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 (S.Anderson@ed.ac.uk)

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 Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk no later than 27th June 2021.

SICSA Conference 2021 – PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland

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; 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:

30 June 2021

Email: admin@sicsa.ac.uk

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.


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 admin@sicsa.ac.uk), 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

The Coffee Break at RIS

Research and Innovation Scotland are pleased to announce the launch of The Coffee Break @ RIS – an on-going opportunity to participate in short, informal online conversations with researchers in other disciplines from across RIS. 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.

The Coffee Break @ RIS facilitates short online calls between researchers in different fields from across the disciplines represented within RIS. We don’t place any expectations on the conversations. Our aim is to make taking the opportunity to talk as straightforward and painless as possible. To minimise the impact on time, each one-to-one meetup lasts just 15 minutes – no longer than it would take to queue to use the coffee machine. The RIS team will coordinate the matching of participants from across disciplines and scheduling of meeting time and online meeting room.

To participate, just fill out the very short application form.

If you have any questions or would like some more information please get in touch with Tim Storer (SICSA KE Director on behalf of RIS)

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.

SICSA Education: Call for Presentations “Lessons from Lockdown” Event – 29th April

The educational landscape has seen a major shift over the past 12 months. As the world starts to heal, it is important to reflect on what worked and what did not, so we can provide new insights into ways of helping both students and educators move forward and ensure efficacy in teaching/learning.

SICSA Education will host an online event on the 29th April, and we would welcome people talking about their experiences. At this stage we would welcome any presentation which you can propose via this form, that can relate to the theme “Lessons from Lockdown”. These could include (but are not limited to) delivering, assessing and managing CS education in online or dual modes, supporting student learning and wellbeing, accessibility of CS education, etc.

Presentation timings will be confirmed following acceptance, but each talk is expected to last 10 – 15 minutes.

Submission deadline: 26th March
Registration opening on the 5th  April.
Contact: Mark Zarb, Debbie Meharg

Research Methods Summer School – Spring into Methods 2021

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, in partnership with the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, is excited to announce that applications for Spring into Methods 2021 is now open.

The Spring into Methods programme brings together arts, humanities and social science doctoral researchers from across Scotland and offers sessions providing an interdisciplinary and in-depth approach to learning a specific research method. These interdisciplinary workshops are open to all doctoral researchers aligned with SGSAH, SGSSS, SOCIAL AI or SICSA at member HEIs.

Eight workshops will be running as part of Spring into Methods between Tuesday 06 April and Friday 21 May 2021:

Applications are open via Social at 9am on Monday 15 February and close at 5pm on Monday 01 March.

Registered with Social.

If you have any questions regarding this scheme then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Mike Crabb.

Announcing our new Research Theme Leaders

Artificial Intelligence Research Theme

On 1st January 2021, we welcomed Dr Dimitra Gkatzia, Edinburgh Napier University, to the position Co-Leader of the SICSA Artificial Intelligence Research Theme.  The research theme will have a further change in leadership in April this year when Dr Sandy Brownlee, Stirling University will also commence as joint Co-Lead and will work alongside Dimitra in directing and driving the AI Research Theme forward.  We are thrilled to have Dimitra and Sandy as the new theme leaders; both have been closely involved with SICSA in the past and we look forward to working with them going forward.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Professor Emma Hart, Edinburgh Napier University, and Professor Helen Hastie, Heriot Watt University the outgoing AI Theme Leaders.  Both Emma and Helen have been instrumental in driving the AI theme forward in this time of change including their input and SICSA representation with Scotland’s AI Strategy. We thank them both for their hard work and commitment to SICSA over the years.

Networking & Systems Research Theme

Dr Jeremy Singer, University of Glasgow, also joined us as the co-lead of the SICSA Networking and Systems Research Theme from the 1st January 2021 and with Dr Paul Patras, (University of Edinburgh), will be responsible for shaping and directing the Networking & Systems Research Theme as well as providing a national representation for the theme area.

Welcome to our new Director, Professor Stuart Anderson

We are very pleased to confirm that Professor Stuart Anderson from the University of Edinburgh has been confirmed as the Director of SICSA.   Stuart took over from Professor Aaron Quigley on an interim basis but was confirmed in post by the SICSA Committee in December last year and will now lead SICSA through the transitional period of the Research Pools.  When informed that his appointment had been confirmed by the SICSA Committee Stuart said, “I am delighted to have been chosen as SICSA Director.  In these challenging times the research pools are a tried and tested way to act across the entire community and to link with other research pools to tackle recovery and development out of the pandemic.  I feel privileged to contribute to the development of SICSA’s role in Scotland’s economy and society.”

Stuart previously held the position of SICSA Director back in August 2014 and we are so pleased to have him back.