Research Excellence Framework 2021

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) welcomes the publication of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework results.  The THE world university rankings table for the UK has also been recalculated on the basis of the 2021 REF and is published today.  For SICSA institutions:

  • 45% of research was world-leading (4*) and 43% internationally excellent (3*).
  • Over 90% of impact is judged outstanding or very considerable.
  • Overall SICSA departments were responsible for over 15% of high-quality research in the UK.
  • Over 70% of Scottish-based researchers entered in REF 2021 are working in Departments that have improved their THE ranking in a competitive and active discipline.

Stuart Anderson (SICSA Director) said:

“The REF 2021 results confirm the strength of Informatics and Computer Science in Scotland with a significant majority of researchers working in departments that have improved their overall ranking.  That SICSA departments contribute 15% of the high-quality research in the UK clearly demonstrates again that Scotland punches far above its weight in the discipline. Scotland has great strengths in this key area for our economy and society. 

This is a tremendous achievement on the part of the staff across all our Scottish departments, my congratulations to all involved in the continuing success of Informatics and Computer Science research in Scotland”.


SICSA Conference 2022 – PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland- Deadline Extended

As part of the SICSA Conference in the last two years, we have established the SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland, inviting submissions from our vibrant research student community in order to celebrate ground-breaking research across Scottish Institutions. Chris Cummings (University of Edinburgh) was the winner in 2020 and Ryan Gibson (University of Strathclyde) was the winner of the Award in 2021.

Our commitment to support and showcase the work of PhD students is continuous and we are thrilled to invite submissions from doctoral researchers from all Scottish Institutions. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to present their work in person at the SICSA Conference 2022, taking place at Glasgow Caledonian University on the 28th & 29th June 2022.

The ultimate winner will receive a prize of £2,000 (in vouchers) sponsored this year by Arista; all shortlisted candidates will receive a £50 voucher and a certificate.

Selection Criteria:

The award is intended to recognise and honour outstanding research and exposition in Computer Science. 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 July 2021 to 11th May 2022 are eligible. The date of the viva or final thesis acceptance date can be treated as the completion date.

Nominations should include:
  • Copy of dissertation.
  • Nominating statement from an advisor (2 pages max) 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.
  • One letter of support (2 pages max). 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.
  • List of publications contributing to thesis.
  • Suggested award citation if the candidate is selected. This should be a concise statement of no more than 200 words.
Deadline for submissions:
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.

SICSA Data Science Research Theme – Call for Research Grants is now closed

We had a fantastic response to the SICSA Data Science Research Theme – Call for Research Grants.  The call is now closed.  Thank you to those who submitted applications, we will be in contact with your shortly to let you know the outcome of your application

The SICSA Data Science Theme invites proposals to support Data Science research across Scottish Universities to carry out research activities completed by 31 July 2022. We support the following activities:

  • Travel/networking  (max £250);
  • Face-To-Face Event Organization, including workshops and presentations, for funding toward catering or speaker travel (max £250);
  • Online events/Webinars Organization (max £250);
  • Computational resources  including cloud credits (max £500); and
  • Other small grants to support specific Data Science projects (max £500).

These smaller applications will be considered shortly after being submitted, and we aim to have a decision within a week. The closing date for this call is 27 April 2022, at noon.

We also sponsor two larger grants for the following activities:

  • Studentship, including research visit or extension to existing PhD (max £1000); or
  • Data set curation, including collection and processing (max £1000).

These larger grants will be awarded on merit. The closing date for this call is 11 April 2022, at noon.

There is no restriction on the topics, but we encourage applications to research into new Data Science related areas and those that are difficult to find funding elsewhere. Evidence of attempts to find additional or alternative funding would be considered a strength. Proposals that demonstrate value-for-money will be preferred.

For more information on the Data Science Theme please click here. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Data Science Theme leaders, Yashar Moshfeghi and Stewart Massie. If you need help organising an event, please contact Anastasia Fliatoura.

SICSA Data Science Small Grants Application Form


Logic4Peace: fundraising online Logic event for Peace

Logic4Peace  (Fundraising online Logic event for Peace)

Friday 22 and Saturday 23 April 2022

Venue: Online (information will be provided to registered participants)

Call for Abstracts:
Logicians participating in this conference stand united for Peace. The on-going Russian military invasion in Ukraine is causing death, destruction and it is the direct cause of a gigantic humanitarian crisis. Educational facilities have been hit, supply chains have been broken and people have lost their families and homes. By organizing this conference, we offer our moral and financial support to our colleagues in Ukraine in this time of war.

This event is used to collect financial aid for two specific causes:

  • We financially help our colleagues at universities in Ukraine, who are either displaced or have lost their homes, and thus are in urgent financial need.
  • We support the charitable fund ‘Voices of children‘ which provides humanitarian aid and assists in Ukraine with the on-going evacuation processes.

