Students Staff

19 September 2017

Meet our new head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: — Communications Office @ 4:43 pm
Professor Anthony Vickers

Professor Anthony Vickers

Professor Anthony Vickers is our new Head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, so we thought we’d catch up with him and ask him about his new role.

How long have you worked at Essex and what roles have you had?
I have worked at the University for 32 years, in the Department of Physics, the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, and now in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE). I have held many academic positions within those departments, including Head of Department (ESE), Director of Education, as well as a University role as Head of Study Abroad.

What is the best thing about working at Essex?
I have always enjoyed working at Essex due to the friendly, cooperative, and professional way of colleagues across all areas.

What are your plans for the School?
The School is currently in a strong financial position with a rich portfolio of courses and research activities. The plans are to further strengthen our education and research excellence. We are currently recruiting new academic and professional service staff. Eleven new academic staff will have joined us during the Autumn term, with more due in spring and Summer. New professional service staff will strengthen our administration of degree apprenticeships and international partnerships. New, internationally competitive research and education laboratories are planned, including visualisation, neuro engineering, embedded systems, and games AI (artificial intelligence) laboratories. The School is introducing a new Week 2 for all first-year students as a transition week, with the emphasis on ‘build something wonderful’. This initiative is part of a larger initiative to encourage our students to focus on creativity and imagination, in the use of the skills they acquire with us.

What is your area of research/expertise?
My research activity is mainly in the physics of optoelectronic materials and devices, focusing on novel materials for photodetectors and Terahertz emitters/detectors. Photodetectors are the receiving element of fibre optic systems. Our research aims to develop new more efficient detectors to reduce costs and increase sustainability. Terahertz emitters and detectors are used in the development of instruments to study proteins for future drugs. The aim is to be able to design drugs, through simulation and experimental studies, to reduce drug costs and make them more widely available. I collaborate on this work with Dr Phil Reeves and Professor Chris Reynolds, from the School of Biological Sciences.

Tell us about any student achievements you are particularly proud of?
The School has an excellent record of providing students to the local, national, and international community, with a graduate destination record which has hovered around 90% for the last three years. The School is also proud its showcase Capstone Project Day at which over 30 company representatives see and discuss our students’ achievements, giving both students and company representatives, an insight into each other’s work. Finally our MSc and PhD students develop into our colleagues, with many of them taking research positions, either with us, or with other universities.

Describe in a sentence what makes CSEE special?
CSEE is a friendly School, with dedicated students and staff, all with a strong emphasis on creativity and imagination.

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22 March 2016

Naseem showcases research at House of Commons

Filed under: People pages, Research impact, Student experience — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 2:58 pm
PhD student Naseem Ramli discusses her research with Bernard Jenkin MP.

PhD student Naseem Ramli discusses her research with Bernard Jenkin MP at the House of Commons.

PhD student Naseem Ramli was shortlisted to showcase her research at a special event at the House of Commons.

At the SET for BRITAIN event, Naseem presented a poster demonstrating her research into renewable energy to several MPs, including Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin.

Naseem, from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, said: “It was a prestigious event, with my session being quite competitive. I’m working on renewable energy, but it was a great opportunity to meet those from other engineering disciplines.”

SET for BRITAIN aims to connect researchers with MPs and highlight Parliament’s role in promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. Naseem, who was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants, added: “Not only did the event highlight new technologies, but also it was a great way to showcase renewable energy and how it benefits the planet.”

Naseem’s research focuses on using lithium-ion batteries for low power applications and she would like to be able to gain funding to develop her research further.

With renewable energy being a key interest for Naseem, she praised the University’s Green Impact programme, which helps departments be more sustainable. “It’s a good scheme,” added Naseem, “I can see that the university has made large investments in solar technology.”

 

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27 July 2015

Professor Naci Balkan

Filed under: People pages — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 3:38 pm
Professor Naci Balkan

Professor Naci Balkan

It is with great sadness that the University announces the death of Professor Naci Balkan, who had worked at Essex for more than 30 years.

Professor Balkan died on Friday 26 June, following a heart attack while on study leave in Turkey.

He joined the Department of Physics at Essex as a Senior Research Officer in 1984, and upon its closure in 1999, transferred to the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, where he was appointed Professor in 2002. The Department subsequently became part of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

Professor Balkan was an internationally renowned researcher in the field of optoelectronics with an extensive publication record to his name.

He was a highly valued colleague, teacher and friend and will be missed greatly by those who knew him and worked with him.

A full obituary has been published on our news pages.

You can share your memories and tributes to Professor Balkan in the comment box on this page.

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11 May 2015

It’s all in a wink…or a blink

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 10:04 am
Ana Matran-Fernandez  working on the Cybathlon challenge

Ana Matran-Fernandez working on the Cybathlon challenge

Could we control our smartphones in the future with a simple wink or blink? Well this is the challenge being taken on by students at the University of Essex.

PhD students Davide Valeriani and Ana Matran-Fernandez recently took part in Hack the Brain, the first UK Hackathon dedicated to projects related to the brain and won with their EyeWink project.

The Essex duo, who are part of the University’s Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) group, together with two other participants, led the winning team which in just eight hours built a working prototype which linked up eyebrow movements to controlling a phone, via an EEG-measuring device and a computer.

“We were really proud that in such a short space of time our team had a good idea and a fully working prototype,” explained Ana.

Following the success at Hack the Brain, Davide and Ana are now hoping to develop the project into a wearable wireless device (EyeWink) which can be used for a wide range of ways to control a smartphone using combinations of winks and blinks – from changing a song while running to locating a missing phone.

EyeWink will allow users to control their phones without their hands. In the future, Davide and Ana would like to develop it for people with mobility issues, such as those who have locked-in syndrome.

The Essex BCI group, which is in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, is also taking part in the international 2016 Cybathlon championship in Zurich. Cybathlon is a tournament for parathletes who will compete in six races with the aid of human performance-enhancing technology.

One of these races involves brain-computer interfaces and the Essex Brainstormers team will be among 48 teams taking part where they will battle it out control an avatar in a race by capturing brain signals and turning them into commands.

 

 

 

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24 March 2014

Students impress business community at open day

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 2:30 pm
Stephen Warne,  Managing Director of Karelia Networks Solutions, chatting to student Yana Sukhova.

Stephen Warne, Managing Director of Karelia Networks Solutions, chatting to student Yana Sukhova.

From technology to improve NHS patient care to novel home/office remote security systems, a wide range of ideas were showcased at a special event at the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

As part of the School’s Final Year Project Open Day, 116 students showcased their vision of the future with a variety of different projects including various apps for android devices and a 3D cart racing game. The event attracted several local companies as well as staff and students who all got the chance to speak to the students about their projects.

Karen Gooch, Faculty Employability Co-ordinator, said: “Feedback from employers has been incredibly positive, with many saying how impressed they were with the range of projects, and with the students themselves. Businesses really value seeing what our students are capable of. Last year several of our students were offered graduate jobs as a result of the Open Day, and we are hoping this year will also lead to successful careers for our graduates.”

 

 

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