SICSA Research Scholar funding supported PhD student, Andrew, to attend the SoRAIM Winter School in France this month.

By Andrew Blair

29 February 2024


My name is Andrew Blair, and I am a first year PhD Student in Computing Science at the University of
Glasgow. My research seeks to explore how we can facilitate human-robot interaction through
dialogue in public spaces. More specifically, I seek to overcome the limitations of speech recognition
in noisy environments, by using a combination of novel hardware and software techniques.
The SoRAIM Winter School was organised by the SPRING Horizon 2020 project. This is a consortium
of universities across Europe & partner countries working to develop an assistive robot to be
deployed within a hospital in France. The winter school seeks to cover the domain of Social Robotics
& Artificial Intelligence, and since both are key aspects of my research, I decided to apply for the
school and was accepted. The speakers included the researchers working as part of the SPRING
project as well as external invited academics. The plenary sessions were very closely aligned with my
research. Topics such as ‘Speaker Localization’ and ‘Autonomous Robots: From the lab into the wild’
were very informative, and seeing the difficulties faced when taking robots outside of a controlled
environment highlighted the wide range of factors that need to be considered when doing such

A poster session was held where I had the opportunity to present my preliminary work and to be
able to discuss it with my peers and academics alike. These discussions have inspired me to explore
new directions and resulted in potential collaborations with other researchers working in the same
area. I also had the opportunity to participate in two hands-on workshops on the final day; detailing
how to integrate LLMs into chatbots and speaker extraction from multi-person audio. Both of these
sessions were really useful as they solidified the theoretical knowledge we were given earlier in the

I would like to thank SICSA for supporting my attendance at the winter school. It has allowed me to
connect with not only leading researchers in my field but also fellow PhD students and early career
researchers, and these new relationships will help me in the future. I hope to take what I
have learned and put into use throughout the rest of my doctoral research.

With SICSA Research Scholar funding, PhD Student Bilyana, joined a Research Workshop collaboration on the theme of content in Berlin.

By Bilyana Palankasova

21 February 2024


During the last days of January and the first week of February 2024, I had the absolute pleasure of starting off my year by participating in the annual research workshop organised by the Centre for the Study of the Networked Image at London Southbank University, the Digital Aesthetics Research Centre at Aarhus University and the Berlin-based festival for art and digital culture transmediale. The theme of this year’s workshop was content/form and drew on the larger theme which transmediale was exploring – content.

My interest in being a participant in the workshop was two-fold. Firstly, as a PhD researcher working in the field of art, technology and digital culture, I was excited to work collaboratively with other early career researchers working in adjacent areas. Secondly, my PhD research is concerned with festivals of art and digital culture, and I’m particularly interested in discursive curatorial and programming forms (i.e. workshops) and how they make festivals a para-academic cultural space for the production of new knowledge and discourses. With these two interests at heart, I was excited to receive a place on the workshop and to have a chance to engage with this wider community.

The workshop took place 29-31 of January and one of its main objectives was the launch of a collaboratively produced publication exploring methods of working, writing, referencing and publishing which are alternative to traditional academic ones. While looking to challenge conventional research development, we also engaged with the social and technical conditions of sustainable research practices, particularly its mechanisms of sharing, reviewing, and its infrastructure. To this end, our research and resulting publication was based on an experimental platform and publication tool – “wiki4print”. By using Media Wiki software and web-to-print techniques, wiki4print attempts to challenge academic workflows and traditional hierarchical roles within institutional knowledge production.

Wiki4print is part of a larger infrastructure for research and publishing, “ServPub”, a feminist server and tools developed and facilitated by grassroot tech collectives In-grid, Systerserver, and Varia/CC. ServePub is a network of servers which uses a VPN with a reverse proxy that makes it accessible on the public internet and wiki4print is one server in this network hosting the wiki from which our publication was produced. ServPub’s wiki4print portable raspberry pi server was plugged into the network at Haus der Kulturen der Welt where the workshop took place.

After three intense days of researching, presenting, thinking and critiquing each other’s work, the participants finalised their contribution in the form of 500 words of research sketches and proposals published on the wiki. Then the wiki was turned into a newspaper via web-to-print techniques by Manetta Berends and Simon Browne. The produced newspaper was printed in 2000 copies and was launched and presented at transmediale festival on 3 February at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

The minor tech conditions of the workshop, along with the convivial and non-hierarchical ways of working, created a unique entangled research apparatus of technological infrastructure, cultural systems, human researchers, old and new ideas, html and css, and many cups of coffee. The resulting publication weaves a rich and diverse narrative of content/form exploring “the horror of content” through a trans-disciplinary lens and drawing on science and technology studies, philosophy, art theory, image politics, and multi-species commoning amongst other areas of research, to probe the technological, political and cultural impact, limitations and potentials of our troubled relationship to content. Amongst many fascinating speculations, my research considered art documentation in the context of proliferating visual content on social media. I proposed a reading of art documentation on Instagram feeds as an example of cultural innovation following Boris Groys’ theory of innovation.

