Recruiting a new Data Science Research Theme Co-Lead

SICSA Data Science Research Theme…. recruiting a new theme co-leader

 Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to co-lead the SICSA Data Science Research Theme.

 The role of the SICSA Theme Leaders is to coordinate activities within each of the defined SICSA themes and further develop coherent communities in these areas.

Research Theme leaders are taking on increasingly public facing roles on behalf of SICSA and are called upon to help shape and direct the theme but also to provide a face and national representation for their theme area.

Elements of Research Theme activities potentially have some emphasis on challenge-based research such as: Future Health and Wellbeing, Tackling the Climate emergency and the just transition to net zero, Developing the Blue Economy, Enhancing Cultural wellbeing and the creative economy, Transition to a Sustainable economy.   This provides an exciting opportunity for the new Research Theme Co-Lead to work alongside other disciplines and SICSA research themes to organise some cross-theme/discipline activities whilst maintaining core discipline activities

For more information on the role please refer to the Data Science Co-Theme Leader Job Descriptor.  If you would like to speak to the current Theme Leaders about the role please get in touch with Professor Mike Chantler (M.J.Chantler@hw.ac.uk) and/or Dr Yashar Moshfeghi yashar.moshfeghi@strath.ac.uk

More information on the role can be found on the role descriptor.

To apply, please complete the application form and send it to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by Friday 17th December 2021.

Cyber Security Research Theme has a new Co-Leader

We are pleased to confirm that Dr Jacques Ophoff, University of Abertay will be taking over as the SICSA Cyber Security Research Theme Co-Leader as Dr Deepayan Bhowmik is stepping down from the role.  Dr Ophoff will work alongside Professor Karen Renaud and continue to steer the Cyber Security Research Theme forward.

A huge thank you to Dr Deepayan for his commitment, input and time dedicated in the last couple of years as the Cyber Security Theme Co-Lead.

Join the Cyber Security Mail list

SICSA and ScotCHEM are coming together for a Speed Networking Fortnight

SICSA and ScotChem are coordinating a fortnight of short remote one-to-one calls between researchers to stimulate inter-disciplinary exchanges of research ideas and agendas.  Working across disciplines is notoriously difficult in ordinary circumstances, but the restrictions caused by the current pandemic have even further curtailed opportunities for chance encounters at conferences, or meetings that lead to fruitful collaborations. To address this, the aim of the Speed Networking Fortnight is to put researchers in touch with each other across disciplines to foster understanding of existing disciplinary research challenges and provide opportunities.

To minimise the impact on time, each one-to-one meetup will last as long as just 15 minutes – no longer than it would take to queue to use the coffee machine. SICSA and ScotChem will coordinate the matching of participants from across disciplines and scheduling of meeting times, as well as a follow up to document any interesting outcomes. The initiative is open to any researcher (academic, postdoc, PhD student) from either pool.

To participate, just fill out the very short application form here:  https://form.jotform.com/203174064600343 .

If you have any questions or would like some more information please get in touch with Tim Storer (SICSA KE Director) and/or Alan Wiles (ScotCHEM Director of Operations)

SICSA Artificial Intelligence Research Theme…..recruiting a new Co-theme Leader

Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to co-lead the SICSA Artificial Intelligence Research Theme.

Role Purpose

SICSA is the Scottish Funding Council Research Pool in Informatics and Computer Science.  The goal of SICSA is to cohere the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science research communities to help increase critical mass and to enable cooperation in research, teaching and Knowledge Exchange.

The role of the SICSA Theme Leaders is to coordinate activities within each of the defined SICSA themes and further develop coherent communities in these areas.

Research Theme leaders are taking on increasingly public facing roles on behalf of SICSA. For example, our current AI theme leaders are part of the government strategy group developing a national AI strategy for Scotland. While another team leader is currently considering Co-chairing a large event with business here in Scotland on behalf of SICSA. Theme Leaders are called upon to help shape and direct the theme but also to provide a face and national representation for their theme area.

