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 Conference 2021 – PhD Skills Workshops: 13 September @ 16.00 – 17.30

Visit our Conference web-site:

16.00 – 16.30, Plenary Session: Keeping Mentally Healthy

Doing a PhD can be lonely at times, but COVID has intensified the isolation and uncertainty experienced by PhD students.  The SICSA Universities provide support through counselling, mentoring and other mental health services.  But, at the moment these services are in heavy demand and access and provision are disrupted by COVID.  The SICSA PhD Peer Support Network provides additional support from within our PhD community.  In this plenary session the network will outline what it does, how to access it and how we can all contribute to our mental health.


16.30 – 17.30 – A choice of streams:


Coping with Covid: adapting your project to work during COVID

Based on a survey of attendees (please complete the survey), this session looks at how covid has affected PhD project plans and explore how people tackled the disruption caused by COVID.  The session will look at concrete examples of problems with PhD projects caused by covid, what people did about them and how the changed project plans have worked out.

Panel members:

  • Sarra Graja, Abertay University
  • Arturas Straizys, University of Edinburgh
  • Miruna Clinciu, Heriot-Watt University
  • Kyle Simpson, University of Glasgow
  • Amel Attatfa, Abertay University
  • Matteo Capucci, University of Strathclyde


Working across disciplines as a research student

Research programmes and funding schemes are increasingly challenge led and interdisciplinary. Research students play a critical role at the frontline of these projects. This panel explores research student experience of working across disciplines, including both the benefits and challenges.



The Endgame: Writing Up and the Viva

PhD students are familiar with the end goal: typically, a thesis examined by viva. This session will consist on two presentations which will outline expectations and best practices within this end stage: 1) how to write a coherent thesis, and 2) how to take control of the viva process. Each presentation will last about 25 minutes, with up to 10 minutes for questions and facilitated discussion.

Session Speakers:

  • Prof Tom Kelsey, University of St Andrews
  • Dr Graham Kirby, University of St Andrews
The event is free to attend and you can register via eventbrite

SICSA welcomes Dr Andrei Perovski as its new SGA Director!

We are delighted to let you know that we have appointed our new SICSA Graduate Academy (SGA) Director.  Dr Andrei Perovski, Robert Gordon University commenced the role as SGA Director of 1 August 2021 taking over from Dr Susmit Sarkar.

Andrei is a Reader in Computation Systems and holds the role of Research Student Coordinator at Robert Gordon. He has been active in SICSA in previous years and will continue the existing work that the Graduate Academy has been doing.  As well as overseeing the SGA funding programmes, his focus will be to promote industry placements and enhance our links with industry, continue to develop research ethos and culture across the pool and encourage active participation through organising PhD activities.

When informed of the decision to appoint him to the role, Andrei said “I am delighted and honoured to get appointed to the SICSA GA Director post during the challenging, but exciting, times of change in post-graduate research and education caused by the pandemic and gradual recovery from it. Together with other SICSA Directors and members of staff, I will endeavour to explore new and to enhance existing opportunities to benefit the community of post-graduate researchers in Scotland and beyond

Andrei is joining SICSA at an exciting time of Research Pooling and we are looking forward to working with him in shaping the future of the SICSA Research Pool.

The SICSA Directors would like to pass on a huge thank you to Dr Susmit Sarkar for his support and input to SICSA in the last few years.

SICSA Conference 2021 – New Lecturers Event

We are running a New Lecturers Event as part of SICSA Conference 2021. The Event itself (13th September, 4pm, online) will consist of a panel aiming to answer FAQs from new staff, as well as a session inviting all new lecturers introduce themselves to the wider community (3-5 minutes), and then end in an informal breakout session with more experienced colleagues.

Whilst everyone attending SICSA Conference is welcome to attend the session, we would like to ask new lecturers who wish to take part in the quick-fire introduction to let us know by signing up here: by the 6th September, to allow us to finalise our schedule for the Event.

Due to the pandemic, people will have many different understandings of what a ‘new lecturer’ is. It could be someone starting in October 2021, or someone who started in March 2020 but had no chance to experience on-campus teaching. To that end, the quick-fire presentation slots are open to all new members of staff who started teaching in a Scottish institution from 2020 onwards.

