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: 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    
  • Submit the URL of your demo site to 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 your choice of vouchers) 

If you have any questions or require clarification please email 

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 your choice of 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.


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 31stJuly  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

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: 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 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 your choice of vouchers) as prize money.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact


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 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 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 

SICSA Update…..

A short update from SICSA……

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 outbreak all forthcoming SICSA sponsored events have been postponed.  Event details continue to be displayed on our web-site and we will obviously update these as and when the circumstances change.   If you are thinking of organising an event or workshop for the future please do have a look at our funding page

Please do remember that our funding call is still open; more details can be found at  The closing date for this funding call is 30 April 2020.

The closing date for applications for the role of Director of SICSA is 31 March; if you are interested in applying for the position but need additional time due to the changing circumstances then please do get in touch with us at   Please contact our current Director Professor Aaron Quigley if you would like to chat informally about the position.  Further information and details of the application process can be accessed at

If you have any questions about SICSA activities at this time please email

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

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

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.

SICSA PECE Funding Call for 28 February 2020

Post-doctoral and Early Career Exchanges Bursary (PECE)

SICSA is able to provide bursaries of up to £7,500 for researchers in Informatics and Computing Sciences at SICSA institutions to take part in researcher visits to Europe, North America, China and India. PECE bursaries provide research training and development opportunities for the most able postdocs and early career researchers across SICSA. Change your surroundings and experience life as a researcher in another institution; develop your network, enjoy another environment and lay the foundations for future international collaborations. It is also hoped that these exchanges will provide opportunities to build experience of international collaboration with academia and/or industry.

More information can be found on the SICSA Funding Page

Peek at success stories and how early career researchers are benefitting from the bursary at

Applications invited for the role of Director of SICSA

Director of SICSA

Applications are invited from any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution for the role of Director of SICSA.

Job 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 SICSA Director provides academic leadership for SICSA, working with the SICSA Directorate and the SICSA Executive.

Research pooling across Scotland is entering an exciting phase. Having recently released the review of pooling, the SFC are considering a number of recommendations which present opportunities for someone interested this role. You can lead and shape the foundations for the future of SICSA as we develop into a new programme for Scottish research. Anyone interesting in taking on this role should be willing to lead and work with other members of the directorate on developing a new direction for SICSA in light of a changing funding landscape

Main Responsibilities
The SICSA Director role is part-time, taking approximately 20% of the working week as follows:

  • Working with Directors and SICSA Executive to deliver activities such as research themes, researcher mobility, SICSA Graduate Academy, Education, Knowledge Exchange and other events (10%)
  • Directing and Chairing the SICSA Committee, SICSA Research Committee and SICSA Advisory Board, interacting with SICSA constituent Schools. (2%)
  • Liaison with Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and other bodies relative to the strategic direction of SICSA.  Representing SICSA on various external boards. (2%)
  • Developing overall SICSA strategy with the other SICSA Directors in the areas of research, teaching and knowledge exchange. (3%)
  • Representing and presenting SICSA at events such as DemoFest, SICSA PhD Conference, and other external events. (2%)
  • Participate in the annual Performance & Development process for the SICSA Executive Officer. (<1%)

For further information on the role and to apply please see our vacancies page


Farewell to our Director, Professor Aaron Quigley

SICSA is saying farewell to its Director, Professor Aaron Quigley, University of St Andrews who has been appointed to the position of Head of School of Computing Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Aaron has been a huge supporter of the Scottish Informatics & Computing Science Alliance (SICSA) over the years and has been personally involved in the Pool since it commenced. He was one of SICSA’s original academic appointments and has served as the HCI Research Theme Leader, SICSA Deputy Director and Director of Knowledge Exchange and since July 2019 the SICSA Director.  Speaking of SICSA Aaron said “Working with colleagues from across Scotland in SICSA has been one of the highlights of my time here. Our research themes and national activities have afforded myself and my colleagues an exceptional research environment. Access to resources and expertise across SICSA has given me a new perspective on how computing and informatics is reshaping the reality of life and how we tackle problems.

I will be forever grateful for the support I received and the access to the world leading talent here”

Whilst in his role at Director of Knowledge Exchange he led the establishment of The Data Lab Innovation Centre.  Gillian Docherty OBE, CEO of The Data Lab said “Aaron has brought great energy to the role of SICSA Director to drive collaboration across the members and partner organisations.  His focus and drive have ensured SICSA are in a great position of leading into this next period of the Research Pool Strategy and Direction.

Aaron also made a significant personal and professional investment in the creation and ongoing support of The Data Lab, a huge advocate of the importance of data to Scotland’s strength and opportunity.  He is a great loss for SICSA and Scotland, but we wish him all the very best for his new role and Australia is not that far away”

Polly Purvis, OBE, Former Chief Executive of ScotlandIS said “It’s been a pleasure working with Aaron over the last ten years, through his involvement with SICSA, the Aspekt project, the DataLab and as a member of the ScotlandIS board.  He’s a dedicated, energetic and very connected member of the academic community both here and internationally, and has worked  closely with industry, helping drive the adoption of innovation.   He’s also a great champion to have on your team and has always been generous in sharing his insights and knowledge and hugely supportive of his students and colleagues.
I shall miss him tremendously but wish him all the very best in his new role”

Aaron will be a huge loss to SICSA and Scotland, but we warmly congratulate him on his new position of Head of School at the UNSW and wish him the very best of luck in this new venture.