After the workshop and the presentation of our contributions and outcomes at the festival, all participating researchers are invited to develop their research into a full academic paper to be considered for publication in the next issue of APRJA journal, published by Aarhus University.


‘It has been invaluable in my academic journey’, With SICSA Research Scholar funding, Jiawei attended and presented at HICSS in Hawaii.

By Jiawei Zheng

6 February 2024


I am a final year PhD student from School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. I was delighted to share and present my work on Alignment-based Conformance Checking over Probabilistic Events in 57th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) from the 2nd to 6th January in Honolulu.

About the conference 

The Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) is a prestigious (ranked A) information system conference. This conference boasts a wide-ranging scope that encompasses areas from computer science and information technology to systems, and extends into sectors like healthcare, electrical engineering, software engineering, etc. Particularly noteworthy is the business process technology mini-track, which presents a unique and regular occasion for meeting and collaboration within the fast-expanding global community dedicated to Process Mining. This mini-track of the conference consistently draws the interest of leading talents and renowned researchers worldwide, making it a hub for innovation and scholarly exchange in the field.

Highlight of my HICSS participation

Given the unique fit of the mini track scope to my work, I had the exciting opportunity to present my research in an oral presentation. In this research, I extend alignment-based conformance checking to function under a probabilistic event log. I introduce a custom threshold parameter to control the level of confidence on the event data vs. the process model. The resulting algorithm considers activities of lower but sufficiently high probability that better align with the process model. The resulting algorithm considers activities of lower but sufficiently high probability that better align with the process model.

This novel contribution to conformance checking in the context of probabilistic events attracted significant interest and sparked lively discussions among attendees. The conversation opened avenues for exploring future research directions, indicating the potential impact and interest my work has within the community. This experience not only increased my confidence in presenting and discussing my research but also inspired new ideas and established a foundation for potential future collaborations.

I deeply appreciate the funding support provided by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA), whose financial support has been invaluable in my academic journey.


‘The visit allowed me to contribute to future best practice standards in DEM, perfectly aligning with my research.’ Read about SICSA student’s visit to SWGDE in Boulder, Colorado.

By Belinda Onyeashie

19 January 2024


I am a second-year digital forensics PhD candidate at Edinburgh Napier University. My research focuses on improving digital evidence management (DEM) to provide reliable evidence trails and timelines for law enforcement. I was thrilled when my request to attend the SWGDE meeting was approved. The mission of the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) is to foster cooperation and ensure quality and consistency across the forensic community by developing interdisciplinary guidelines and standards. Specifically, SWGDE brings together members from law enforcement, academia, and industry to formulate best practices for recovering, preserving, and examining digital evidence.

The Meeting 

The SWGDE meeting was focused and collaborative. There were about sixty participants-twenty-three guests and members. We separated into groups based on expertise: Audio, Forensic, Imaging, Photography, Quality & Standards, and Video Committees. I joined the Forensic Committee, which creates guidance documents on digital forensics best practices. They develop comprehensive documents on technical topics related to digital evidence collection, preservation, and analysis.

The visit allowed me to contribute directly to future best practice standards in DEM, perfectly aligning with my research.

It was valuable to connect with experts from academia, government, and industry. The wealth of knowledge and connections are priceless. As one of only two PhD students approved among twenty-three guests, I was able to contribute alongside supportive and
collaborative longstanding stakeholders who are actively evolving with the field.

My group completed seven documents for publication and has four in progress, with promising topics proposed for the future.


This trip and invaluable experience gained would not have been possible without SICSA’s generous financial support for travel to Boulder, Colorado. I am grateful to SICSA and hope to support them in whatever capacity I can, both now and in the future.

‘The conference was thrilling…’, Read more about SICSA Research Scholar funded student’s experience at NeurlPS2023 in New Orleans

By Lorenzo Loconte

4 January 2024

I am a PhD student researching Machine Learning at the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics. This year, I was delighted to hear the news that one of my papers had been accepted as an oral presentation at the 37th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2023) in New Orleans. Attending the conference has been an enriching experience, as it not only gave me the opportunity of presenting my work, but also allowed me to meet other researchers and collaborators.

About the conference

NeurIPS is a major international conference covering research advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. As such, it was the perfect venue for me to submit my work. In my research area, having a paper accepted at NeurIPS is a remarkable achievement, as it is currently the largest conference in my field in terms of attendees and submitted papers. The program of the conference was thrilling, as it included many invited talks, poster sessions and workshops, as well as the possibility of interacting with the industrial sector.

