‘The visit allowed me to contribute to future best practice standards in DEM, perfectly aligning with my research.’ Read about SICSA student’s visit to SWGDE in Boulder, Colorado.

By Belinda Onyeashie

19 January 2024


I am a second-year digital forensics PhD candidate at Edinburgh Napier University. My research focuses on improving digital evidence management (DEM) to provide reliable evidence trails and timelines for law enforcement. I was thrilled when my request to attend the SWGDE meeting was approved. The mission of the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) is to foster cooperation and ensure quality and consistency across the forensic community by developing interdisciplinary guidelines and standards. Specifically, SWGDE brings together members from law enforcement, academia, and industry to formulate best practices for recovering, preserving, and examining digital evidence.

The Meeting 

The SWGDE meeting was focused and collaborative. There were about sixty participants-twenty-three guests and members. We separated into groups based on expertise: Audio, Forensic, Imaging, Photography, Quality & Standards, and Video Committees. I joined the Forensic Committee, which creates guidance documents on digital forensics best practices. They develop comprehensive documents on technical topics related to digital evidence collection, preservation, and analysis.

The visit allowed me to contribute directly to future best practice standards in DEM, perfectly aligning with my research.

It was valuable to connect with experts from academia, government, and industry. The wealth of knowledge and connections are priceless. As one of only two PhD students approved among twenty-three guests, I was able to contribute alongside supportive and
collaborative longstanding stakeholders who are actively evolving with the field.

My group completed seven documents for publication and has four in progress, with promising topics proposed for the future.


This trip and invaluable experience gained would not have been possible without SICSA’s generous financial support for travel to Boulder, Colorado. I am grateful to SICSA and hope to support them in whatever capacity I can, both now and in the future.

‘EMNLP provided a platform to showcase our research and initiated valuable interactions’. Our most recent Research Scholar describes their trip to EMNLP 2023.

By Yifu Qiu

15th January 2024

As a current Ph.D. candidate in Natural Language Processing at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, I am pleased to share my recent engagement with the 2023 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP 2023) held in Singapore.

About the Conference
EMNLP stands as a flagship conference in the realm of Natural Language Processing. The conference provided an insightful platform for researchers in the field to expound upon the latest developments and challenges within the discipline. EMNLP 2023, characterized by its diverse program, featured keynote presentations, diverse tutorials and workshops, and selected oral/poster presentations. Covering an array of domains in NLP – from computational linguistics to the forefront of large language models – the conference underscored the importance of NLP in the pursuit of artificial general intelligence.

Highlight of my EMNLP Participation

A highlight of my EMNLP 2023 participation was the poster presentation of my research entitled “Detecting and Mitigating Hallucinations in Multilingual Summarisation.” This work systematically investigates the well-known issue of hallucinations in neural generative models, particularly within summarization tasks. The phenomenon of hallucination, compromising the faithfulness of automatically generated summaries to their source documents, constitutes a significant challenge, particularly accentuated in low-resource languages. In our work, we systematically evaluate this issue in existing state-of-the-art methods and propose a new way in mitigating the hallucinations. Presenting at EMNLP not only provided a platform to showcase our research but also initiated valuable interactions with experts in the field. During the poster session, engaging in discussions with fellow researchers enriched my understanding, sparked new ideas, and laid the groundwork for potential collaborations.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) for providing the travelling funding that supported my attendance at the EMNLP 2023. As a result I have had a wonderful and fulfilling experience.

‘The conference was thrilling…’, Read more about SICSA Research Scholar funded student’s experience at NeurlPS2023 in New Orleans

By Lorenzo Loconte

4 January 2024

I am a PhD student researching Machine Learning at the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics. This year, I was delighted to hear the news that one of my papers had been accepted as an oral presentation at the 37th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2023) in New Orleans. Attending the conference has been an enriching experience, as it not only gave me the opportunity of presenting my work, but also allowed me to meet other researchers and collaborators.

About the conference

NeurIPS is a major international conference covering research advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. As such, it was the perfect venue for me to submit my work. In my research area, having a paper accepted at NeurIPS is a remarkable achievement, as it is currently the largest conference in my field in terms of attendees and submitted papers. The program of the conference was thrilling, as it included many invited talks, poster sessions and workshops, as well as the possibility of interacting with the industrial sector.

Presenting my research

Given the relevance of the conference to my research field, I was flattered by the idea of presenting my paper in a talk. This year, oral presentations account for about 0.6% of valid paper submissions, which makes presenting my research at the conference an important milestone. As a PhD student, I could not miss this opportunity in my early-stage career.

During the conference, I gave a talk about my work and exhibited it at the poster sessions (see the photo above). This experience also allowed me to be exposed to a high number of research topics and fresh ideas.