New Lecturers Event organisers:

Dr Mark Zarb, SICSA Education Director

Dr Debbie Meharg, SICSA Education Champion, Edinburgh Napier University

Dr Bedour Alshaigy, SICSA Education Champion, University of Aberdeen

SICSA Conference 2021: Registration Now Open!

Registration is now open for the SICSA Conference 2021!  The event will be taking place virtually on 13th & 14th September (notionally based at the University of Dundee) using the online platform Ohyay.

The Scottish Informatics & Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) Conference has been an annual event since SICSA began in 2008. This year the focus will be on Sustainability & Resilience. We have a full schedule of Keynote Talks, Skills & Education Sessions, Panel Sessions, a showcase of cutting edge research from Scotland’s Centres for Doctoral Training. Our colleagues from the Research Innovation Scotland (RIS) will be joining us for an interesting interdisciplinary panel discussion between the Scottish Research Pools and Innovation Centres.

Following the success of last year’s SICSA Best Dissertation Award we are delighted to confirm that Amazon Development Centre Scotland will be supporting us again this year for the 2021 Award

 The event is free to attend and you can register now via Eventbrite

Nuffield Research Placements – Poster Prize

SICSA is proud to be sponsoring this year Poster Prizes for the students participating in the Nuffield Research Placements (NRPs).

Nuffield Research Placements (NRPs) are engaging, real-life research or development projects, where talented year 12 (or equivalent) students are placed at the heart of a UK host organisation. They are a fantastic opportunity for students to apply skills and knowledge learned at school while providing a meaningful contribution to the work of researchers and industry professionals, in order to:

  • Develop subject understanding alongside research and quantitative skills to expand career prospects.
  • Learn more about higher education and different career paths.
  • Enhance UCAS personal statements and applications to university. An independent evaluation has shown Nuffield Research Placements increase access to university courses in STEM subjects.

At the end of the placement students are expected to submit a research report and conference poster.

SICSA Conference 2021 – Careers Fair

The annual SICSA Conference is the showcase event for the Scottish Informatics and Computing Science Alliance, attended by academics, early career researchers and postgraduate research students from across Scotland.  This year, the conference will take place online using the ohyay platform, running from lunchtime on the 13th of September through to the following afternoon. The conference will comprise an exciting mix of keynotes from leading researchers, showcases of cutting-edge research from Scotland’s Centres for Doctoral Training, as well as tutorials and skills sessions for our participants.  We are also running the SICSA Best Dissertation Award for the second year which is being sponsored by Amazon Development Centre Scotland. 

 This year the conference will also feature a virtual Careers Fair and we are inviting tech recruiters from across the public and private sector to participate, gaining access to postgraduate computing research talent from across the fourteen Scottish universities. 

The opportunity to participate is aimed at technology focused recruiters seeking to recruit graduates and interns into their organization. Our research students offer a unique perspective, equipped with a research mindset and key technical skills from the wide range of rapidly advancing fields in computing, including robotics, augmented reality, cloud computing and virtualization, next generation networks, machine learning, AI and data science. 


The Careers Fair will take place online throughout the two days of the conference. We offer: 

  • Virtual exhibition space for your organization. 
  • Passes for up four representatives to attend all conference sessions throughout the two days. 
  • Your organization’s logo featured across on the conference platform, conference publicity and our extensive social media network. 
  • Complementary advertising space for up to 20 job vacancies and placements for 12-months on the SICSA web site; and support in circulating your advertisements across the Scottish Computing community.  
  • Participants given frequent opportunities to visit recruiter chat rooms during coffee and lunch breaks and whilst dipping in and out of the main sessions. 

The cost to exhibit at the SICSA PhD Conference Careers Fair is £400 (+VAT). 

About SICSA 

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

We represent approximately 800 PhD students, 800 MSc students and over 5K undergraduate students studying Computer Science. 

Get in touch 

To book your space at the SICSA PhD Conference Careers Fair, please contact: 

 Aileen Orr (SICSA Executive Officer) 



SICSA Distinguished Visiting Fellow Seminar Series

Professor Enrique Alba of University of Malaga will be visiting Robert Gordon and Stirling Universities during July and August 2021.

During his visit to Scotland, Professor Alba will give three talks open to all SICSA members. These will all be held virtually due to ongoing COVID restrictions. Attendance can be booked for free through the links in the table below.