Presenting my research

Given the relevance of the conference to my research field, I was flattered by the idea of presenting my paper in a talk. This year, oral presentations account for about 0.6% of valid paper submissions, which makes presenting my research at the conference an important milestone. As a PhD student, I could not miss this opportunity in my early-stage career.

During the conference, I gave a talk about my work and exhibited it at the poster sessions (see the photo above). This experience also allowed me to be exposed to a high number of research topics and fresh ideas.


As a PhD student, seeking funding can be daunting sometimes, and funding initiatives are essential. I am very grateful to the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) for supporting me financially on this journey.

SICSA funding allowed student to attend the 14th ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing in Santa Cruz, USA

By Tong Xing

16 November 2023

As a third-year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, I recently had the chance of participating in the 14th ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing in Santa Cruz, USA. This event proved to be an extraordinary journey, filled with learning and networking opportunities.

Presenting My Research 

One of the highlights of the conference trip was the presentation of my work, “Maximizing VMs’ IO Performance on Overcommitted CPUs with Fairness.” Sharing my findings with a knowledgeable audience provided invaluable feedback and perspectives, enhancing the depth of my research.

Learning from Peers

The symposium was a melting pot of ideas, with leading researchers from the field of cloud computing presenting cutting-edge studies. These presentations offered a wealth of new insights, outlining current trends and future directions in both industrial and academic areas. The exposure to such pioneering work was not only educational but also inspirational.

Networking and Discussions

One of the most enriching aspects of the conference was the opportunity to meet professionals and academics from various countries and esteemed institutions. Engaging in discussions on diverse research topics, I sought advice for my future topic and shared viewpoints upon different research directions, which was incredibly stimulating. The chance to step outside my usual social and academic circles to exchange ideas with such a varied group was both enlightening and exhilarating.

Gratitude and Reflection 

This experience, generously supported by SICSA, was more than just an academic exercise. It was a journey of personal and professional growth. The knowledge gained, the new friendships formed, and the diverse perspectives encountered have profoundly motivated me to pursue my research with renewed vigor.

SICSA Supporting the Launch of the Edinburgh University School of Informatics Computer Science Education Group

By Cristina Adriana Alexandru and Felipe Costa Sperb

14 November 2024

On the 4th of October 2023, a team of academics from the University of Edinburgh, led by Felipe Costa Sperb and Cristina Adriana Alexandru, launched the School of Informatics Computer Science Education (CSE) Group. This event, sponsored and endorsed by SICSA, aimed to enhance the visibility of the group, attract prospective members, initiate conversations on Computer Science Education topics, and create opportunities for networking.
The CSE Group has the mission to inspire and to bring together staff and students with an interest in Computer Science Education from the University of Edinburgh, as well as from other universities in the UK and beyond. The aims of the CSE group are:

  • To enhance knowledge and practice of Computer Science Education by keeping abreast of advancements in this field;
  • To guide teaching practice by sharing practical experience and research evidence from the Computer Science Education community;
  • To conduct research linking pedagogical theory and advancements with evidence-informed practice;
  • To engage and collaborate with other related groups in the University of Edinburgh, in the UK and more widely;
  • To disseminate research and findings from practice to impact Computer Science Education in the University of Edinburgh and beyond.

The launch event was organised as a mini-conference style. The agenda was as follows:

  • 10:45 AM – Opening note: Welcome and Introduction to the CSE Group, by Felipe Costa Sperb (University of Edinburgh)
  • 11:00 AM – Keynote presentation: Evaluating the Sense of Belonging of Undergraduate Computing Students in the UK and Ireland – An Invitation to Collaborate, by Catherine Mooney (University College Dublin), Brett Becker (University College Dublin), and Fiona Mcneill (University of Edinburgh)
  • 12:00 PM – CSE presentation: Providing Students Opportunities to Learn about Accessibility and Designing for Inclusion, by Aurora Constantin (University of Edinburgh)
  • 12:40 PM – Closing note: Membership of the CSE group, Closing Notes and Discussion, by Cristina Alexandru (University of Edinburgh)
  • 1:00 PM – Closing celebration: Networking Reception and Lunch

The organisers are thrilled to report that the launch event of the CSE group was a success. It yielded several noteworthy outcomes, each contributing to the advancement of the group’s mission and impact. The event registration page attracted substantial interest, resulting in a large number of registrations and attendance not only by peers affiliated to the University of Edinburgh, but also from other distinguished universities in the UK and Ireland, including University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of St Andrews, University College Dublin, and Technological University Dublin. This extensive network expansion has opened up exciting opportunities for research collaboration, dissemination and knowledge exchange, fortifying the CSE Group’s standing in the academic community. It also led to the doubling of the group’s membership (originally consisting of the organisers and a few colleagues from the School of Informatics), and the welcoming of the group’s first associate member intake coming from the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow, and University College Dublin. This increase in membership highlights the appeal and relevance of the group’s initiatives and activities. The Keynote Session showcased successful research in Computer Science Education, providing valuable practical insights for peers embarking on research in this field. It also served as a call to action for evaluating student sense of belonging in higher education. Finally, the event had a significant impact on promoting awareness of the pivotal role that Computer Science plays in improving accessibility and inclusivity in education and the workplace.

