Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), University of Southampton

Electronics and Computer Science (ECS)

2009 Highlights - A review of our year month-by-month

2009 began with a splash with the news that Professor Wendy Hall had been appointed DBE in the New Year Honours List, for services to science and technology. Dame Wendy’s prestigious appointments continued during the year. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in May, and received the Duncan Davies Medal from the Research & Development Society in October.

In February ECS was visited by Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation. With a PhD in robotics, Lord Drayson was especially interested in a display of student projects on robotics, including the Formica swarm robots which were built in the School’s Biologically Inspired Robotics course, and the Student Robotics challenge, which students run in sixth form schools and colleges in Hampshire.

National Science and Engineering Week in March saw an innovative new type of event for schoolchildren, devised and organized by ECS PhD student Reena Pau. ‘Blood on the Kitchen Floor’ was a murder mystery event in which children and families solved a set of clues using University laboratory facilities to unmask the murderer of a celebrity chef. The event helped the University win the national accolade of ‘Best Engineering Event’ during the Week.

In April it was revealed that MailScanner, the email security and anti-spam system developed and managed in ECS by Julian Field, had achieved global reach by protecting email in every country in the world – ‘from the Vatican State to the United States, from North Korea to the South Pacific,’ as Julian commented.

Team Tarka, the first-ever UK entry in Solar Splash, the World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boating, put up a spirited challenge in June, coming away with a string of awards and a very creditable 10th place in the event. Team Tarka was led by Dr Peter Wilson of ECS and the team members in Fayetteville, Arkansas, were Dirk De Jager, Karim El-Shabrawy, and Rich Bowen.

Over 200 students from ECS received their degrees at University Graduation ceremonies in July, with the majority of them having found jobs. It was announced in June that the School’s 2008 graduates had done outstandingly well, with 95 per cent of them in graduate jobs or training within three months of graduating.

In August the University of Southampton became the first in Europe to receive the Charles Babbage Grant from Synopsys Inc. John Chilton, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Development at Synopsys, attended a ceremony in ECS to formally open a new lab for virtual learning and to meet with students and faculty.

Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of Research Councils UK, was principal guest at the first Open Day at the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre, held on 9 September. Over 200 guests from business and research were able to tour the new facilities, hear about the latest research advances in nanotechnology, and to meet staff of the Centre.

The first-ever internationally designated Open Access Week (19-23 October), provided an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research and to celebrate the successes achieved by the Open Access movement, within the global research communities and the world’s higher education institutions. It also marked the adoption of the 100th OA mandate. ECS is one of the world leaders in OA research and policy.

In November Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt briefed the UK Cabinet on their work on making government data more open and accessible. The work had begin in June at the invitation of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In December Nigel Shadbolt was asked to lead a panel of experts to oversee the release of local public data.

The ALADDIN project ended the year on a high-note when it received the Aerospace and Defence Award in The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards. The judges called ALADDIN, led by Professor Nick Jennings, ‘a stunning collaboration’ with one judge remarking that the project ‘truly captures engineering’.

These successes are only a few of the 130 news stories featured on the ECS web site – you can read them all on our news pages, with some of the coverage of our news also available.

Join us again in 2010 for more coverage of the School, our students and researchers, and our achievements.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453


Posted by Joyce Lewis on 16 Dec 2009.