For more information on the role please refer to the AI Co-Theme Leader Job Descriptor.  If you would like to speak to the current Theme Leaders about the role please get in touch with Emma Hart and/or Helen Hastie

To apply, please complete the AI Co-Theme Leader application form and send to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by 11 December 2020

 

SICSA Conference 2020

We are delighted to announce that the SICSA Conference 2020 will take place, on-line on 1 October 2020 and will be under the theme SICSA and the Sustainable Society.

The conference this year will be co-located with ScotSoft, which is Scotland’s leading tech conference allowing our delegates to access elements of the event throughout the day.

For this year’s conference we have prepared a rich and varied schedule addressing the many challenges presented by the idea of a future Sustainable Society. We are delighted to have Dr Elizabeth F. Churchill (UX Director, Google) and Professor Sally A. Fincher (School of Computing Science, University of Kent) as our Keynote Speakers.

You will have the chance to hear about issues and challenges encountered in Computing Science Education, discussed at the Education Panel Session. Excellent exemplars of graduate research across SICSA will be presented from the shortlisted candidates for the SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation during at the PhD Lightning Talks session.

We have invited participation from our partner research pools across Scotland, allowing us to bring together a large community of people to discuss the Computing and interdisciplinary challenges ahead. The SICSA Research Themes will show case research that demonstrates cutting edge computing research and its potential to address the Sustainable Society Challenge.

We have inaugurated a new award for Best PhD Thesis in Scotland at the Conference this year and the winner will receive a prize of £2,000 generously sponsored by Amazon Development Scotland.

Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic the Conference this year will be held online, allowing us to increase our audience and have invited speakers from far and wide. The Conference will be open to all members from across the SICSA institutions, industry partners and all SICSA key stakeholders

Visit the SICSA Conference 2020 website to find out more and register your interest to attend the event.

Now Recruiting for SICSA Research Theme Co-Leader in Human-Computer Interaction

Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to co-lead the SICSA Human-Computer Interaction Research Theme.

Role Purpose

SICSA is the Scottish Funding Council Research Pool in Informatics and Computer Science.  The goal of SICSA is to cohere the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science research communities to help increase critical mass and to enable cooperation in research, teaching and Knowledge Exchange.

The role of the SICSA Theme Leaders is to coordinate activities within each of the defined SICSA themes and further develop coherent communities in these areas.

Research Theme leaders are taking on increasingly public-facing roles on behalf of SICSA. For example, our AI theme leaders are part of the government strategy group developing a national AI strategy for Scotland. While another team leader is currently considering Co-chairing a large event with business here in Scotland on behalf of SICSA. Theme Leaders are called upon to help shape and direct the theme but also to provide a face and national representation for their theme area.

If you would like to speak to the current Theme Leaders about the role please get in touch with Martin Halvey and/or Mary Ellen Foster

Please see the full HCI Research Theme Co-Leader job description for more details of the role.

To apply, please download and complete the application form and send to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by 30 September 2020

SICSA Funding Call Now Open

We are pleased to announce that the Scottish Funding Council has awarded us further funding to continue the Scottish Informatics & Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) research pool until July 2021

We now have a new series of funding calls open with increased support across our research themes with the aim to extend and expand our links with other research pools (SUPA/SULSA/SINAPSE etc.) and with the Scottish Innovation Centres https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/

To support students in SICSA, we have a new program of SICSA Research Scholars to undertake studies and/or research via Summer/Winter Schools attendance and/or research visits.

For staff, SICSA can support, Academic and Research Distinguished Visiting Fellows from Academia or Industry, Research Theme Event Sponsorship, Postdoctoral and Early Career Researcher Exchanges (PECE), our European Leaders Programme and Education Event Sponsorship.  Full information on the funding opportunities can be found at https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/.

The next deadline is April 30th, and we welcome applications for Research Theme Events which connect between SICSA themes or connect SICSA to other research pools.

Submissions with commitments of matched funding from other research pools or innovation centres are strongly encouraged.  Some of these events might aim to explore grand challenges while other events might focus of emerging research.

Student attends the International Conference on Intelligent Robots with the help of SICSA

by Èric Pairet, Heriot Watt University
25 November 2019

Last week, I attended the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) organised by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Robotics Society of Japan (RSJ). IROS is one of the top conferences world-wide were scientists gather to present and discuss the state-of-the-art on robotics.

