Welcome to our new Director of Knowledge Exchange

We extend a warm welcome to our new Director of Knowledge Exchange, Alistair Lawson, who joins SICSA today.  Alistair brings valuable experience to the role.  He is a member of the Centre for Distributed Computing, Networking and Security within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University and is involved in Research and Knowledge Exchange projects in the areas of software engineering, applications development, healthcare, speech and language, scalable systems, cloud computing, industry 4.0, information sharing, simulation, e-security, e-commerce, and e-learning.

Alistair will be working over the next two years to develop links between SICSA, industry, the public sector and the SFC Innovation Centres.

Alistair replaced Professor Iadh Ounis, who has worked with SICSA as Director of Knowledge Exchange for over 2 years. We would like to give a big thank you to Iadh, who has been fundamental to the success of SICSA in recent years.

Local Transport Product Forge Event

A room full of entrepreneurially minded data scientists and analysts, designers, software engineers and transport industry professionals spending 3 days and 3 nights side by side developing product prototypes to improve transport services within Scotland – sound good?

Product Forge is running a competitive transport hackathon at CodeBase in Edinburgh from Thursday 4th May until Sunday 7th.

Regardless of whether you already have an idea that you would like to prototype, or don’t and would just like to make new connections, you are invited to come along and meet talented people with a shared interest in the future of Scottish transport.

Participants from a range of backgrounds and skills form teams to work on a product prototype with support from industry experts in the transport industry and the wider technology community.

Use this opportunity to develop your career, gain new skills, network with professionals, meet potential employers or even kick-start your own company!

All participants receive mentoring, 10 free meals and 24 hour access to the venue, and the top ranking teams can access support to develop their concept further.

Register at: https://productforge.io/events/local-transport-product-forge/ .

SICSA PhD Conference – Registration Open!

We are delighted to confirm that the 2017 SICSA PhD Conference will take place on 27th & 28th June at the University of Dundee. Registration for the event is now open!

Eventbrite - SICSA PhD Conference 2017

The SICSA PhD Conference has become one of the highlights of the SICSA events calendar, bringing together Computing Science and Informatics PhD students, leading academics, and industry practitioners for 2 days of workshops, keynote presentations and social events. The conference is an event aimed specifically at Informatics and Computing Science PhD students and is organised each year by a hard working committee of PhD students and members of the SICSA Executive.

Keynote speakers this year will include one of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs, Chris van der Kuyl; and Mandy Chessell, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Distinguished Engineer at IBM.

For the full programme, please visit www.sicsaconf.org.

Registration and accommodation is fully funded by SICSA and our sponsors for all Scotland-based Computing and Informatics PhD students.  

New MSc IT Cyber Security for non-computing graduates

Cyber Security is growing in importance as more and more of what we do moves online.  Both public and private sector organisations are employing more cyber security professionals, both because they want to secure their information, but also, increasingly, because they are required to do so by new legislation.

The University of Glasgow School of Computing Science is delighted to announce the availability of a new programme designed for graduates who have a good non-computing degree and an interest in cyber security.  On the security side it teaches general cyber security techniques with Cyber Security Fundamentals and Cryptography and Secure Development.  Enterprise Cyber Security covers security in business organisations, while Human Centred Security, Cyber Security Forensics and Safety Critical Systems (protecting critical infrastructure) rounds off this part of the programme.

On the IT side, students are taught to program with a Programming course and Team Project, and also learn about Databases, Computer Systems and Software Project management.  The programme finishes with a Cyber Security based summer project.  No prior computing education is required.

Further information at www.glasgow.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/itcybersecurity/


SICSA Education Director Recruitment: Deadline Extended

We have extended the deadline for applications for the SICSA Director of Education position to 31st January 2017.  We invite applicants who are currently employed in academic/teaching positions at any SICSA member institution.

The post is equivalent to 0.2FTE and the duration is 2 years.  This post is not directly funded by SICSA and as such it is considered part of the institutional (“in-kind”) contribution to the pool.  Potential applicants are advised to discuss this with their Heads of School prior to applying.

The closing date is 31st January 2017.

For further information and to apply, please visit https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/about-us/vacancies/.


