Category / conferences

Call for Papers: Machine Learning in Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis

This is a call for papers for the Special Session on Machine Learning in Medical Diagnosis and Prognosis at IEEE CIBCB 2017.

The IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (IEEE CIBCB 2017) will be held at the INNSIDE Hotel, Manchester from August 23rd to 25th, 2017.

This annual conference has become a major technical event in the field of Computational Intelligence and its application to problems in biology, bioinformatics, computational biology, chemical informatics, bioengineering and related fields. The conference provides a global forum for academic and industrial scientists from a range of fields including computer science, biology, chemistry, medicine, mathematics, statistics, and engineering, to discuss and present their latest research findings from theory to applications.

The topics of interest for the special session include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical image classification
  • Medical image analysis
  • Expert systems for computer aided diagnosis and prognosis
  • Pattern recognition in the analysis of biomarkers for medical diagnosis
  • Deep learning in medical image processing and analysis
  • Ethical and Security issues in machine learning for medical diagnosis and prognosis

Up-to-date information and submission details can be found on the MLCIBCB web-page. The submission deadline is the 31st of March, 2017.

Please e-mail srostami@bournemouth.ac.uk with any questions.

HE policy update w/e 27th January 2017

Industrial Strategy Green Paper

The Government launched the Industrial Strategy Green Paper and consultation this week. The paper focuses on improving Britain’s innovation and productivity in key areas alongside upskilling the workforce to become world leading. The government suggest a number of areas of industry specialism that should be supported:

  • clean energy
  • robotics
  • healthcare
  • space technology
  • quantum technology
  • advanced computing and communications

The document frequently references the role of Universities as innovation leaders pushing for commercialisation and greater productive cooperation with business. It states that the ‘neglect of technical education’ should be redressed and insinuates that higher-level technical education will be pushed towards the new Institutes of Technology (£170 government investment announced – see below). There is an emphasis on rebalancing the difference in Britain’s economic geography through infrastructure investment. In addition, it criticises how UK research funding is currently heavily invested in the ‘golden triangle’ (Oxford, Cambridge, London) and calls to build on research strengths in businesses as well as other universities. The strategy has a strong focus on STEM and Wonkhe have reported that The British Academy are urging the government not to forget investment in social sciences and humanities teaching and research, which they argue are vital to the continued development of the UK’s services sectors.

The consultation ends in April, we’ll be in touch shortly about how you can contribute to a BU response.

While the strategy has only just been launched it was preceded by the announcement of the new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (Nov 2016) and consultative workshops. The workshops aimed to ensure that the challenges identified match UK business capability and are based on the best available evidence for scientific and commercial success on the global stage. The challenges mirror the industry specialisms proposed in the green paper but also mention the creative industries and integrated cities. The workshops conclude this week, implementation plans are expected to follow from the government and the first challenge is expected to be announced in March.

In an interesting article in The Conversation Graham Galbraith, VC at Portsmouth, urges Universities to shun new institutions for innovation and instead form a network of hubs building on relationships with employers, skills organisations and FE colleges. Furthermore he resists the government’s distinction between academic and technical education, seeing the productivity answer through flexible routes to university study and developing skills courses that employers need in accessible ways. He believes the university sector would deliver this far more quickly than new Institutes of Technology. Galbraith also criticises REF 2021: “The government wants the UK to be better at commercialising its world-class, basic research. But the… require[ment]…to include all academic staff…will have the effect of making universities re-balance their staff’s priorities so that there is more focus only on peer-reviewed research and less on outward-facing activities like business collaborations.”

Brexit –The Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament must vote to trigger Article 50 which begins the Brexit process. The government timescale is to trigger Article 50 by end of March and to this end they have introduced a European Withdrawal Bill (EWB). The European Withdrawal Bill gives the PM the power to notify the European Council of the UK’s intention to withdrawn from the EU through the required Act of Parliament. It is being fast tracked through Parliament. Parliamentary time is scheduled for 31 Jan, 1 Feb, 6-8 Feb.  The House of Commons Education Select Committee continues visits to Universities (Oxford, UCL) to examine impact of Brexit on HE. At the UCL visit (Wednesday) Michael Arthur (Provost) broke the UCAS data embargo revealing a 7% drop in EU applicants in the current cycle. The Guardian leads with ‘first decrease after almost a decade of unbroken growth blamed on… Brexit’. Committee Chair, Neil Carmichael is reported on Twitter as asking whether HE needs a sector-specific Brexit deal – panel response ‘yes absolutely!’

Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB) – The Lords continue to scrutinise the HERB carefully with the long list of amendments.  The list has stopped growing quite so quickly but new amendments proposed this week include one to set up a new UKRI visa department that will sponsor academics (507ZA). So far apart form the first one, no amendments other than government amendments have been passed, but the level of debate and the length of the list suggests that there may have to be some concessions by the government. James Younger, the government lead on the Bill in the Lords, wrote to Peers on 25th January about the bill.

Given the timing of the Brexit discussions, Wonkhe speculate that to achieve the timescales for the Bill and to clear sufficient parliamentary time for the European Withdrawal Bill to be passed the government may make concessions on HERB.  Key discussions this week:

  • NSS statistically unfit for TEF – Lord Lipsey discussed the statistical inadequacies of NSS and the implication for this as a TEF metric. The NSS in the TEF is using—or rather, abusing—statistics for a purpose for which the NSS was never designed.” Lipsey acknowledged that the Government have gently retreated from the emphasis on NSS scores – in their latest instructions to assessors they stated: “assessors should be careful not to overweight information coming from the NSS“. This was reinforced by Chris Husbands, Chair of TEF, who informed a meeting at the House of Commons this week that his team would “not be overweighting the NSS” when awarding ratings this year.  The proposed amendment was withdrawn after Viscount Younger: stressed the NSS was not the primary source of information for the TEF and that the framework was about much more than metrics. “Providers submit additional evidence alongside their metrics, and this evidence will be given significant weight by the panel”. HE continued: “we cannot ignore the only credible, widely used metrics that captures students’ views”.
  • There were also debates about the gold/silver/bronze ratings and the government provided reassurance that Bronze was “above a high quality baseline”. This contradicts statements made by some in DfE before the final specification was agreed about Bronze institutions “needing improvement”. The panel have praised positive communication on this subject.
  • Validation – The government have issued a factsheet for the Lords on Validation which provides explanation from the perspective of an alternative provider seeking to enter a validation arrangement. It describes Clause 46 of HERB, which gives the Office for Students (OfS) power to commission authorised HE providers to provide validation if other providers decline. It states such authorised providers are free to choose whether they wish offer this service, however once an arrangement is in place the OfS could require them to validate award) delivered by other registered HE providers. The commissioned arrangement would be made public.  The controversial Clause 47 which appoints OfS as the validator of last resort was also discussed. The controversy arises as OfS isn’t an academic institution and doesn’t hold Degree Awarding Powers. The OfS will advise the Secretary of State (SoS) if intervention is required (likely through an evidence based report and stakeholder consultation) and the SoS would then authorise the intervention through regulation which is subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
  • Contract Cheating – The amendment proposed by Lord Storey on contract cheating was withdrawn following Government reassurance. Lord Storey provided a passionate discourse including detailed sector information and cheating statistics. Baroness Goldie confirmed that the Government were addressing cheating referencing the (Aug 2016 published) QAA investigation and Jo Johnson’s commitment to close working to progress the recommendations. She revealed that the Minster would shortly announce a new initiative to tackle cheating in conjunction with QAA, Universities UK, NUS and HEFCE.

TEF

The 15 page written submissions for year 2 of the TEF were finalised and submitted this week, and this was the final opportunity for institutions to opt out of the TEF. Although there may have been others who have not published their positions, most Scottish Universities have opted out, as well as the Open University. Given the difference in the Scottish funding system they have less to gain from the TEF – but the 4 who have opted in have noted international reputation as a crucial factor. The OU explain their non-participation is due to the poor fit of the metrics with their social mobility demographic.

And the future of the TEF? According to Research Professional, a German academic has criticised the way that teaching excellence funding is being used in Germany.

“Whereas lower-ranked universities have tended to spread their funding from the programme thinly across faculties and courses, higher-ranked institutions have had the luxury of being able to focus on priority areas, the analysis found.

