January, 2013 - Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - Site Home - MSDN Blogs

January, 2013


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Perfect competition for Design Students and courses - App to the Future is an app design competition open to the international design community


    Now You Can Change the Future  Challenge ends February 3, 2013

    Design an app for Windows Phone that showcases how to create, connect and maximise the use of the Windows Phone Platfrom.

    Mobile apps are used by millions of people worldwide on a daily basis and are now a way many of us take control of your day-to-day life. Today they help you wake up, dress, commute, stay on top of news and reach the important people in your life throughout the day, and at their best they help you do things the way YOU want to do them. But what more could your apps do for you tomorrow?

    Well this is where the app to the future challenge fits in!

    App to the Future is an app design competition open to the international design community, challenging entrants to design and mockup conceptual apps for the Windows Phone platform to help with their day-to-day challenges, better connect with their family or friends, or showcase an innovative, new app idea. The goals of Core77 and Microsoft are to showcase and triumph innovative designs through the Core77 Design Network of websites and the Microsoft Windows Phone Store and related websites such as Channel 9.

    Top winning entrants will be further encouraged to develop and sell their app in the Windows Phone Store utilizing prizes, resources and assistance provided by Core77 and Microsoft.

    So REGISTER NOW to design your own App to the Future! Full details: http://apptothefuture.core77.com/



    A Microsoft Surface Tablet



    A Windows Phone 8 device 

    And a one year subscription to the Windows Phone DEV CENTER which as a student you already get via DreamSpark

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Teaching Azure at Sheffield Hallam University


    Guest blog by Dr John Kirby, Senior Lecturer and Knowledge Transfer Champion, Sheffield Hallam University

    At Sheffield Hallam University we understand that the "cloud" is fundamentally changing computing. And this change will require increasing numbers of people with the right kind of training and skills. This is why we introduced our MSc in "Web and Cloud Computing".


    This course focuses on giving students the technical and related skills needed to provide successful web and cloud computing solutions to real business problems. The course is aimed at both practising professionals and recent graduates who wish to study for a higher qualification, while gaining relevant experience in this rapidly advancing area.

    Students gain skills in developing and applying cloud-related technology and learn about the benefits and challenges of cloud computing. They investigate a range of topics including advanced data handling, cloud computing security and collective intelligence based on user-generated content. Students study the different types of cloud and the various cloud service models including • software-as-a-service • platform-as-a-service • infrastructure-as-a-service.


    Our Cloud Applications module focuses on platform as a service and half of the teaching on this module focuses on Windows Azure. Students are introduced to the Azure SDK for Visual Studio through a number of lab class exercises concentrating on the object models used in accessing Table and Blob storage for creating, reading, updating and deleting data. Development is carried out using the Compute and Storage emulators on the local machine.

    I feel that it is important that students gain real practical experience of deploying their applications in the Windows Azure cloud. Deployment to Azure is not only the thing that makes these lab exercises "cloud" applications but it also gives students the experience and confidence to go on to use Azure in real commercial settings. This is why the very first lab exercise involves students deploying their applications to the Windows Azure platform. Students are shown how to use the Windows Azure Platform to deploy their application, create a storage account, set up firewall rules and run their application "in the cloud".

    The main assessed work for Cloud Applications module focuses on a programming project and report. Last year all of the students felt sufficiently confident to use Windows Azure to complete their projects. Students were required to demonstrate their applications running on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

    Our Handling Data in the Cloud module reviews a number of approaches to storing data in the cloud including the Windows Azure SQL Database (formerly SQL Azure). Students are introduced to the Management Portal for SQL Azure which they use in lab classes to create a small database.

    They then carry out another lab exercise in which they create a Federation and investigate its operation and features.

    John thanks for this overall great use of Cloud services within academic curriculum.

    If your interested in using Windows Azure cloud services within education please register for a FREE Azure pass from http://www.windowsazure.com/education

    What included in the FREE pass

    Microsoft provides grants for educators wanting to use Windows Azure in their curricula. These grants are facilitated through Windows Azure academic passes, which provide the following resources:

    Windows Azure
    • 2 small compute instances for Cloud Services or Virtual Machines
    • 10 Shared Web Sites
    • 10 Shared Mobile Services
    • 35GB of storage
    • 50,000,000 storage transactions
    • 250,000 Service Bus messages
    • 750 Service Bus Relay Hours
    SQL Database
    • Two 1GB Web Edition database
    Data Transfers

    (Per Region)

    • 8 GB in
    • 8 GB out

    Apply for a grant

    Grant applications are designated for faculty who are teaching Windows Azure in their curricula as well as faculty preparing to integrate Windows Azure into their curricula. Educator Grant awards are subject to demand and availability.  Educators will receive a special 12-month pass for their exclusive use, and may request 5-month non-renewable passes for distribution to their students.  Each pass is valid from the date of redemption. Educators may apply for passes for each of the courses they are teaching, and may only distribute these passes to students registered as part of their educational institution.