This year’s IROS edition was held in the majestic Venetian Macao, Macau, China. The conference consisted of a series of workshops, technical sessions and keynotes that lasted for a total of five days. I presented in one of the technical sessions my most recent research entitled “Learning Generalisable Coupling Terms for Obstacle Avoidance via Low-dimensional Coupling Terms”, which was received with great enthusiasm and admiration by the attendees. I received many interesting technical questions and got engaged in multiple discussions about my work which may help me to improve my future research. The conference received a total of 2,513 papers, a 44.8% from which were accepted for presentation.

Besides the learning experience in this type of events, the networking opportunities are incomparable. Overall, I would rate this experience as unique and would totally recommend it, especially for those interested on keeping on with state-of-the-art technologies and methods in robotics. Attending IROS conferences offers a unique opportunity, not only to new researchers but also to experienced academics to share ideas and get valuable feedback.

Thanks to SICSA I was able to attend and present my work in such a prestigious conference where I could share experiences as a researcher and get valuable advice on how to pursue my future career.

SICSA funds student to attend the European Summer School in Information Retrieval (ESSIR)

by Vasileios Stamatis
29th July 2019

The European Summer School in Information Retrieval (ESSIR) is a summer school for Information Retrieval and has been taking place since 1990 and the last few years it has taken by every two years.  The ESSIR 2019 took place in Milan, Italy, in the University of Milan-Bicocca. Myself and many other students from all over the world attended this summer school. For attending this summer school I was funded by SICSA. I wouldn’t be able to attend if SICSA hadn’t funded me for this summer school.
The summer school organised by the Information Retrieval Laboratory (IR Lab) at the University of Milan Bicocca and the Information Management Systems (IMS) research group at the University of Padua. The main focus was Information Retrieval (IR) courses and related research topics.

The first day started with some interesting courses about Information Retrieval as interaction in general, what it is and some main concepts such us offline vs online vs user-study evaluation etc. Then we learned about approaches in research. It was great to learn how to succeed in the PhD journey, how to choose a research area and how to approach research in general. The last 2 courses were about evaluation, we learned how important evaluation for IR and Research is in general and we also learned tasks and existing work in the evaluation field.
The second day started with user oriented IR and its foundations. We learned all these different IR models and the most significant contributions to the field. Also, we learned about experiments and how to approach an experiment and what factors are important during an experiment. Finally, machine learning and its approaches to IR were discussed, learning to Rank and Neural nets were the hot topics; and future research directions on the field.

The following day in the morning, the courses were about scalability in IR in which we learned about indexes and the importance of scalability in efficiency in web search engines. Then we learned about social media and how they are used to gather data and convert data to real knowledge. In the afternoon the Future Directions in Information Access (FDIA) presentations took place. It was great to hear presentations from colleagues and learn about their work, and have discussions afterwards.
Thursday started with medical IR and then recommender systems and after that we had a discussion about the summer school in general….what we liked and did not like and what should be included in the next summer schools. Then we discussed about IR in general, core skills, background, and internships in order to succeed. In the afternoon we had the FDIA poster session and I had the opportunity to present a poster. It was very helpful discussing, explaining and exchanging ideas about our work with other students and researchers as well. It is extremely helpful to make new connections by discussing our work. I met many people and I also learned about future events that I wouldn’t know otherwise.

The last day there were two courses, one of which was about task based IR systems. We learned about modelling search behaviours, inferring intents, how to evaluate such systems etc. The last course was on Biases on search and recommender systems in which we discussed different forms of biases. #ESSIR2019 in the University of Milan–Bicocca was an exciting experience. I really enjoyed my time in the summer school. I met many students and we shared ideas and challenges about our work. Now, we have been equipped with new skills and experiences in order to continue our research journey. This wouldn’t have been possible without SICSA. Thank you SICSA for this!

Another successful exchange with the SICSA PECE Award

by Dr Milan Markovic, University of Aberdeen
10 January 2018

The PECE Travel Bursary

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be awarded the PECE Travel Bursary by SICSA, which can be used to fund visits to academic institutions in the USA, EU, India, and China. This grant is aimed at early career researchers like myself, who will gladly take the opportunity to hone their grant writing skills and broaden their professional networks.