Future Health Product Forge Hackathon

A room full of entrepreneurially minded data scientists and analysts, clinicians, designers, and software engineers spending 3 days and 3 nights side by side developing new product ideas for patients, front line staff and the wider NHS..sound good?

Product Forge is running a competitive healthcare hackathon at CodeBase in Edinburgh from Thursday 19th January until Sunday 22nd.

Regardless of whether you already have an idea that you would like to prototype, or don’t and would just like to make new connections, you are invited to come along and meet talented people with a shared interest in the future of health care.

Participants form small cross-functional teams to work on a product prototype with support from industry experts in the NHS and the wider technology community. Participants will have access to health data released by the NHS Information Services Division, as well as scientific medical imaging data.

For more information and to register, visit: https://productforge.io/events/future-health-product-forge/

Inspiring teens to become Scotland’s cyber defenders of the future

 *Press Release from Hot Tin Roof  about forthcoming Cyber Security Lectures

Scottish secondary school pupils are being inspired to become the first line of defence against a global cybercrime epidemic through a week of events kicking off on Monday 12 December.

Cyber security is a growing concern across the economy, with business activity such as payments, shopping and trading increasingly conducted online. Around 13.8 million people – almost one quarter of the population – were affected by cyber crime in the UK last year, an annual increase of 10 per cent.

The risks for businesses are clear; data loss can have an immediate effect on reputation, result in legal action, influence competitive positioned and shareholder value, with an average cost to large UK firms of £4.1 million per incident.

The cyber threat affects SMEs as well as large organisations so demand for skilled experts is growing across the whole economy and it is more important than ever that Scotland fosters a workforce of cyber security professionals for the future.

The annual Cyber Security Christmas Lectures series aims to address this need by making young people aware of career opportunities in the industry and the realities of cyber crime. The tour will visit Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, from 12 – 16 December.

In their fifth year, the lectures are bigger than ever, with over 2700 pupils around the country set to attend the events hosted by five top universities. The event will also welcome its first international guest – Amalie Wedege, a security risk management expert from Danish firm Zero Alpha.

Amalie will be joined on the tour by experts including Police Scotland’s Eamonn Keane, NCC Group’s Rory McCune, and Andrew Cumming of Edinburgh Napier University, who will deliver an intriguing lecture, “Keeping Secrets with Pure Mathematics”.

Brian Higgins of (ICS)2, an international non-profit association focused on inspiring a safe and secure cyber world, will once again close proceedings in his own inimitable style with a fast paced, interactive competition where anything could happen (and often does).

Martin Beaton, Cyber Security Network Integrator for Scotland, says: “Surprisingly, digital native millennials have been shown to be among the groups most vulnerable to online crime and loss of personal information. Our Christmas Lectures bring cyber security to life in a fun setting, helping pupils to understand the risks they face as well as the opportunities available if they choose a career in the sector.

“Scotland is a global leader in protecting and educating businesses and the wider population about cyber security, but we need to make sure that we have a pipeline of new talent to ensure we can thrive online in years to come.”

The events are supported by Digital World, an initiative developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry, which inspires and supports people to go into digital technology careers.

Claire Gillespie, key sector manager for ICT and Digital Skills at SDS, said: “The digital technologies sector offers plenty of well-paid and interesting job opportunities and cyber security is one of the fastest growing specialisms. More than 10,000 school pupils have taken part in the lectures since 2011 and it’s fantastic to see the tour going from strength to strength.”

Maggie Morrison, Vice President Public Sector at CGI in Scotland, the main sponsor of the event, said: “One of our core aims in Scotland is to ensure that we have a digitally skilled nation in place, which can drive, deliver and protect businesses as we continue to embrace the online universe. Opportunities like this, which allow us to educate and engage with pupils at a point where they are making career choices and planning their futures, are therefore incredibly valuable.”

The lectures are part of a wider cyber security awareness programme, which includes the Scottish Cyber Awards, exciting cyber security competitions (both virtual and face-to-face), GCHQ women in cyber security day and secondary school residential cyber camps being held throughout the summer months.

This year’s supporters include SICSA, PwC, CGI, Education Scotland, Scottish Business Resilience Centre, Scottish Government, SQA, Scottish Enterprise, Police Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, the Digital World campaign, and a multitude of industry representatives that will provide the inspiring mix of talks.