As a PhD student, seeking funding can be daunting sometimes, and funding initiatives are essential. I am very grateful to the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) for supporting me financially on this journey.

‘An enriching experience…’ With SICSA funding, student attended the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Conference on Genome Informatics

By Yuelin Yao

14 December 2023

I am a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics. My recent visit to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Conference on Genome Informatics during 6th to 9th December 2023, was an enriching experience that expanded my horizons in the realm of state-of-the-art computational approaches that are reshaping our understanding of the genome.

Exploring Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology, and it ranked among the leading basic research institutions in molecular biology and genetics, with Thomson Reuters ranking it #1 in the world. As I arrived at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a sense of excitement and anticipation filled the crisp autumn air.

Excellent Talks and Discussion

The conference commenced with a symphony of insights into the latest computational approaches driving genomic research, as well as future directions, encompassing both academic and industrial perspectives. Keynote speakers illuminated the audience with groundbreaking developments in algorithmic advancements, machine learning applications, and computational models that shine a light on the genome’s most hard-to-translate segments.

One notable session is the panel discussion titled NIH Early Stage Investigators. This engaging session brought together a diverse group of accomplished researchers and experts who shared valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by early career investigators in our field. One of the key takeaways from the session was the in-depth exploration of NIH funding mechanisms. As I have entered the final year of my Phd, and prepare to embark on an independent career, understanding the intricacies of grant applications, the review process, and available resources at the NIH is paramount. The first-hand experiences and success stories in securing funding provided a roadmap that I can leverage as I venture into the next phase of my research journey.

Poster Sessions and Collaborations

The poster sessions at this conference were a vibrant showcase of cutting-edge research, featured a wide array of research topics, spanning from Single Cell Omics to Functional Genomics. The diversity of projects on display exposed me to a broad spectrum of computational biology research. This exposure was invaluable as it broadened my understanding of the field and inspired new perspectives on my own work.

I have presented my work: Stator, a novel model-independent method to identify cell states by quantifying higher-order interactions among genes during the poster session. It was a rewarding experience as I was able to talk with fellow researchers, established professionals, and even those outside my specific subfield, and received lots of constructive feedback. These interactions not only helped refine my research but also opened avenues for potential collaborations and interdisciplinary discussions.


I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) for providing the funding that made my attendance at the 2023 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Conference on Genome Informatics possible.

SICSA opening doors for open education research

by Vidminas Vizgirda
6 November 2023

For a week in October 2023, I travelled to Edmonton (Amiskwacîwâskahikan in Cree, one of the indigenous languages, meaning “Beaver Hills House”) in Canada to attend the GO-GN 10th anniversary workshop and the Open Education Global 2023 conference.

GO-GN (Global OER Graduate Network; Celebrate 10 years of GO-GN! | GO-GN) is a support network of PhD students, alumni, and supervisors researching fields related to open education. The OE Global Conference 2023 – Building a Sustainable World through Open Education is an annual event bringing together educators, policy makers, advocates, researchers and students to talk about open education – with topics like public sharing of educational resources, removing barriers for access to education, and decolonising curricula, there are always lots of great presentations and workshops! This year’s themes were two-eyed seeing and braiding: what can Western cultures learn from indigenous ways of knowing and how can we benefit from seeing the world from both Western and indigenous perspectives?

At the conference, I organised an “action lab” (interactive workshop) titled “Reinvent the Wheel or Find the Needle? Technology for Addressing Resource Reusability Barriers”. We discussed a competition between “reinventing the wheel” (making new educational materials from scratch) faster using generative artificial intelligence versus “finding the needle in a haystack” (reusing existing educational materials) faster using user-centred design and information theory, and some ideas how we could address the latter with adjustments to major search engines.

OE Global was a wonderful venue to make new connections and open doors for potential future collaborations. Attending the conferencing so far from home was only possible by piecing together multiple sources of funding and I am very grateful to SICSA, GO-GN, and the University of Edinburgh ILCC and IGS travel funds for their help in making it happen!

Thank you SICSA for helping me “open the way for future partnerships”

by Nick Louloudakis
23 October 2023

My name is Nick Louloudakis, and I am a 3rd-year Informatics PhD Candidate at the University of Edinburgh. Last September, I had the privilege to present my work, “Fault Localization for Buggy Deep Learning Framework Conversions in Image Recognition” at the 38th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE), a top-tier conference on software engineering and automation, held at Kirchberg, Luxembourg.

I am grateful for the support I received from SICSA, which covered my registration costs. For me, attending and presenting at an event such as ASE, was a fantastic experience. In particular, I had the chance to widen my knowledge about the cutting-edge research in software engineering automation, by attending keynote talks and presentations of world-leading scientists in my area of research, coming from top institutions and companies, such as IBM Research and Google, to name a few.

