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 https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/

Please do remember that our funding call is still open; more details can be found at https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/.  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 admin@sicsa.ac.uk.   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 https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/news/applications-invited-for-the-role-of-director-of-sicsa/.

If you have any questions about SICSA activities at this time please email admin@sicsa.ac.uk.

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 https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/

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 https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/funding/.

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 https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/blog/.

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.

SICSA announces the new Co-Theme Leader for Cyber Physical Systems

SICSA extends a warm welcome to Dr Christian Dondrup, Heriot Watt University who takes over co-leadership of the SICSA Cyber Physical Systems research theme this month.  Along with Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy, University of Edinburgh Christian will be responsible for shaping and directing the research theme as well as providing a national representation for their theme area.

The SICSA Directorate would like to pass on their thanks to Dr Katrin Lohan for her role in co-leading the theme in recent years.

For more information about the theme or to get involved in organising theme activities or events, please visit Cyber Physical Systems

 

SICSA announces the new Director of Education

We are very pleased to welcome Dr Mark Zarb, Robert Gordon University to SICSA as our new Director of Education, effective from 1 January 2020.

Mark will be a great addition to the SICSA Directorate.  He has had continuous engagement with SICSA through a number of avenues and has great vision for education within the research pool.  Mark joins us at an exciting time, following the positive outcome of the review of the SFC Research Pooling Initiative; his input to shaping the foundations for the future of SICSA will be fundamental and we look forward to working with him.

The SICSA Directors would like to pass on their sincere thanks to Dr Rachel Menzies, who served as the SICSA Education Director for the past two years.  During that time, she dedicated significant time, energy and enthusiasm to the post; thanks Rachel!

We are now recruiting for a new for Cyber Physical Systems Research Theme Leader

Applications are invited for any suitable member of academic staff within a SICSA Institution to co-lead the SICSA Cyber Physical Systems Research Theme.

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 in this theme leadership role. As part of this, theme leaders are taking on increasingly public facing roles on behalf of SICSA. For example, our AI theme leaders are now part of the government strategy group developing a national AI strategy for Scotland. While one of the Data Science theme leaders is starting to co-chair a large conference with the DataLab here in Scotland on behalf of SICSA. Theme leaders are called upon to help shape and direct the theme but also to provide a face and national representation for their theme area.

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.

Closing Date 1st December 2019

More details can be found on the CPS Research Theme Leader Job Description

To apply, please complete the CPS Research theme Leader Application Form and send to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by 1st December 2019

We are now recruiting for a new SICSA Director of Education

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

SICSA Education has a focus on enhancing collaboration across the core activities of Undergraduate and Postgraduate education provision in Scotland. The group represents common interests to government; employers; professional and practitioner organisations; and the wider education sectors. These include resourcing for University Computing programmes, secondary school qualifications, the transition from school to University, and graduate skills.

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 help shape the foundations for the future of SICSA as we develop into a new powerhouse for Scottish research. Anyone interesting 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 Aaron Quigley (aquigley@st-andrews.ac.uk).

More details on this role can be found on the Director of Education Job Description.

To apply, please complete the SICSA Director of Education Application Form and send to Aileen.Orr@glasgow.ac.uk by Friday 29th November 2019.

SICSA celebrates positive outcomes from SFC independent review

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) is welcoming the publication of a positive report on the last decade of their research, policymaking and industrial partnerships.

The full report can be found at the Scottish Funding Council.

Along with an overview of all other projects supported by the pooling initiative, the Independent Review of the Scottish Funding Council’s Research Pooling Initiative, published today (Tuesday October 1), provides an overview of the SFC’s programme to strengthen Scottish higher education by combining resources to compete more effectively on the world stage.

Along with an overview of all other projects supported by the pooling initiative, the review document and evidence presented offers praise for numerous areas of SICSA’s activities, including:

  • research theme leaders in AI’s contribution to the AI strategy for Scotland
  • sustained engagement with the trade-body and cluster management organisation for digital technologies in Scotland (ScotlandIS)
  • the establishment of the SICSA Cyber Nexus for Cyber Security

Strong representation in Scottish Computing Science education, including the Scottish Government Digital Skills: Industry – Education and Training Strategy board, CodeClan, Digital Skills Partnership and SQA Computing Qualifications steering group.