“You are starting to see emerging differences between disciplines taught at different universities,” Bloch told Times Higher Education on 17 January. For the first time, elite universities are starting to build up strong institutional identities when it comes to teaching, in an effort to get further ahead.

“It will be a long time before we reach the stratification that you see in the American system [around teaching], but we are seeing a difference for the first time in how resources in teaching are distributed,” he said.

UCAS 2016 entrants report – this data includes applications, offers and placed rates by sex, area background (LPN-polar 3), and ethnicity. BU’s report can be selected from the drop down menu towards the end of the webpage. The Guardian reports on the lower offer rates to black applicants. Wonkhe covers the HEIs that have a significant upward or downward trend in acceptances

Research Impact training: Parliament are running a Research, Impact and the UK Parliament event in Bristol on Wednesday 1 March. It covers the basics of the Parliamentary process and how academics can engage with parliament through their knowledge and research to inform scrutiny and legislation, including the impact of influencing policy to support REF submissions.

What is the nature of the innovation required from education for our mobile and connected society?

innovation---useFirst in the ‘Leading Innovation’ series of seminars, Professor John Traxler, Professor of Digital Learning at the University of Wolverhampton, will visit BU on Tuesday 24 January to present ‘What is the nature of the innovation required from education for our mobile and connected society?’.

Professor Traxler will be looking at questions such as; why do we need to be innovative? What are the benefits of innovation to me, my department, Faculty and the wider organisation of BU? And How can we nurture and support innovation as leaders? The session will take place on Talbot Campus, starting at 2.30pm and finishing at 4pm.

The ‘Leading Innovation’ series is based on the presenters’ own experiences, case studies, ideas and thoughts and by sharing their approach, techniques and other interesting facts, covering Innovation in Research, Innovation in Education and Innovation in Professional Practice. A number of sessions are scheduled to run between January and May 2017 and will be presented by colleagues from across BU as well as guest speakers, which include Peter Bryant, Head of Learning Technology and Innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Sarah Knight, Senior Co-design Manager at Jisc.

For further details of the sessions, and to book to attend, please visit the Staff Development & Engagement Staff Intranet pages.

 

Reporting back from the BSA Auto/Biography Christmas Conference!

“I say tomato, You say tomato”. Is Autoethnography Auto/Biography by any other name?

Prior to our holiday break, Dr Judith Chapman and Dr Sarah Collard presented their research at the recent British Sociological Association (BSA) Auto/Biography Conference in London. This was a novel presentation, not limited to following a power point, but involving discussions with one other and the audience about the differences between the two research methods of autoethnography and auto/biography.

As they recently presented on this topic at the Centre for Qualitative Research lunchtime seminar, Judith and Sarah felt warmed up for the conversation and debates that occurred when presenting and discussing the topic in front of an audience of methodological experts within this area! After each shared their own experiences of conducting either authethnography or auto/biography, they opened it up to the audience to debate the merits of the two methods. An exciting and interesting dialogue with the audience ensued, with the ethical considerations of each method being fervently discussed, as well as the challenges of deciding what can be classified as autoethnography or auto/biography. There was no lull in the exchange of views and conference members applauded the informative and interactive element of our presentation.

After our presentation, we were able to forge links with others at the conference and were requested to share our work even more! It was very exciting to be so well received and have such a positive response to the presentation. However, there was no overall consensus and we agreed to differ on the syllabic emphasis of “tomato”!

FMC Associate Professor delivers plenary at Style and Response Conference

It was my great pleasure to take part last week in a conference organised by the Stylistics Research Group at Sheffield Hallam Style and Response. My paper reported on the activities of our two BU based AHRC funded projects, and on the ethical and methodological challenges of researching readers and reading online.  The conference was an important opportunity to disseminate the work of the existing projects and to further extend our network of scholars researching reading in the digital age. It was also an opportunity to discuss what will hopefully be the next stage of this research, as our application for Follow on Funding to the AHRC is currently being finalised….