    To apply for an Educator Grant fill out this simple application form and provide us with:

    • Your name
    • Your email contact
    • Institution/University name
    • Course name
    • Course description
    • Number of students in your course
    • Number of Windows Azure platform academic passes needed
    • Date when passes will be used
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Interested in Functional Programming Try F#



    Try F# beta web based IDE, which makes it easy to learn the F# programming language, create programs by using F#, and share information all through a web browser.

    The new Try F# allows developers and students to experience F# 3.0’s unique information-rich programming features for Big and Broad Data analytics, and solve functional programming problems more efficiently.

    Learn more:

    · Try the Try F# beta

    · Learn about the Try F# beta in this video

    · Read our blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Research collaborations to build scientific tools and data analysis services in the Windows Azure cloud



    I wanted to share some of the Microsoft Research collaborations to build scientific tools and data analysis services in the Windows Azure cloud.

    One specific story to highlight was how Windows Azure helps provide affordable supercomputing time to researchers and simplifies the management of large scale computations is a project where Windows Azure has drastically reduced processing times to find new associations between genomes and diseases discoveries that could presage potential breakthroughs in prevention and treatment.

    Cloud Computing Unlocks Drug Discovery

    Researchers from Molplex, a small drug-discovery company; Newcastle University; and Microsoft Research Connections are working together to use cloud computing to help scientists across the globe deliver new medicines faster and at lower cost. This collaborative partnership has helped Molplex develop Clouds Against Disease, an offering of high-quality drug discovery services based on a new molecular discovery platform that draws its power from Windows Azure. The Clouds Against Disease computational platform runs algorithms to calculate, rapidly, the numerical properties of molecules. As a result, Molplex has been able to produce drug discovery results on a much larger scale than has ever been seen before.

    Read our blog or read the case study.

    Learn more about Research Opportunities:

    · Read the indepth Blog on Researcher and the Cloud  

    · Watch the video

    · Read the case study

    Apply for Windows Azure Educator Grant


    The Windows Azure Research Engagement project aims to boost scholarly and scientific research by extending computing to the cloud. We provide a cloud computing platform and work with researchers on projects that push the frontiers of client and cloud computing. 


    Related Links
    Contact Us
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research Connections issued a Request for Proposals for the 2013 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) Awards.


    Call for 2013 SEIF Award Applications

    Microsoft Research Connections issued a Request for Proposals for the 2013 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) Awards. The foundation supports top researchers who are conducting academic research that primarily involves Microsoft technologies. Each award is for US$25,000 and includes access to relevant collaborations and workshops.

    This year, the requested proposal topics include software engineering for gaming and assistive technologies for digital inclusion. The 2013 SEIF Awards will include a new grant that is designated for a project from Brazil. The application deadline is January 25 and results will be announced on March 28. Learn more or read our blog.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    University of Southampton ASTRA project which uses .NET Gagdgeteer presented at the Royal Academy of Engineering.




    Royal Exposure for .NET Gadgeteer

    Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer was presented as part of the University of Southampton ASTRA project at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

    Prince Philip and other distinguished guests attended this celebration of engineering on the occasion of the naming of “Prince Philip house." András Sóbester, University of Southampton, Chris Paulson, PhD student at the University of Southampton, and Steven Johnston University of Southampton, had the opportunity to talk about the project with Prince Philip.

    The ASTRA project aims to improve atmospheric sensor capabilities, and the prototype hardware is developed by using .NET Gadgeteer. Read the Ingenia article or see the Microsoft .NET Showcase and previous blogs about Windows Phone and Astra


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme short listing announced Feb 2013


    A new round of the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme in EMEA started in September when 109 applications were received from 20 countries in the EMEA region.



    Applications comprised those submitted to the Initiative in Informatics with Edinburgh University (where we co-fund four PhD Scholarships a year) and a new initiative with University College London.

    The applications, which were submitted by academic supervisors and are often co-authored by Microsoft Research Cambridge researchers, are currently being reviewed by Microsoft internal and external reviewers and announcements will be made in Feb 2013.

    Students will then be appointed and start pursuing their research in the 2013–14 academic year.

    If your interest in more details click here.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Global Game Jam 2013 Competition



    Microsoft is supporting the WW competition and in the UK were having a dedicated competition at each event and online.

    So even if who cannot physically attend the event can enter the online competition see  http://www.ubelly.com/global-game-jam/


    The UK Venues 




    University Campus Suffolk

    Rob Kurta







    SAE Institute London

    Jason Colman







    Staffs Uni Games Academy

    Nia Wearn



    Stafford, Staffordshire




    Hull Global Game Jam

    Simon Grey







    ExPlay Global Game Jam

    korash sanjideh







    Wiltshire College Trowbridge

    Frazer McLeod







    CST labs, University of Bedfordshire

    Stephen Wilson





    Northern Ireland


    Farset Labs

    Andrew Bolster


    Northern Ireland




    Scottish Game Jam

    Brian McDonald





    Glyndwr University Global Game Jam

    Ian Sturrock




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