To find out more visit http://www.christmascyberlectures.org/


Cyber security statistics

  1. 8 million people affected by cyber crime in the UK last year – https://www.symantec.com/content/dam/symantec/docs/reports/2016-norton-cyber-security-insights-comparisons-uk-en.pdf
  2. £4.1 million cost per cyber crime incident for large UK organisations – HPE 2015 Cost of Cyber Crime Study – http://hpsw.co/i6GDq82


SICSA is now Recruiting for 2 Director posts

We are pleased to announce that we are now recruiting for the following Directorate positions within SICSA:

  • SICSA Deputy Director / Knowledge Exchange Director
  • SICSA Director of Education

We invite applicants who are currently employed in academic/teaching positions at any SICSA member institution.

Both posts are equivalent to 0.2FTE and the duration of the posts is 2 years.  These posts are not directly funded by SICSA and are considered part of the institutional (“in-kind”) contribution to the pool.  Potential applicants are advised to discuss this with their Heads of School prior to applying.

The closing date for both positions is 13th January 2017.

For further information and to apply, please visit https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/about-us/vacancies/.

Enterprise Campus: Supporting Postgraduate Entrepreneurs

Are you a postgraduate? Do you fancy being your own boss or have a brilliant business idea?

If that sounds like you, then you may be eligible for support from Enterprise Campus! A joint initiative between the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Strathclyde, Enterprise Campus is Scotland’s postgraduate business support programme.  No matter where you study in Scotland, through Enterprise Campus you can access free advice, workshops, events and event funding to help support your high-growth business idea.

What does Enterprise Campus do?:

  • Provide funding to help postgraduate students turn their ideas into high-growth business opportunities
  • Provide expert business advice from a dedicated team of business advisors
  • Run events that help student entrepreneurs get to the next level with their business idea. From business bootcamps and workshop series, to sector specific networking opportunities – the team puts on events that are specific to business needs.

Who do they support?:

Masters and PhD students, as well as early career researchers, from any subject area and any University in Scotland.

How does Enterprise Campus work?:

The team consists of expert business advisers, each with their own areas of expertise; plus communications and events specialists. By signing up to Enterprise Campus, postgraduates can access funding that could help progress the formation of their company, as well as support, advice, and a programme of free events. Enterprise Campus is a FREE and impartial service, and they help postgraduate businesses at all stages.

To get in touch with a business advisor to discuss your idea, please email enquiries@EnterpriseCampus.org.uk or visit their website for more information: www.enterprisecampus.org.uk.


The Data Lab Online Learning Funding Call

Over the last five years there has been an explosion in the number of educational courses provided online. This is no surprise when you consider the potential benefits to the learner. You can learn what you want. You can learn at home. You can learn at your own pace. Online courses have the potential to open up new exciting career opportunities to anyone who has access to the internet.

Scotland needs more people with the skills to manipulate, organise and analyse an ever increasing amount and variety of data. This demand is not confined to traditional computing industries. Data skills are required in agriculture, tourism, construction, energy and most industry sectors.

To achieve The Data Lab’s vision to showcase Scotland as an international leader in Data Science, and to train a new generation of data scientists, they are looking to fund the development of online courses which contribute to the requirement for more flexible high-quality data science training and education. These may take the form of MOOCs or closed application online courses.

The Data Lab will provide between £30,000 and £50,000 for the development of up to three online courses for this call. These must be delivered fully online, which means there should be no mandatory in-person requirement for the learner. You can select one of the following three course types:

MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) – Typically delivered for free using a pre-existing popular MOOC platform (up to £30k)
Online Training – Paid for learning content that is focused on equipping Scottish Industry with the data science training they need (up to £30k)
MOOC and Online Training – A combination of 1 and 2. This could be a MOOC with additional paid-for advanced learning content that meets the data science training needs of Scottish Industry. Here is an example. (Up to £50k)

If you are interested, please complete and submit the online Expression of Interest form at The Data Lab web site. You must submit your completed application form by 17:00 on Monday 13th February 2017.

Before submitting your Expression of Interest please read our application guidance.

Further online guidance on how to build a MOOC can be found online thourgh many different sources. Here are some examples that might be useful from The University of Glasgow, The University of Edinburgh and Nature.com.

This article is based on a piece at The Data Lab web site here