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Lab Lunch Organisation


The organisation schedule for 2019/2020: 

Start End
Lauren Watson 01/10/2019 15/10/2019
Sefa Akca 22/10/2019 05/11/2019
Pablo Andres Martinez 12/11/2019 26/11/2019
Sándor Bartha 03/12/2019 17/12/2019
Henry Clausen 14/01/2020 28/01/2020
Brian Coyle 04/02/2020 18/02/2020
Bogdan Manghiuc 25/02/2020 10/03/2020
Nuiok Dicaire 17/03/2020 31/03/2020
Rudi Horn 07/04/2020 21/04/2020
Muhammad Ishaq 28/04/2020 12/05/2020
Wen Kokke 26/05/2020 09/06/2020
Yun Lu 16/06/2020 30/06/2020


The schedule may be amended by mutual agreement among the organisers concerned. Only in the event of irreconcilable difficulties should the Deputy Director or Director be asked to intervene


The duties of the Lab Lunch organiser are:

  • To support the speakers, both for lunches during their own term of office and for the next term of office. See below for more information on this. Please remind all speakers about the spirit of Lab Lunch, especially the bit about talks being short!  Reminders about upcoming talks should be sent out (i) about 4 weeks before the talk (for these reminders, you are likely to be reminding someone who will have their organisation done by a later Lab organiser), and (ii) about 10days before the talk (in these cases, you'll probably be still organiser when they present the talk.  For this 10-day reminder, you should be asking for a title and abstract) 
  • To announce the lunch to the lfcs-interest mailing list, with the speaker, title and abstract, or the information that there is no speaker. The announcement for the following week should be made by Thursday, with a reminder on Monday or first thing Tuesday.
  • To maintain the Lab Lunch web pages, in particular the schedule.
  • To arrange audio-visual equipment (data projector, OHP, etc.). Note that you should collect the data projector and any other equipment in good time, as lunch breaks may be unpredictable.

      When using the projector in MF2 please follow these instructions -

      Projector ON/OFF - please use the button panel to switch projector ON/OFF otherwise the input source selection buttons ('Main PC', 'PC 1', 'PC 2', 'Aux') will be ignored

      Video - The VGA cable is wired as 'PC 1'.  There is no 'Main PC' in the cabinet in MF2

      Audio - The volume level should appear on the projector screen when the buttons are pressed.  Please note that the level has to be quite high (~28)

      before you will be able to hear any audio

  • To ensure that biscuits are provided, and that coffee is made. (The organiser should make additional pots of coffee as necessary up to the time the talk starts.) Organisers will pass on by word of mouth how to arrange these details! (Or an organiser can write them in here.) Money spent on biscuits can be claimed back at the end of your tenure by filling in the standard expenses form and submitting it along with the relevant receipts to the LFCS Admin office. Currently, you are allowed to claim up to £4 per Lab Lunch.
  • To remind the convener of the Lunch to get things going by a reasonable time, if perchance they don't realize that they are convening. The convener is the Director, failing which the Deputy Director, failing which the senior person present. (The University has an official order of precedence, but just choose someone likely looking!)

 Lab Lunch happens every Tuesday of the year, with the following exceptions:

  • There is no lunch during the period of Christmas closure.
  • By default there is no lunch on the May Tuesday holiday (day after Victoria Day), but one may be put on if there is, say, a particularly interesting visitor available.
  • There is no lunch during the week of the summer Boards of Examiners meetings.
  • Lab lunch may be cancelled if it coincides with a major School, University or external event to which many members might be expected to go, or other good reason.

Finding speakers

Anyone is welcome to give a lab lunch.  Academic staff members of LFCS may volunteer at any time (or be assigned---see below).  If a postgrad or research assistant or someone outside LFCS volunteers to give a talk the organizer should secure a approval before listing the talk. Postgrad and research assistants in LFCS should be approved by their supervisor, volunteers outside of LFCS should be approved by the Director of LFCS.

In an ideal world, Lab Lunch would be fully supplied by volunteer speakers. For whatever reason, this doesn't happen. LFCS Research Committee (the governing body of LFCS) has agreed that members of LFCS have a duty to give talks, and that speakers should be randomly assigned. To avoid blocking voluntary talks, we currently work on the basis that half the slots should be assigned randomly. Therefore, every two or three months, the organizer should select four to six LFCS members to fill these slots. Please follow the following protocol:

  • In order to ensure speakers have adequate notice, the schedule should always include speakers for at least two months in advance. This means you may need to schedule speakers for after your own period of responsibility.
  • The pool of selectees is the academic staff members of LFCS who are based in Edinburgh.
  • Those who have talked within the last year are exempt.
  • When you have selected the speakers, assign them to a slot in the schedule. Then mail all your victims to tell them that they've been randomly assigned (by authority of Research Committee), and point them at the spirit of Lab Lunch. You should ask the speakers to contact you if they can't do their allocated slot.
  • The Deputy Director has a list of speakers who have postponed their talks over the last year (in some cases, for a few years). Whenever a slot becomes free, we will offer it to one of these people.

In addition, you can of course send out requests for volunteer talks, best appended to lab lunch announcements.  This route is usually taken if a speaker is unavailable for a talk two-three weeks away, and none of the "waiting-list" speakers can take the slot.

Liability to serve

The organisers of the Lab Lunch are, in random rotation, the second-year Ph.D. students in LFCS. The organisational year will normally run from September of year N to August of year N+1, but may be adjusted during transitional periods or if there is an imbalance of student numbers between years. The definition of "second-year student" for the organisational year starting in September N is: student who started between February N-1 and January N, inclusive. A list of such students may be obtained from the Institute Secretary.

Handover protocol and maintaining the Web pages

These are connected, since in order to avoid all organisers having to have Web publishing accounts, a workaround has been put in place. This does, however, require organisers to do something at change-over.

The Web pages are maintained under CVS on the Informatics server. If you are not familiar with this system, you should read the documentation and/or ask the previous organiser how to do it.

A private copy of the Lab Lunch pages is kept in AFS file space at the directory /afs/ These files are writable by members of the AFS protection group jcb:lablunch. These files are checked out under jcb's id. The command /afs/ can be used in place of the regular cvs command, and will do updates or commits using jcb's id. Note that it will not invoke an editor to get a comment for commit, as it runs on a remote server - therefore you should use the -m option to provide the comment. (If omitted, a default comment will be provided.) This is the procedure to modify the webpages in the old LFCS website.

For modifying the webpages in the new LFCS website, the organizer will be given the write permission. After that any webpage can be modified hitting the edit button at the top. After modification, save the web content, so that it is visible to everyone.

To simplify matters, a command has been provided to hand over the organiser's role to another user. This command will update the Web pages and the AFS protection group, and mail the new organiser. To appoint a new organiser, find their DICE user name and run the command


  • If you already have a Web publishing account with appropriate access, you may of course use that in the regular fashion instead.
  • If you are away at some time and have asked somebody to act in your place, it's OK to add them to the protection group - but please ensure that you remove them again afterwards.
  • If you manage to get things confused (e.g. by accidentally removing yourself from the protection group), contact jcb - but as Support say, try not to do this.


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