 

The first day included a fascinating panel on Digital Fiction, particularly focusing on immersion and showcasing different methodologies including the Think Aloud protocol and participant interviews. The case studies discussed in this session included Dreaming Methods’ Wallpaper (Alice Bell), videogame Zero Time Dilemma (Jess Norledge and Richard Finn) and The Princess Murderer (Isabelle Van der Bom). After lunch, I switched between panels to catch Sam Browse’s entertaining paper presenting an ethnographic study of a group of local Labour party activists, followed by Lyle Skains’ paper reporting on how her creative writing students responded to reading digital or ‘ergodic’ fiction, and how they felt this influenced their own creative practice.

 

It was great to see diversity throughout the programme both in terms of methods and case studies.  One of the takeaways from day one was a strong preference for mixed methods, and there was a very lively discussion following the closing plenary (presented in absentia by Ranjana Das) about the extent to which exploring new approaches and methods from different disciplines can be managed without diluting or compromising the skills and expertise that we have as researchers primarily trained in critical analysis and close reading.

 

I delivered the opening plenary on day 2, followed by a fascinating panel on Attention, with an insightful paper on cognitive approaches to re-reading from Chloe Harrison and Louise Nuttall, and a very informative and interesting paper on eyetracking and onomatopoeia in manga from Olivia Dohan.

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The afternoon sessions provided further innovative approaches to media and new media texts and cultures.  Isabelle van der Bom and Laura Paterson reported on a corpus linguistic study of live tweeting of Benefits Street, which provided depressing but fascinating evidence of the ways in which the ‘echo chamber’ of social media is nevertheless shaped in interaction with other media (tv, the tabloid press).  It also raised questions about the extent to which empirical and particularly quantitative approaches can tell the ‘whole story’ when it comes to a discourse where there may be just as many silent witnesses as participants.

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Alison Gibbons’ paper on JJ Abrams’ S offered a fascinating account of the novel as part of a transmedia universe, and reported on her attempts to get ‘real readers’ to create and insert their own marginalia alongside that provided by the novel’s creators.  The closing plenary was an energetic and engaging discussion of persuasion and transportation by Melanie Green.  As well as transporting us to another world by reading us a story, Melanie’s paper left us with some important insights into the power of stories to change minds for good and ill.

Many congratulations to the organisers of this event for producing such a stimulating couple of days. It was wonderful to see that the study of readers and reading is attracting some innovative work from within the field of stylistics, drawing on a long tradition of focusing on the empirical, but also demonstrating breadth of engagement with terms and methods from multiple disciplines.

Faculty of Management academics are keynote speakers at MEAconf

Two Faculty of Management academics, Dr Mohamed Haffar and Dr Elvira Bolat, are selected as keynote speakers for the 6th International Conference on Modern Research in Management, Economics and Accounting, which is held on 15th November at London South Bank University.

Dr Haffar from the Department of Leadership, Strategy and Organisational Behaviour is presenting on the following topic, ‘Guidelines for organisational sustainability in an era of radical change: The vital role of employees readiness and commitment to change’. Dr Bolat from the Department of Marketing is talking about ‘Digital transformation and its implications for academia and practice’.

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The MEAConference aims to pave an international way for leading academics, active researchers, experts, industry leaders and interested scholars to communicate and exchange their viewpoints on latest scientific findings and practical experiences in the fields of Management, Economics and Accounting. Besides, the Conference attempts to examine the scientific and practical challenges in their application process across all geographical regions as well as at diverse local, national, regional and international levels.

 

Subtropical Florida – an excellent place to study microbes.

Ph.D. Student Hunter Hines, supervised by Prof Genoveva Esteban of SciTech’s Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, presented their research earlier this month in USA: Florida’s tropical ciliates; novel records and new species. The conference, American Society of Microbiology (Florida Branch) was attended by about 200 scientists, covering all aspects of microbiology. Hosted by Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS), University of Miami, the meeting took place on beautiful Key Biscayne, an island off the coast of the city of Miami. Hunter presented the highlights of his PhD project thus far; including the discovery of several first records for the Americas of some (unicellular) ciliated protozoan species.  Also included was a species Hunter discovered recently which is likely new to science, and the focus of current research.  These novel single-celled organisms help to advance theories of microbial ecology and dispersal, and the presentation received excellent feedback.  Prof Peter McCarthy (Hunter’s co-supervisor in USA) of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) was also in attendance for the conference, along with his HBOI lab group.