A Christmas Message from the SICSA Director

by Professor Kevin Hammond, SICSA Director
17 December 2018

We are coming to the end of another successful (and, of course, busy) year for SICSA, and for Scottish Computer Science and Informatics in general.  It has been a time to seize our opportunities, but also to reflect on our achievements, and to look forward to how we can shape our futures.  We are saddened, of course, that our friend and colleague, Jon Oberlander, will not be there to see all the success that he has brought about, but we know that he would be proud of the SICSA Community and how it has brought us together across Scotland.   The new Bayes Centre that Jon worked so hard to bring about will show how Computer Science and Informatics researchers can interact with statisticians, data scientists, roboticists, companies, and many others to create a new data-driven knowledge hub, with the National Robotarium showing the strength and importance of Scottish research in AI and robotics not just in a national setting, but also its leading international status.

We will have many new challenges to face in the New Year, including political uncertainty as we head towards BrExit but we will be able to build on the strong foundations that you have built.

The Cities Deals that have now been funded all across Scotland will offer fantastic opportunities to many of us to create impact through their strong focuses on all kinds of digital technologies, and the re-funded Innovation Centres will strengthen that impact and help create a global focus on Scotland as a vibrant place to do fundamental research and create new and exciting business opportunities.  The major conferences that have been organised in HCI, Cybersecurity, Data Science and other areas in 2019 will showcase Scottish research talent and excellence to the world.  We also hope to see many more Doctoral students forming the pipeline of future research leaders and innovators, funded both through the Innovation Centres, but also through the many Centres for Doctoral Training that have been proposed.   We wish you all success with these, and with your other research and academic endeavours.

With all Best Wishes for Christmas and looking forward to a successful New Year.

The SICSA Directorate and Executive Staff

Christmas message from the SICSA Director

by Professor Kevin Hammond, University of St Andrews

Firstly, may I take the opportunity on behalf of the SICSA Directorate to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a successful 2017.

As the incoming SICSA Director, it has been my pleasure to meet many of you at the various SICSA events that we have run so far, such as SICSA DEMOfest which took place at the Technology & Innovation Centre Glasgow last month, and I look forward to meeting and working with you all over my term as SICSA Director. I have been visiting individual departments and hope to get around all the SICSA institutions soon https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/about-us/our-members/

To me, the strength of SICSA lies in representing the broad reach of excellent teaching and research across Scotland, and in strengthening the connections between all our institutions and with industry, both directly and through the four Innovation Centres:  The Data Lab http://www.thedatalab.com/  CENSIS http://censis.org.uk/ , Digital Health & Care Institute https://dhi-scotland.com/ and the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre http://www.ogic.co.uk/ .  It also lies in the enthusiasm and dedication of the SICSA members (both staff and postgraduate students), and in the fantastic support that is given by our executive team.  Without you, we could not make SICSA work!  Thank you, everyone, for all you have done so far!

I am particularly pleased to see strong SICSA participation in Athena Swan across the SICSA institutions (including my own) and delighted that our own Professors. Muffy Calder (Glasgow) and Carron Shankland (Stirling) have been honoured by the MRC for their contributions to Science.  Congratulations!  This is a great endorsement of their work and an encouragement to others!

As I’m sure you know, we have just instituted exciting new research themes in the areas of data science, cyber physical systems and cyber security, and we are expanding and promoting our activities in core areas such as Theoretical Computing, HCI, AI, and Networks; more information on these can be accessed at https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/research/research-themes/ . Each of these themes will be organising meetings and events that you are welcome to participate in, has its own dedicated mailing list, and its own web presence.  Our goal is for these themes to be representative and inclusive. Thank you to all the new theme leaders who have stepped forward to represent us. SICSA also offers central support for summer schools and for short themes, offer funding for visiting fellows and for research visits, have funding to assist writing European research proposals, and we will write letters of support and provide some financial support for conferences that you organise in Scotland. These activities do not need to be connected with the main themes, of course, and are not geographically restricted. Please do take advantage of what SICSA can do for you, and please do tell us if there is anything else that we can do!  Our funding page has full information on these opportunities https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/

Finally, we have open vacancies for the SICSA Director for Education and for the Director for Knowledge Exchange. Please do consider applying yourself and please do encourage your colleagues to apply.  More information can be found on our vacancies page https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/about-us/vacancies/

I look forward to working with you in 2017.