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.


SICSA Cyber Security 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 Cyber Security 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 and 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 Theme Leaders Job Description.  If you would like to speak to the current Theme Leaders about the role please get in touch with Dr Karen Renaud and/or Dr Deepayan Bhowmik.

To apply, please complete the Cyber-Security-Co-Lead-Application-Form and send to by 6 August 2021.


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 Conference 2021 – PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland – Deadline extended

Last year, as part of the SICSA Conference 2020, we launched the 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. We were excited to receive a number of high quality submissions and we were very proud to present the work of the shortlisted candidates at the Lightning Talks session and announce Chris Cummins (University of Edinburgh) as the winner of the Award.

As our commitment to support and showcase the work of PhD students is continuous, we are thrilled to invite again submissions from doctoral researchers from all Scottish Institutions. Shortlisted candidates, will be invited to present their work at the SICSA Conference 2021. The ultimate winner will receive a prize of £2000 proudly sponsored by Amazon Development Scotland; all shortlisted candidates will receive a certificate and amazon vouchers of £50.

 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 2020 to 30th June 2021 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:

16 July 2021


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.


The Coffee Break @ RIS

Join us again for another Coffee Break @ RIS, an on-going opportunity to participate in short, informal online conversations with researchers in other disciplines from across Research Innovation Scotland.

Working across disciplines is notoriously difficult in ordinary circumstances. Currently, we don’t have those opportunities for fortuitous encounters that happen in the coffee break – the kind of conversations that can, just sometimes, lead to something really interesting.

Who can participate?

Any researcher (academic, postdoc, PhD student) from any of the RIS research pools and ICs.


Just fill out the very short application form.

Do you need more information?

Get in touch with Tim  Storer (SICSA KE Director on behalf of RIS).



SAGES COP26 Workshop Steering Group – Call for Volunteers

Applications are invited from PhD students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to serve as SICSA’s representative on a interdisciplinary steering group for an ECR-led workshop as a side event at COP26.

Most people are probably aware of COP26 to be held later this year. The Scottish research community is naturally participating in various ways. The different research pools are planning an interdisciplinary event focused on early career researchers and their perspectives, and to promote climate research engagement in research and society.

This is a great opportunity to engage in important societal goals of climate science, and interact with peers from a variety of disciplines. The initial concept paper led by SAGES (Geography and Environmental Sciences research pool) is attached.

Please send us your expressions of interest (to, covering:

  • your background and research interests;
  • your vision for what should be emphasised in this steering group,

in a max one page application.

Deadline for applications
24 May 2021

Survey participation request: Educational Landscapes During and After COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has forced an unprecedented global shift within higher education in the ways that we communicate with and educate students. This necessary paradigm shift has compelled educators to take a critical look at their teaching styles and use of technology. Computing is a subject which, traditionally, focuses on experiential, in-person activities. COVID-19 has mandated that educators reconsider their use of student time and catalysed overnight innovations in the educational setting.

We are an international group of researchers investigating this impact, as members of Working Group for ITiCSE 2021, and how it will affect computing education as we transition to a post-pandemic setting.

This project invites all computing educators, from institutions of all levels (university, college, high school), to complete this survey, and/or share it across your networks.

This survey is completely anonymous and gathered data will only be used for the purpose of research. All questions in the survey are optional, and there is no impact for submitting an incomplete survey. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the working group leads, Dr. Angela Siegel and Dr. Mark Zarb.

Participation is voluntary and completely anonymous. If you do choose to participate, please expect to spend roughly 17 minutes completing this survey.

Link to the survey:

If you have any ethical concerns about your participation in this research, you may also contact the Director, Research Ethics, Dalhousie University at (902) 494-1462, or email: If you do, you may cite our research project REB file #2021-5647.

Please direct questions or comments to: Dr. Angela Siegel  (Dalhousie University); or Dr. Mark Zarb (Robert Gordon University).


New Funding Call for PhD students to attend conferences

With most national and international conferences currently being held on-line due to the pandemic, SICSA is taking the opportunity to open a new funding call which will allow PhD students, currently studying in a SICSA institution, to apply for the cost of the registration fees for a virtual conference.

If there is a specific Conference you are interested in attending and, it is in line with your research you can apply for funding for the registration fees.  There is no deadline for proposals to be submitted.

For more information and details of how to apply, please see the SICSA Funding Page

AI Research Theme: SICSA XAI Workshop 2021- 1st June 2021 – Call for Papers

The use of AI and ML systems is increasingly becoming more commonplace in everyday life. In everything from recommender systems for media streaming services to machine vision for clinical decision support, intelligent systems are supporting both the personal and professional spheres of our society. However explaining the outcomes and decision-making of these systems remains a challenge. As the prevalence of AI grows in our society, so too does the complexity and expectation surrounding the ability of autonomous models to explain their actions.

Regulations increasingly support users rights to fair and transparent processing in automated decision-making systems. This can be difficult when the latest trends in data-driven ML systems, such as deep learning architectures, tend to be black-boxes with opaque decision-making processes. Furthermore, the need for accountability means that pipeline, ensemble and multi-agent systems may require complex combinations of explanations before being understandable to their target audience. Beyond the models themselves, designing explainer algorithms for users remains a challenge due to the highly subjective nature of the explanation itself.

The SICSA XAI workshop will provide a forum to share exciting research on methods targeting explanation of AI and ML systems. Our goal is to foster connections among SICSA researchers interested in Explainable AI by highlighting and documenting promising approaches, and encouraging further work. We expect to draw interest from AI researchers working in a number of related areas including NLP, ML, reasoning systems, intelligent user interfaces, conversational AI and adaptive user interfaces, causal modelling, computational analogy, constraint reasoning and cognitive theories of explanation and transparency.

Visit the SICSA XAI Workshop 2021 website.

Call for Papers

The SICSA XAI Workshop Organisation Committee would like to invite submissions of novel theoretical and applied research targeting the explainability of AI and ML systems. Example submission areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Design and implementation of new methods of explainability for intelligent systems of all types, particularly highlighting complex systems combining multiple AI components.
  • Evaluation of explainers or explanations using autonomous metrics, novel methods of user-centered evaluation, or evaluation of explainers with users in a real-world setting.
  • Ethical considerations surrounding explanation of intelligent systems, including subjects such as accountability, accessibility, confidentiality and privacy.

More information on submissions.

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline: May 6th 2021
  • Notification Date: May 20th 2021
  • Camera-Ready Deadline: June 1st 2021
  • Workshop Date: June 1st 2021

Registration and Information.

We are recruiting for the Director of the SICSA Graduate Academy

We are pleased to announce that we are now recruiting for a new Director of the SICSA Graduate Academy.  Applications are welcome from any suitable member of academic staff working at a SICSA member institution.

The SICSA Graduate Academy (SGA) is an international graduate school in Informatics and Computer Science. All Informatics and Computer Science PhD students who are registered with a Scottish University are members of the Graduate Academy and can participate in SICSA activities without charge. The SGA is coordinated by the Graduate Academy Director, with support from the SICSA Executive.

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

If you would like to speak informally about the role, please contact the SICSA Director, Professor Stuart Anderson (

Director of the SICSA Graduate Academy Job Description
Director of the SICSA Graduate Academy Application Form

Please submit our application, along with a current (summarised) CV to no later than 27th June 2021.