Date Event Title Host and Event Link
Weds 28th July Seminar:

Perspectives on Evolutionary Computing: Achievements and Challenges


Robert Gordon University


Weds 4th August Seminar:

Intelligent Systems for Smart Cities

University of Stirling



Weds 11th August Digital Subsea Workshop: Industry Optimisation for Net Zero Robert Gordon University



Prof. Alba will be physically visiting both universities during the period and can be available for individual academic exchange with SICSA academics and in particular research students in the area of optimisation and learning. Please contact the organisers for availability.

Short Bio

Prof. Enrique Alba had his degree in engineering and PhD in Computer Science in 1992 and 1999, respectively, by the University of Málaga (Spain). He works as a Full Professor in this university with varied teaching duties: data communications, distributed programming, software quality, and also evolutionary algorithms, bases for R+D+i and smart cities, both at graduate and master/doctoral programs. Prof. Alba leads an international team of researchers in the field of complex optimization/learning with applications in smart cities, bioinformatics, software engineering, telecoms, and others.

In addition to the organization of international events (ACM GECCO, IEEE IPDPS-NIDISC, IEEE MSWiM, IEEE DS-RT, smart-CT…) Prof. Alba has offered dozens postgraduate courses, more than 70 seminars in international institutions, and has directed many research projects (9 with national funds, 7 in Europe, and numerous bilateral actions). Also, Prof. Alba has directed 12 projects for innovation in companies (OPTIMI, Tartessos, ACERINOX, ARELANCE, TUO, INDRA, AOP, VATIA, EMERGIA, SECMOTIC, ArcelorMittal, ACTECO, CETEM, EUROSOTERRADOS) and has worked as invited professor at INRIA, Luxembourg, Ostrava, Japan, Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, and Mexico.

He is editor in several international journals and book series of Springer-Verlag and Wiley, as well as he often reviews articles for more than 30 impact journals. He is included in the list of most prolific DBLP authors, and has published 130 articles in journals indexed by ISI, 11 books, and hundreds of communications to scientific conferences. He is included in the top five most relevant researchers in Informatics in Spain (according to ISI), and is the most influent researcher of UMA in engineering (webometrics), with 14 awards to his professional activities. Pr. Alba’s H index is 62, with more than 18,000 cites to his work.


Prof. John McCall, Robert Gordon University.

Dr. Alexander Brownlee, University of Stirling.


Free event: International Cybercrime Symposium and Summer School

An International Symposium and Summer School on the theme of Cybercrime. This will be the fourth annual event in this series, hosted by the University of Strathclyde, Department of Computer & Information Sciences, and the second to be held online. The event is attended by students and academics from Canada, Finland, Germany and Scotland and an invitation is extended to other interested parties, including law enforcement and security practitioners.

The free event runs from 16th – 20th August, between 4.30pm and 7.30pm each day. (The timing is chosen to accommodate the range of international participants.)

A draft version of the programme can be downloaded here: International_Cybercrime_Summer_School_Draft_programme_2021

If you wish to attend some or all of the programme, please email Dr George Weir (Strathclyde organiser), who will provide joining instructions in advance of the event.

Call for Abstracts – UKICER Conference

Calling all Research Students – the Poster Abstract deadline for the United Kingdom and Ireland Computing Education Research (UKICER) conference has been extended!

The virtual conference this year is from the University of Glasgow on Thursday the 2nd of September 2021 and Friday the 3rd of September 2021.

The poster abstract deadline has been extended until Friday the 20th of August 2021 Anywhere on Earth (AoE) with notification of acceptance the following Wednesday, the 25th of August 2021 (AoE).

Poster abstracts are welcome from all practitioners and researchers that want to share something of interest to British and Irish educators (in a university or school setting) and computing science education researchers.

Posters represent a significant opportunity for research students, in particular to:

  • share their ideas and get feedback from the UKICER community;
  • participate in a conference and get to know research students, researchers and practitioners from across the country;
  • build confidence through presentation of poster and lightening pitch to delegates.

More information on posters and submission requirements as well as registration information (£25 student/£35 ACM/£45 Non-ACM) are on the UKICER website.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Dr. Joseph Maguire  or Prof Quintin Cutts.

We look forward to receiving your submissions and meeting you (virtually) at UKICER!