines, or the media and public.

16 April 2008: Communication Skills Training (12 places)

The Communication skills course equips scientists with the skills to communicate their work on a non-technical level, clearly and confidently to a wide range of audiences. From the course, participants will get:

21 May 2008: Media Training (8 places)

This course focuses specifically on the skills needed when communicating with the media. A hands-on approach, including real film crew, takes scientists with a basic knowledge of the media and increases their skills and confidence in preparing for radio and television interviews and in approaching the print media with news stories and features. From the course, participants will get:

Who Can Apply?

Both sessions are open to all academic staff in the faculty but places are limited because of the personalised nature of the training. To apply for one or both of these sessions, please provide a statement (no longer than one side of A4) outlining why you want to attend, and what benefit you and your department will get from doing so.

Please send this to Lucy Thorne by Friday 14 March 2008. If more applications are received than either session has capacity for, decisions will be taken by the Deans Group.

Faculty Research Grants - Last Chance to Apply

The second and final deadline for applications for Faculty Research Grant funding in 2007/08 is on Friday 14 March.

Research grants of up to £1,000 per award are available to staff across the faculty. Grants awarded after the first call for applications include:

Apostolos Papadopoulos - Environmental Science - £750
Effects of X-ray radiation on microbial activity of soil
Samuele Carcagno - Psychology - £1,000
Plasticity of pitch representations in brainstem & cortex
Mark Mainwaring - Biological Sciences - £302.46
Egg characteristics and zebra finch personalities
Nick Kettridge - Environmental Science - £600
Field scale measurement of near surface moisture content & water table depth of a northern peatland using ground penetrating radar
Helen Pattison - Geography - £1,000
Oppressed or empowered: The construction of the host gaze within tourism regimes
Mike James - Environmental Science/Computing - £875
Coastal erosion in the Morecambe Bay area
Crispin Halsall - Environmental Science - £978
Do agricultural ‘poly tunnels' enhance pesticide longevity?
Nick Gill - Geography - £1,000
Examining the role of the Catholic Church in the integration of new Polish migrants into the City of Lancaster

Funding Roundup

Some recent grant awards for Science and Technology research:

Extended Large (3-D) Integration Technology (ELITE)

Dinesh Pamunuwa - Engineering - European Commission - £275,483

Some key bottlenecks in developing complex next-generation chips are power delivery & heat dissipation, interconnect bottleneck and integration of disparate technologies. Some of these limitations can be better addressed by utilising the third dimension for integration, rather than using exclusively 2-D layouts. In moving to a 3-D layout, a reduction in the average length of interconnections can be expected, which leads to both reduced latency as well as a reduction in the energy consumed. The real estate available for building circuits increases, while disparate technologies that don't lend themselves to easy integration on a single wafer can be accommodated more easily. ELITE aims to develop a methodology for 3-D integration in chips, within a consortium of industrial and academic partners who specialise in different aspects of 3D integration.

Find more information at

Dynamic Variability in Complex, Adaptive Systems (DiVA)

Awais Rashid - Computing - European Commission - 548,065 Euros

Context aware software systems that can automatically adapt to changes in their environments play increasingly vital roles in society's infrastructures. Such systems are called adaptive systems. The demand for adaptive systems appears in many application domains ranging from crisis management applications such as disaster management, first-response, transportation control, and power management to entertainment and business applications such as mobile interactive gaming, tourist guiding and business collaborations (e.g., through virtual organizations and dynamic service compositions). This demand is accentuated by the mobile and nomadic nature of many of these domains. The IDC analysts forecast a global increase in number of mobile workers to the level higher than 850 million by 2009.

The goal of this project is to provide a tool-supported methodology and frameworks for managing dynamic variability of co-existing, co-dependent configurations in adaptive systems. This will be addressed through a combination of aspect-oriented and model-driven techniques. Lancaster is a major stakeholder in the project with main responsibilities for development of relevant requirements engineering techniques as well as the middleware platform and model transformations linking them.

Staff Prizes - Research 2008

Please help the university to celebrate and recognise the achievements of its research staff by encouraging nominations from your department for the research prizes. Each £1000 prize will be presented to the winners at a prestigious ceremony on June 2008, along with the prizes for teaching, commercialisation, community, media and communication.

There are three categories for Research:

Outstanding Early Career Researcher (up to 5 years post PhD)
For someone showing high potential for academic research as demonstrated by high quality outputs and peer recognition. We welcome nominations for postdoctoral RAs and Research Fellows.
Established Researchers (over 5 years post PhD)
For someone making consistently high quality contributions to their field, and showing commitment to the professional development of early career researchers in their research groups/centres.
Research Group (3 or more Lancaster-based researchers)
which has made significant contributions to an area of research and increased Lancaster's international profile. We welcome nominations from cross-disciplinary groups.

The deadline for nominations is Monday 31 March. Details of the three research prizes and a nomination form can be found at

2008 Staff survey

Complete the confidential Lancaster University Staff Survey before Friday 14 March 2008 and have your say in the future of Lancaster University. The survey should take you about 15-25 minutes to complete, and can be completed online.

Promoting Careers for Women in Science

Lancaster University has become a member of the Athena SWAN charter. This is a group set up under the auspices of the Royal Society for the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research, and to achieve a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts.

We have been invited to apply for a bronze award to recognise the work done at Lancaster, and a working group has been set up to consider the existing position at Lancaster and the future work needed to promote the careers of women in science.

If you would like to know more about the work please contact Joanna Stephens, Project Officer, Vice-Chancellors Office or comment on the MyPlace Blog.

News and Events

Centrica - opportunities for Engineers of all disciplines

Engineering students interested in a graduate or summer placement scheme with Centrica are invited to attend a presentation on Tuesday 11 March at 6.00pm in lecture theatre 5/6 of the George Fox Building.

Students will be given the opportunity to meet Centrica representatives and learn more about the placement scheme and associated benefits. Find out more at

From LU and Faculty News:

National Science and Engineering Week

As part of next week's National Science and Engineering Week, departments across the faculty are holding activities to promote Science and Technology to school students

Next generation Mobile Interactivity

Lancaster University is leading an international research network which could shape the way in which we use our mobile phones in the future

Let there be light - Lancaster Research in Nature Nanotechnology

The light emitted by silicon nanocrystals comes mostly from defects within the nanocrystals, according to a paper published online this week in Nature Nanotechnology