As the world urgently needs more logic and rationality, Logic4Peace creates a platform for logicians from around the world to present their work in any area of logic, including:

  • philosophical logic, philosophy of logic and history of logic,
  • mathematical and computational logic,
  • applied logic and logical structures used in science and the humanities.

Abstracts should be short, maximum 1 page or 500 words, not including the references and can be uploaded in PDF format via easychair by 11 April 2022 (9AM Central European Time).

We welcome participants from all nationalities to submit an abstract. We welcome new ideas as well as on-going work and reports about already published results.

The registration page for this conference is estimated to open on 31st March, please check our website. The registration fees will be entirely used to offer financial aid to Ukraine to help our colleagues and the Voices of Children. We also invite academic institutions and organizations to sponsor this online logic event.

On behalf of the Organization of Logic4Peace. 

SICSA Education Learning & Teaching Scholars Programme

Early to mid-career colleagues involved in teaching Computing Science and related subjects at SICSA member institutions are invited to apply for the SICSA Education Learning & Teaching Scholars programme.

The Scholars programme is designed to develop and support early-to-mid career CS academics with a focus on education. Successful applicants will take part in a series of online and in-person activities to develop their scholarship, culminating in the presentation of an idea that can be taken forward into a publication. Please see below for an indicative schedule.

The programme will also include an online workshop on Learning & Teaching leadership, delivered by an experienced external partner. In addition, Scholars will be assigned a mentor, with whom they will meet a minimum of twice over the course of the programme. At the end  of the programme, Scholars will be invited to write about their experience for the SICSA Education blog.

Applications from academics on Learning & Teaching contracts are particularly welcome. If you’re not sure if this is right for you, or if you have any questions about the programme, please contact our Director of Education, Dr Matthew Barr.

Apply here:


28 March 2022Applications open
22 April 2022Applications close
29 April 2022Scholars announced
Week beginning 9 May 2022Speed networking event for scholars (online)
20 May 2022Mentors assigned
Week beginning 6 June 2022Presentations and groupwork (in-person)
28/29 June 2022Network launch at SICSA Conference, including scholar introductions
September 2022L&T Leadership Workshop (online)
Week beginning 2 December 2022Final poster presentations (online/in-person TBC)
January/February 2023Scholar blog posts published.

Computing Science and Informatics Student Survey – March 2022

Tech Start-Ups and the Scottish Tech Ecosystem – A role for Scottish Universities and SICSA

Students of Computing Science, Informatics and related subjects are invited to participate in a short survey about support for students forming start-ups while they are at University.  This survey will be used to help inform SICSA’s* strategy for supporting technology entrepreneurship within Scottish Universities, as part of our response to the Scottish Government’s review of the Tech Ecosystem in Scotland (“the Logan Review”, 2020).

Participation is optional and can be anonymous.  Completing the survey will take approximately 5 minutes.  Results will be aggregated into a report to be shared with SICSA, its partners and funders. There will be further opportunities to participate in a focus group on this topic.

Please complete the survey here:

The survey is open from 12pm, 9th March – 12pm 1st April 2022


SICSA HCI Sustainable Challenge Fund

The SICSA HCI Theme is proud to announce the 2022 HCI Sustainable Challenge Fund. This fund intends to bring together researchers involved in work surrounding the UN Sustainable Development Goals that involve HCI methods and thinking. We anticipate that this fund will be helpful for researchers interested in running a series of events that will culminate in larger, multidisciplinary research applications.

In this first round, we anticipate funding a maximum of two challenge bids and have £3,000 to support this. Funding can facilitate a series of events linked to a specific challenge theme, and we would encourage applicants to be creative in their approach to this. We also encourage applicants to reach outside of the HCI theme and find collaborators from other academic areas that would add value to their application.

The first round of this funding closes on Friday, 29th April. We will communicate decisions to applicants by 13 May, and all budgets must be spent by the end of July 2022.

Any applications should follow the SICSA Research Theme Event Sponsorship Guidelines.

Applications should be made to and should detail:

The application should be a maximum of 2 sides of A4 paper and should detail:

  • The team involved in the bid (including affiliations),
  • The specific UN Sustainability Goals that the work links to, and how the work promotes these goals,
  • An outline of events planned as part of the Challenge Fund,
  • A brief breakdown of costs for the application

Potential applicants can send any questions surrounding the 2022 HCI SCF Fund to Mary-Ellen Foster  and Michael Crabb.

SICSA AI Research Theme – Call for Small Research Grants

The SICSA Artificial Intelligence Research Theme invites proposals to support Scottish AI researchers in carrying out research activities over the summer of 2022. We anticipate applications for three types of activities (or a combination):

  • Travel/networking (max £250)
  • Equipment including cloud credits (max £500)
  • Studentship (max £1000)

While there is no restriction on the topics, we encourage applications to research into new AI-related areas and those that are difficult to find funding for. We are particularly keen to support proposals that also align with the emerging SFC challenge areas of:

  • Future Health and Wellbeing
  • Tackling the Climate Emergency and the Just Transition to
    Net Zero
  • Transition to a Sustainable economy

Projects can also be topped up by host institutions. Total funds are limited so we will have a preference for projects that show good value for money, and we don’t expect to award more than 2 summer studentships.