And the interesting part?

This is not the kind of funding that would fund your travel to a conference where you have limited time for networking and always have to compete with other people eagerly trying to promote their ideas. No, this one is different. This is the opportunity to spend weeks at foreign institutions and really experience the culture and different approaches to research.

The Plan

My visits were designed to align closely with my work on the TrustLens project (http://trustlens.org) at the University of Aberdeen. TrustLens is an interdisciplinary project that adopts a socio-technical approach to explore what it means to realise Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that are transparent, accountable, and which empower end-users.

Our ambition is to create a means by which a user can review the characteristics of an IoT device in terms of its impact on their personal data, answering questions such as: What type of data is it capturing? For what purpose? Who sees it? What are the (potential) benefits and risks? They also should be able to exert a degree of control over their data, and be guided to assess its reliability and accuracy.

The overall aim for the visits was to leverage the expertise of overseas researchers and to establish a mutually beneficial forum for discussions around issues related to transparency and privacy in IoT that may lead to future collaboration.

ISI (USC), Los Angeles, USA

First stop was the famous city of angels. I am not sure if there is much to add to all the information about LA that can already be found online. However, I can confirm that LA is a unique city with its special atmosphere and sunny weather.

People at the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI) that I had the pleasure to work with are great. Highly motivated and ready to dedicate long hours of work split across multiple projects (as you would expect from a US institution). They also have access to excellent resources for research which can range from high profile seminar speakers to a real quantum computer (D-Wave) occupying half of a room somewhere in the building.

Although the name and reputation of the institute could seem a little bit intimidating to some, there is no need to worry. The atmosphere is quite relaxed yet still very productive. After being allowed to attend a few of their internal project meetings I was also happy to see that the research project culture is very similar. We had some great discussions about our work on transparency in IoT and how this might also overlap with their interests. As it turns out, finding the overlaps was easier than I thought. During the visit, we identified a number of extension requirements for a model that both of our groups use to describe plans captured in a provenance record. The extension focuses on enhancing the current version of the model with additional concepts such as constraints, agents and communication channels used to exchange data. As one would expect, whiteboards were filled with ideas, and plans for future publications were made.

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China

I have never visited China before and I must say, I was impressed. After arriving in Shanghai you have an immediate opportunity to experience a very futuristic way of travel – magnetic train. Maglev is an impressive piece of technology and when you are travelling at 430 km/h you can’t help but to wonder why the train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh has to take 2.5 hours!

Suzhou is a major city some 70 miles from Shanghai. The Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is based in its newly developed industrial area (SIP), which continues to impress with its modern buildings and good infrastructure. XJTLU is a young university founded in 2006. It has experienced a rapid expansion in recent years and the student population is rising rapidly. Its close ties with UK institutions are immediately noticeable during the first discussions with the faculty staff. Most of them spent years working in UK institutions and therefore there is hardly anything foreign about the internal system at this university which is thousands of miles away from the UK.

This visit was also very successful in terms of generating new ideas for future work. I guess, the change of environment really helps when it comes to being creative…

During this visit, discussions were more diverse and covered a range of different topics. I had a great time and learned a lot about the research environment in which Chinese institutions operate. We had some really good discussions on the potential use of machine learning to identify personal data in IoT deployments. The work will focus on designing models for capturing information about people, animals, and objects that can be observed by sensors. Inspired by the recently introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we intend to capture information that can be used to train a machine learning classifier capable of deciding whether the observations produced by an IoT system are personal or not.

I was very pleased with the plans that were put in place during the visit and although ambitious, this should be a very interesting piece of work. I have also encountered an unexpected demand for my knowledge on crowdsourcing systems gained during my PhD, which might also lead to future collaboration.

Final thoughts

Overall, both visits were a great experience that enabled me to widen my perspectives on the international research community. The interaction with researchers outside of my home institution and opportunities to engage with different types of audiences was a great experience. Change of environments also triggered new thinking processes from which fresh and novel ideas have emerged.

I would recommend this kind of experience to any early career researcher.