July 2010 - First week as a Professor - From Golf to New Jobs and EU funding

So today is the end of the first week in my new role as Professor in the Chair of Human Computer Interaction at the School of Computer Science in St. Andrews University Scotland. While it's been a relatively quiet week within the University it's been a hectic time outside as the Golf Open Championship started here on Thursday. On Tuesday I was invited to attend an Open Golf Graduation where Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Padraig Harrington  were awarded Honorary Degrees by the University in a public ceremony. In the past I've not been a great fan of such degrees but having seen the event myself, the caliber of the recipients and the nature of the honorary degree I think I was wrong about such awards.  Thankfully the campus closes down for two days to help facilitate the tournament. Given the traffic and numbers in town I think this is the wise (and financially opportune) thing to do. 

As for the University, it's well and true enmeshed within St. Andrews itself. It's an idyllic setting overlooking the sea, cliffs and beaches and is a quintessential University town. During the graduation ceremony I was able to sit beside two retired ladies from St. Andrews. Their knowledge and pride in the institution is a testament to the high esteem the people of the area hold the University in. Across the board I feel a sense of great academic and community pride throughout St. Andrews. It's difficult to pick out what is and isn't part of the University, so much so the whole place feels like the campus. However, my part of the University with Computer Science (shown to the right), Mathematics, Biomedical Science, Physics etc. is one of the few clearly defined "campuses" around. We are on the edge of the town where our teaching, research, office and lab space is more characteristic of a more modern campus.  None the less, the character, caliber and ethos remains very much the same. 

Along with the usual paper, reviewing deadlines and work on existing grants I've been getting settled in. I've assumed my teaching duties for HCI and Graphics along with coordination for Knowledge Transfer and as Honours project coordinator. I'm looking forward to the teaching where I hope to weave in some of the latest findings from CHI, UIST, ITS etc. And with graphics to explore the fundamental aspects while pushing into mobile and algorithmic methods to exploit more recent graphics hardware. The Knowledge Transfer role should be an interesting challenge. Moving research findings out to the broader community to encourage dissemination and impact creation. As part of this role I'm going to attend an FP7 (EU) Information and Communication Technologies Funding Day  in Edinburgh on the 20th of July. I've been involved in a number of EU projects in the past and I think the range of EU opportunities affords us some timely knowledge transfer pathways. 

Finally, my new school is seeking applications for a lectureship in human-computer interaction and a lectureship in Software Engineering which each have a closing date of 15 September 2010.   The lectureship in human-computer interaction is funded by the Scottish  Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA).  "The overall objectives of SICSA are to build a world-class Scottish computer science research community and to promote cultural change so that researchers in Scotland work collaboratively rather than in competition. The SICSA research themes of Next-generation Internet, Multi-modal Interaction, Modelling and Abstraction and Complex Systems Engineering."

I'm looking forward to some fun and exciting times here. 

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