The closing date for this call is 29 April 2022.

Please send questions on the scheme to Dimitra Gkatzia and Sandy Brownlee.

SICSA AI Small Grants Sponsorship Guidelines.

SICSA AI Small Grants Application Form.

SICSA and EIT Digital Boost Scottish European Student Exchange Programme


SICSA and EIT Digital partner to deliver Scottish Funding Council Saltire Scheme

Scotland & Brussels, March 2nd, 2022:

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) have partnered with EIT Digital to deliver on a £75k SFC investment in renewing and strengthening Scottish – European research collaborations.

The “Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme” is part of a £6.75m Programme funded by the Scottish Government to support international and EU activity and collaboration including boosting support for international research collaboration and talent attraction, increase scholarship offering to include EU students and support the effective use of alumni globally.

SICSA, in partnership with EIT Digital, has been awarded funding within the Saltire Scheme to reinforce and build new research partnerships while developing individual researchers’ networks with European partners across the Computer Science discipline. The scheme will fully fund incoming and outgoing exchanges of up to six months to both enhance the training experience for PhD Students and support Early Career Researchers in developing their networks and collaborations across Scotland and Europe.  The partnership leverages the reach of EIT Digital’s extensive network across Europe in research intensive institutions and SICSA’s strong network of partnerships across Scottish Computing Science.

Professor Stuart Anderson, Director of SICSA said “Informatics and Computer Science researchers in SICSA do have strong and vibrant links with researchers across Europe.  However, BREXIT has had a severe cooling effect on funding channels because of complex and protracted negotiations on funding.  The Saltire awards give our PhD students and Early Career Researchers an immediate boost in reinforcing existing and building new collaborations.  These will form the foundations of new long-term collaborative research across the EU.”

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Higher and Further Education said: “I am delighted to see funding under the Saltire Emerging Research Scheme has enabled this partnership between SICSA and EIT Digital. This partnership has increased the reach and opportunities for exchange and collaboration for both Scottish and European researchers, to help them deliver a better digital future.”

Morgan Gillis, EIT Digital’s UK director, commented that: “EIT Digital is very pleased with the take-up of its programs in Scotland and delighted to be deeply involved in the international development of Scotland’s digital economy across a range of sectors. We much appreciate our close collaboration with Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council as strategic partners in making this success possible.”

Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council, said: “Forging strong international links is a crucial part of maintaining and enhancing Scotland’s world-class reputation for research and innovation. The Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme is therefore an incredibly important investment in the future. The partnership between SICSA and EIT Digital demonstrates the energy and commitment that will make the scheme a success for everyone involved. I am sure all those taking part in the SICSA/EIT Digital exchanges will benefit considerably from the experience.”    

EIT Digital in Scotland is funded by our partners Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. We are also supported by Highlands & Islands Enterprise, FinTech Scotland, Edinburgh Innovations and University of Edinburgh.

Press notes

EIT Digital’s Satellite Office, opened in Edinburgh in April 2019 by Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee, has maintained strong progress within its remit to deliver impact to Scotland’s national digital economy with €6m of new investment to commercialise innovative new digital  products and the launch of three Scottish doctoral programs focussed on Fintech, Privacy and 5G/Future Wireless Communication – all domains of national strategic importance.

SICSA is a Research Pool, funded by the Scottish Funding Council and 14 partner Universities to promote collaboration in research, teaching and knowledge exchange across its partner Universities.  It is part of Research and Innovation Scotland that brings together all of the Scottish Research Pools and Innovation Centres to cooperate on multi-disciplinary challenges.

Contact details for:

EIT Digital:


New SICSA Research Theme Co-Lead for Data Science

We are delighted to announce Dr Stewart Massie, Robert Gordon University commenced in the role of the Data Science Research Theme Co-Lead today taking over the role from Professor Mike Chantler, Heriot Watt University.

Stewart is currently a Reader in Computer Science at Robert Gordon University working in the Smart Information Systems group with the School of Computing.  He has been heavily involved in SICSA in the early years with the SMART Tourism initiative and was a regular exhibitor and attendee at our annual DemoFest events.  Stewarts vision for the role as Research Theme Co-lead is to work closely with Dr Yashar Moshfeghi (current Co-Lead) to broaden the Data Science research theme’s impact within the academic environment and more widely with other potential stakeholders by encouraging the research to be more applicable, transparent and accessible.

Stewart is succeeding in the role by Professor Mike Chantler, Heriot Watt University who has been instrumental in leading /co-leading the Data Science Research Theme over many years.  Mike remains very involved in SICSA and the SICSA Directorate would like to express our huge thanks and gratitude for his support, hard-work and loyalty over the years.