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.

ScotCHEM 2020 Computational Chemistry Virtual Symposium

SICSA is pleased to inform you that the ScotCHEM 2020 Computational Chemistry Virtual Symposium will take place on 26 August 2020 and all SICSA members are invited to attend.  The event is hosted by the University of Strathclyde

The Plenary Speaker is Prof. Adrian Roitberg, University of Florida and his talk will be “Is Quantum Chemistry Amenable for Machine Learning? Are the Computers Coming for Our Jobs

The full program can be accessed at https://www.scotch-research.com/compchem2020-program

The deadline to register is 24th August.  Full details of the event can be found here: https://www.scotch-research.com/compchem2020 

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

Now recruiting SICSA Research Theme Leader(s) in Networking & Systems

Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to lead/co-lead the SICSA Networking & Systems 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 SICSA Directorate informally regarding the role please contact Tim Storer, SICSA Deputy Director & Director of Knowledge Exchange.  Alternatively, you can contact one of our current theme leaders for some insight into the role.

Further details of the role can be found on the N & S Theme Leader Job Description.

To apply, please complete the N & S Theme Leader Application form and send it to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by 31 August 2020.

SICSA PhD Peer Support Network

Doing a PhD can be challenging: whether you have to accommodate tight deadlines, deal with paper rejections, your experiments are not working, or you’re simply having a bad day. This is why it is important to look after yourself and your peers.

With the aim to support PhD students and their mental health throughout Scotland, SICSA is setting up a PhD peer support network and is looking for volunteers to get involved. This network would provide (online) drop-in sessions for students to meet up, discuss and share issues or worries with their peers and get support. The session would be run by PhD students after completing a Mental Health Awareness online training course. This course lasts 3.5 hours, spread over two days, and is fully funded by SICSA. The course is designed for everyone, whether you have prior knowledge about mental health or not, and most participants enjoy it very much. While this course will not prepare you to become a mental health professional (e.g., a counsellor), it will provide a good understanding of the issues that may arise from poor mental health and how to address them.

This emerging peer support network builds upon experiences gathered through a peer support system within the University of Glasgow. In the past year and a half, we have been running weekly PhD Support Groups, built on trust, respect, and compassion. This helped us to create a safe space where we could listen to fellow PhD students’ experiences, provide information about different aspects of the PhD life and programme (or suggest who might know more about a specific issue), and tell our peers where to get appropriate help in case of a mental health crisis. Before we embarked on this journey, we also attended a training course, where we learned what mental health is, how to protect your own and other people’s mental health, how to recognise when a person might need help, and the best way to approach them. We found that the skills taught in this course helped us to support our friends and colleagues, but were also applicable within our own daily lives.

If you would like to know what the first steps towards helping others are and how to put your knowledge and skills into action, please register your interest by sending an email to admin@sicsa.ac.uk.

SICSA Conference 2020 Infrastructure Competition

The SICSA conference in October 2020 is moving online and we want to make it an exemplar of what can be achieved.  Many large scientific conferences are moving online, see for example: https://medium.com/@kording/how-to-run-big-neuro-science-conferences-online-neuromatch-io-49c694c7e65d a description of a successful online neuroscience conference.  We think we should be able to do (much) better. 

So, we are throwing this open to the wisdom of the SICSA graduate academy crowd by holding a competition to identify candidate approaches to running the SICSA conference online.  The details are: 

  • Task: We want you to create a demo site for a SICSA-like conference.  So your approach should be able to support talks, workshops, discussion rooms etch and in addition you should give consideration on how to support informal interactions around the conference.  You should also have good arguments to support the scalability and robustness of your proposal.  You can use any combination of solutions you feel are effective in providing a congenial environment for the SICSA conference. 
  • To participate: Register your interest and team from the SICSA Graduate Academy by emailing admin@sicsa.ac.uk    
  • Submit the URL of your demo site to admin@sicsa.ac.uk before midnight on Friday 28th August 2020  
  • Judging: In the week following the submission, the SICSA Directorate will test drive the demo sites and decide on the prizewinner.  The prizewinning demo will be a strong candidate for our final approach to the virtual SICSA conference. 
  • DeadlineFriday 28th August 2020  
  • Prize for the best demo: £500 (in vouchers) 

If you have any questions or require clarification please email Aileen.Orr@sicsa.ac.uk. 

SICSA Conference 2020 PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland

We are excited to announce the SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland, in partnership with ScotlandIS  Winners will be announced at the SICSA Conference 2020, which is being held together with ScotSoft 2020 on 1st October.  Shortlisted candidates, all those selected for an honourable mention, will be invited to present their work at the SICSA Conference. The ultimate winner will receive a prize of £2000 (in vouchers); all shortlisted candidates will receive a certificate.