The organisers are very grateful for SICSA’s considerable support and endorsement! Following the success of the launch event, the CSE group has been very active in planning an exciting future to keep advancing on its mission and aims. Key initiatives include the implementation of a regular schedule of Teaching Hours events (featuring talks from CSE group members and guest speakers on different Computer Science Education topics), members’ meetings (to provide members with a space to foster networking, knowledge exchange, and opportunities to get involved in advancing the group’s mission), and the formation of research sub-groups based on the different research interests of our members.

If you would like to learn more about the CSE group or become a member to join us in sharing knowledge and practice, inspiring and shaping the future of Computer Science Education, get in touch with us at:

Thank you SICSA for helping me “open the way for future partnerships”

by Nick Louloudakis
23 October 2023

My name is Nick Louloudakis, and I am a 3rd-year Informatics PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh. Last September, I had the privilege to present my work, “Fault Localization for Buggy Deep Learning Framework Conversions in Image Recognition” at the 38th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), a top-tier conference on software engineering and automation, held at Kirchberg, Luxembourg.

I am grateful for the support I received from SICSA, which covered my registration costs. For me, attending and presenting at an event such as ASE, was a fantastic experience. In particular, I had the chance to widen my knowledge about the cutting-edge research in software engineering automation, by attending keynote talks and presentations of world-leading scientists in my area of research, coming from top institutions and companies, such as IBM Research and Google, to name a few.

In addition, I had the unique opportunity to discuss and network with a vast number of researchers working on a variety of research topics, both similar and different to the topic I currently focus on. This helped me consider additional aspects in the direction of my research, and it broadened my horizons to think of potential expansions of my work, as well as opened ways for future collaborations with people I met at the conference.

In terms of the presentation of my work, it was a great success, as it received a number of thoughtful questions and the audience found it quite interesting. In addition, I received follow-up communication from scientists working in the same field with me, opening the way for future partnerships.

As I increase in seniority in my PhD studies, I am enthralled to have the opportunity to publish my work in world-class events, but also meet new people, network and live new experiences, and I am really appreciative that SICSA supported me in this direction.
Thank you.

“it was an unforgettable experience” Read how SICSA research scholarship funding helped support student’s attendance at the CIX23 Summer School

by Songpei XU
12 July 2023

As a senior PhD student at the University of Glasgow, I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the Human-Computer Interaction related summer school CIX23 at the University of Michigan in the U.S. It was an unforgettable experience. During the course of my studies, I presented my work to HCI researchers from all over the world and learned about the research directions and fields of PhD students from other universities such as Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, etc. This gave me some positive impact.

In addition, the rich curriculum of the summer school not only gave me the opportunity to interact with famous professors and scholars in the field. I also learned new knowledge from their lectures and courses. These have given me new ideas and thoughts about my research.

During the summer school, I met some interesting people and we had deep discussions about our research, PhD studies, life, and future directions and future developments of AI. It was really exciting to be exposed to the ideas of people outside my social circle and with different education. I am sure we will also connect, learn from each other, and stay in touch with each other in our future research and studies.

I am very grateful for this opportunity and for the support I received from SICSA. The experience of attending the summer school not only expanded my knowledge, but also gave me new insights into the development of the industry and I have a new group of friends. This is the motivation for me to continue my research.

SICSA support to attend CHI 2023

by Cristina Fiani
02 May 2023

As a first-year PhD student at the University of Glasgow, within the social AI CDT, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend for the first time one of the biggest international conferences of human-computer interactions-CHI 2023 in Hamburg-with around 4000 attendees. It was a truly enriching experience that I will never forget. I had the chance to present my CHI LBW poster about automated moderation to improve child safety in social Virtual Reality (VR) “Big Buddy: A Simulated Embodied Moderating System to Mitigate Children’s Reaction to Provocative Situations within Social Virtual Reality”, which was a fantastic opportunity to share my research, receive feedback, and engage with other professionals in the field.

The conference was full of inspiring talks and presentations by other researchers, covering a wide range of topics from social VR to AI to innovations in education and mental health. I gained new insights and perspectives that will be invaluable as I continue my research. In addition to this, I met many fascinating people and had some great discussions, which I believe will help me as I progress in my research.

I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I would like to thank SICSA for supporting me. Attending conferences like these is crucial for the development of any researcher. The experience has not only expanded my knowledge but also provided me with a sense of community and inspiration. I am eager to continue my research and contribute to the field.