Department of Computer Science and Technology

Information for new arrivals

Information for hosts of visitors (or interns)

Head of Department’s Policy

  1. We tend to welcome those who have financial support which has been obtained through a substantive competitive process, such as Royal Society Research Fellowships, EPSRC Advanced Fellowship, etc. Such persons join the Computer Laboratory for the duration of the Fellowship and it is expected that the costs of overheads, bench fees, etc. will be met by their funding body.
  2. Where there has not been a substantive competitive element then such people are potential visitors. To be accepted as visitors they have to be personally endorsed by a University Teaching Officer (the host) and seconded by another member of staff. Naturally the host has to be convinced that there is a proper intellectual case for the visit. Moreover, the host “owns” the relationship with the visitor and has to sort out any issues that might arise (but can bathe in the glory of any successful outcomes). Such visits are typically for a year, occasionally for two years, and can also be in repeated bursts of shorter duration. There is a strict 6 months maximum duration for visitors who are enrolled as a student at another University.
  3. In view of the rapidly increasing number of visitors to the Computer Laboratory, members of staff are asked to discourage ‘cold calls’ and unsolicited requests.
  4. All proposals for visits must be discussed with the Departmental Secretary, Caroline Stewart, to ensure that suitable office space is available and to ascertain the rate of bench fees. The visit must be supported by a UTO.
  5. Visitors are charged bench fees at the following standard rates:

    1. Industrial rate £3000 per calendar month
    2. Academic rate £1000 per calendar month
    3. Reduced rate £600 per calendar month
    4. Student rate £400 per calendar month

    These rates are subject to VAT at the current rate depending on status; the Finance Administrator can advise. Weekly rates are available to visitors coming for a shorter time. For convenience, the weekly rate is one quarter of the monthly rate. Visits of up to one week are free of charge.
  6. The “reduced rate” (category C) is available in one case: Research Fellows of Cambridge Colleges who were elected in an open competition (that is, a competition to which anyone could apply, rather than, for example, a competition limited by membership of a particular College).
  7. Fees are waived in four cases: (1) for an academic on sabbatical leave; (2) for academics involved in a reciprocal visiting arrangement with academics at the Computer Laboratory; (3) for someone who acts as Director of Studies in Computer Science for a Cambridge College; and (4) where a case has been made to the Head of Department that the visitor has no external source from which bench fees can be paid and that there is a proper intellectual case that the visitor will benefit the Laboratory.
  8. Note that those who are paid through the University payroll, e.g., as post-doctoral researchers on a grant, are not charged bench fees. Their “bench fee” contribution comes from the indirect and estates costs charged on the supporting grant.

Arrangements for newcomers (staff, visitors and interns)

A UTO who is willing to act as host should fill in the arrival details form as soon as possible. In particular, the form should be filled in for any visit of more than a couple of days or where access to local facilities is required. Please take care to give the correct information, paying particular attention to the name including any middle initials. It is also worth mentioning any previous Cambridge connection so we can confirm whether the person is already known and would therefore have a CRSID.

The arrival details form is sent automatically to the Departmental secretary, the Finance Administrator, and the Head of Department in turn, ensuring that the correct facilities are available at the start of an appointment or visit. Please state in the notes section the status of the newcomer. For visitors, a case needs to be made and the request supported by the host plus one other permanent member of academic staff. If a visit is approved by the Head of Department, then a letter of invitation will be sent.

The following information is required before the letter of inivitation can be issued:

  1. Full name incuding title and status of visitor
  2. Name and address of home institution
  3. Visit dates
  4. Bench fees payable and address to which the invoice will be sent at the start of the visit.

Please make sure this is entered on the arrival details form.


  • Visas The department can apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship if needed, but applications for visas are the responsibility of the individuals themselves.
  • Interns For interns in receipt of maintenance payments, the host should consult the Finance Administrator, Carol Nightingale, as early as possible in the setting-up process.
  • Machine provision:
    Does the person need a machine at a desk of their own?
    It is increasingly common for visitors to bring their own laptops (see below), but if they are to use one of our machines, we need to be told well in advance. If a machine needs to be taken from stock, some time will be required to set up a network connection, etc.

Note: If the visitor brings their own wireless-capable laptop, they may be able to use our visitor wireless service. Go to University Wireless Service Console for information on how to issue a visitor ticket.

  • Is a lab account (Unix or Windows) needed?
    If the visitor is only here for a few days or if the visitor is bringing their own laptop, an account will likely not be necessary. If applying for an account, please note that we use a unified password system – a single password will access both Unix and Windows systems – so you do not need to apply separately for accounts on the two systems.
    Note that unless an account is specifically requested, we will not create one.

    If an account is needed:
    1. It is useful but not essential to know if the person has had an account in the Computer Lab before (we will check anyway).
    2. Which machines does the person need to be able to log into?
      Machines are arranged in groups which roughly, but not exactly, correspond to research groups. So a visitor to the SRG, for example, would need accounts on the SRG machines. If possible, specify the machine names required. The default group is the public machines, which are all machines not owned by specific groups, and this should be enough for most needs.
    3. Does the person need to be a member of specific Unix groups?
      It is not necessary to know this at account creation time, but it makes things simpler if we do.
  • A forwarding address for email.
    We do not set up local email accounts for visitors, but will set up forwarding for any email that arrives here for them. It is most useful if this forwarding address is known in advance. If an intern is a current undergraduate, they will already have a Hermes account, but if they are a recently graduated student who is staying on as an intern, they will need to talk to Reception to keep their Hermes account in operation.
  • Does the person need an access card?
    There are different classes of visitor access cards: members of staff will be issued with a University card. Random short term visitors, who do not have their own university card will get a temporary Mifare card from Reception to allow them movement within the building, but not for unaccompanied out of hours access. “Official” visitors can, of course, have full access. If a visitor has a university card, their access rights will be programmed to it.
  • If you are not going to be here on the day that the visitor arrives, please remember to arrange somebody to meet them, show them around, tell them where to collect account paperwork (Reception normally) etc.