Selection Criteria:

The award is intended to recognise and honour outstanding research and exposition. Specifically, to be considered for this award, the dissertation should:

  • make an original and noteworthy technical contribution; and
  • have a high-quality exposition accessible to a general computer-science audience.

Eligibility:

All doctoral dissertations with a focus on Computer Science and Informatics successfully completed in the period 1st August 2019 to 31st July 2020 are eligible. The date of the viva or final thesis acceptance date are acceptable as a completion date.

Nominations should include:

  1. Copy of dissertation.
  2. Nominating statement from an advisor limited to 2 pages addressing why the nominee’s dissertation should receive this award. This should address the significance of the dissertation, not simply repeat the information in the abstract. Nomination must come from the advisor; self-nomination is not allowed.
  3. One letter of support limited to 2 pages. The supporting letter should be from an expert in the field (for example, the external examiner) who can provide additional insights or evidence of the dissertation’s impact. (The nominator/advisor may not write a letter of support.) If a letter writer is supporting more than one nomination, they may be asked to rank those nominations.
  4. List of publications contributing to thesis.
  5. Suggested award citation if the candidate is selected. This should be a concise statement of no more than 200 words.
  6. Deadline for submissions: Friday 14th August 2020

Review process:

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee consisting of senior researchers in Computer Science and Informatics and chaired by the SICSA Graduate Academy Director.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact admin@sicsa.ac.uk.

SICSA Conference 2020 Logo Competition

SICSA is a collaboration of 14 Scottish Universities, promoting international excellence in University-led research, education, and knowledge exchange for Scottish Informatics and Computer Science.

This year, SICSA will hold its flagship conference on the theme of Future Sustainable Societies, with contributions from within SICSA and the wider research pooling community.  To showcase the strength of research in Scotland, talks will be given by both established and future research leaders about their cutting-edge research, education and impact work.

The conference will be held in partnership with ScotlandIS alongside their flagship ScotSoft event on the 1st October 2020, creating multiple opportunities for cross-over and networking. The programme of the conference will consist of keynotes, workshops, PhD Lightning talks, networking with academics and industry, and will involve participants from across Scotland’s Computing Science and wider research community.

SICSA Conference Logo

In order to highlight this event, the SICSA Conference Organising Committee have decided to provide an opportunity for a new logo to be designed to represent the SICSA Conference 2020. This should, at a minimum, incorporate the existing SICSA logo (versions can be accessed at: https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/about-us/resources/) incorporating a key visual representing Scotland’s computing work, community and interdisciplinary.

If you would like your logo to be considered, please submit a vector file to admin@sicsa.ac.uk by the 30th June 2020. The logos will be evaluated by members of the conference committee, and the winner will be announced on Friday 3rd July.

The winner’s logo will be used on the conference website and throughout the conference proceedings. The winner will be named “logo designer” on the conference website and associated materials and will receive £200 (in vouchers) as prize money.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact admin@sicsa.ac.uk.

 

Funding call from SICSA….with more flexibility for online collaboration support

The SICSA Funding call for June is now open! The SICSA Directorate understand that plans need to change to reflect the current circumstances relative to COVID-19.  We realise that workshops, events, symposiums, visiting fellows and research exchanges cannot take place in person at this time and therefore this funding call will be open to all proposals to support online collaboration activities.  We have temporarily updated our funding guidelines to provide details and examples of funding requests; please note you are not restricted to these examples so do get in touch if you require clarification or have additional ideas to support virtual collaborative activities.

The Directors are confident that temporarily deviating from our usual funding guidelines we can still support the agreed outcomes of the SICSA Award:

  • A Scottish informatics and computer science base that is internationally competitive and improving its international reputation and standing in the world;
  • Value created for the Scottish economy and society;
  • Access to excellent learning experience and support for students and early career researchers

Please visit the SICSA Funding page for more information on our funding opportunities and email admin@sicsa.ac.uk if you have any questions.

New funding call: Support for Remote Collaboration Activities

The SICSA directors recognise that the transition to remote working has likely created obstacles to the conduct of normal research collaboration activities, such as the hosting of in-person workshops and seminars.  To respond to this, SICSA invites applications for funding to support remote collaboration activities.

Funding can be used to support intra and inter-theme or pool research collaboration activities that require remote working and communication.   Examples include, but are not restricted to:

  • Charged subscriptions to collaboration tools or services, such as instant messaging or software repositories.
  • Software as a service costs to host collaboration software directly.
  • Hosting online research and knowledge exchange seminars and events.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal please complete the very short form here and email it to admin@sicsa.ac.uk by one of the deadline dates below.  You will receive a decision within four working days of receipt of the proposal.

The next deadlines for this call is 30 June 

If you have any questions relative to this call please do get in touch at admin@sicsa.ac.uk