SICSA is a world-leading collaboration of Scottish university departments of computer science and informatics across 14 universities, with a base at the University of Glasgow. Since 2008, SICSA has been supported by £98m in human and capital investment from the University sector and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC)

The review highlights SICSA’s notable performance in competitively awarded research income. The Alliance generated £317m, which represents 18% of the UK total, second only to the South East of the UK’s 19%.

Professor Aaron Quigley is Chair of Human Computer Interaction at the University of St Andrews and director of SICSA. He said: “We’re delighted by the results of the independent review published today. Since it was established more than 10 years ago, SICSA has grown its membership to sustain and expand Scotland’s research excellence in informatics and computer science, and we’ve worked hard to improve the quality of research across Scotland by pooling and sharing expertise and access to resources. We also work hard to promote the transfer of research results to benefit companies and the public sector in Scotland.

“Many aspects of computing in human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence and data science were pioneered here in Scotland, and we have a world-class reputation for excellence in computing science.

“By expanding our research and improving its quality, between the national Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 and the Research Excellence Framework in 2014, our citation impact grew by over 20% while our international collaboration on publications grew by over 30%, which was amongst the highest growth of any of the research pools. Along with a 21% increase in SICSA publication activity, ahead of other regions in the UK, SICSA has developed what was already an excellent research environment and has leveraged it for national advantage, to create a vibrant university community that represents all aspects of Scottish informatics and computer science.“

Another major SICSA effort, the planning and establishment of the Data Lab, is also singled out for attention in the review. The Data Lab, established in 2013, brings together SICSA, ScotlandIS and the Scottish Technology Advisory Group and 27 companies to help Scottish industry benefit from data science.

The report notes that ‘the relationship between The Data Lab and SICSA appears to work well, aided by the fast innovation cycle time between research and industry in this space’.

Gillian Docherty OBE, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “The Data Lab which was brought to life by efforts of SICSA and other Scottish stakeholders, now has hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen, but covers academic engagement all across Scotland, and with 14 University partners.

“On a weekly basis, The Data Lab works with the SICSA team and members on activity and support which enables us to have significant and deep engagement with academia in Scotland. Our natural synergies means we can leverage SICSAs capability in terms of their networks into the breadth of the universities here, across Europe and beyond. SICSA has helped us build a world class centre in data innovation, which is delivering a step-change in the way universities work with Industry and the public sector for economic, social and scientific benefit.”

Professor Muffy Calder, Vice-Principal and Head of College of Science and Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said: “SICSA has impacted our own community of researchers, for example programs of support (e.g. PhD conference and bursaries) that began with collaborative SICSA PhD studentships, has now been extended to the whole PhD student population in Scotland. And further, the SICSA research community has supported and helped develop new government policy, for example in Computing Science Education at School and an AI Strategy for Scotland. The report represents an exciting opportunity for SICSA and the academic computer science community to play a key role in the review’s ambitious vision for research pooling in the years ahead.”

There are 96,000 people employed in the technology sector across Scotland (ONS 2017). Computation underpins the future economic success of Scotland with a 38% growth rate projected for the 5 years ahead. Per head, the technology sector generates 40% higher Gross Value Add (GVA) than for the economy as a whole, making it a considerable contributor to Scotland’s economy. Tapping into the skills base here, JP Morgan, Barclays Wealth, KPMG and Lloyds have recently announced 4,200 new jobs in the next two years alone.

Reflecting on the change SICSA has brought to the academic landscape, Dr Polly Purvis OBE, CEO  of ScotlandIS, said: “SICSA is a great ‘front door’ into the wealth of exceptional research the Scottish universities offer, enabling much easier access for industry and providing a unique mechanism to enable ScotlandIS as the membership organisation for digital technologies to liaise with all our universities in a streamlined way.”

Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of Dundee-based game development studio 4J Studios said: “The Independent Review of the Scottish Funding Council’s Research Pooling Initiative has emphasised the success of the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA). While the research income, publications and quality of work show the top market share for the discipline in the UK and Europe, it’s the change in the national technology sector we must focus on. Our world-leading Scottish universities produce the technology graduates with the skills and talent required to power our future economic success. To ensure we prepare for an evermore computationally driven economy, investment is needed to ensure SICSA forms the foundation for Scotland’s research powerhouse of the future.”

November 4th sees the 12th year of the SICSA DemoFest: Bringing Research to Life. This is the largest event of its kind in Scotland, showcasing the very best of Informatics and Computing Science research, and engaging the business community to highlight opportunities for innovation.