In addition, I had the unique opportunity to discuss and network with a vast number of researchers working on a variety of research topics, both similar and different to the topic I currently focus on. This helped me consider additional aspects in the direction of my research, and it broadened my horizons to think of potential expansions of my work, as well as opened ways for future collaborations with people I met at the conference.

In terms of the presentation of my work, it was a great success, as it received a number of thoughtful questions and the audience found it quite interesting. In addition, I received follow-up communication from scientists working in the same field with me, opening the way for future partnerships.

As I increase in seniority in my PhD studies, I am enthralled to have the opportunity to publish my work in world-class events, but also meet new people, network and live new experiences, and I am really appreciative that SICSA supported me in this direction.
Thank you.

Apply now for the 2023-24 SICSA Education Learning & Teaching Scholars Programme

By Dr Matthew Barr, SICSA Education Director
16th September 2023

Early to mid-career colleagues involved in teaching Computing Science and related subjects at SICSA member institutions are invited to apply for the 2023-24 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: Matthew.Barr@glasgow.ac.uk.

Apply here: https://forms.office.com/e/qL3yTVmvKi


30 August 2023 Applications open
20 September 2023 Applications close
22 September 2023 Scholars announced
Week beginning 9 October 2023 Speed networking event for scholars (online)
Week beginning 16 October 2023 Mentors assigned
Week beginning 4 December 2023 Scholarship project kick-off (in-person)
February 2024 L&T leadership workshop (online)
May 2024 Final poster presentations (online/in-person TBC)
June 2024 Scholar blog posts published.


“it was an unforgettable experience” Read how SICSA research scholarship funding helped support student’s attendance at the CIX23 Summer School

by Songpei XU
12 July 2023

As a senior PhD student at the University of Glasgow, I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the Human-Computer Interaction related summer school CIX23 at the University of Michigan in the U.S. It was an unforgettable experience. During the course of my studies, I presented my work to HCI researchers from all over the world and learned about the research directions and fields of PhD students from other universities such as Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, etc. This gave me some positive impact.

In addition, the rich curriculum of the summer school not only gave me the opportunity to interact with famous professors and scholars in the field. I also learned new knowledge from their lectures and courses. These have given me new ideas and thoughts about my research.

During the summer school, I met some interesting people and we had deep discussions about our research, PhD studies, life, and future directions and future developments of AI. It was really exciting to be exposed to the ideas of people outside my social circle and with different education. I am sure we will also connect, learn from each other, and stay in touch with each other in our future research and studies.

I am very grateful for this opportunity and for the support I received from SICSA. The experience of attending the summer school not only expanded my knowledge, but also gave me new insights into the development of the industry and I have a new group of friends. This is the motivation for me to continue my research.

SICSA support to attend CHI 2023 has made me more excited and eager to be a part of this community

by Noora Alsakar, University of Glasgow
18 May 2023

At the beginning, I would like to thank SICSA for covering my registration fees to attend CHI 2023. I am a second-year PhD student conducting research at the intersection of HCI and privacy in the field of eye tracking. It was my first time attending the conference, and I had an amazing experience and learned a lot.

CHI is the premier conference for human-computer interaction research, and it provided an incredible opportunity for me to meet and learn from experts in my field from all over the world. I attended a variety of talks and workshops and was amazed by the quality of the research being presented. I also had the chance to network with other researchers and make valuable connections.

In addition, attending the conference allowed me to see the enthusiasm that researchers have for their work. It was inspiring to become aware of the great opportunities provided for researchers by prominent companies in the technology market.

My experience at CHI 2023 has made me more excited and eager to be a part of this community. I am now more motivated to continue my research and to make a positive impact in my field. I am also more eager to publish my research at the upcoming CHI conference.

In conclusion, I am grateful to SICSA for supporting my attendance at CHI 2023. It was an amazing experience that enriched my knowledge, expanded my study field community, and inspired me with new ideas in my field.

SICSA support to attend CHI 2023

by Cristina Fiani
02 May 2023

As a first-year PhD student at the University of Glasgow, within the social AI CDT, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend for the first time one of the biggest international conferences of human-computer interactions-CHI 2023 in Hamburg-with around 4000 attendees. It was a truly enriching experience that I will never forget. I had the chance to present my CHI LBW poster about automated moderation to improve child safety in social Virtual Reality (VR) “Big Buddy: A Simulated Embodied Moderating System to Mitigate Children’s Reaction to Provocative Situations within Social Virtual Reality”, which was a fantastic opportunity to share my research, receive feedback, and engage with other professionals in the field.

The conference was full of inspiring talks and presentations by other researchers, covering a wide range of topics from social VR to AI to innovations in education and mental health. I gained new insights and perspectives that will be invaluable as I continue my research. In addition to this, I met many fascinating people and had some great discussions, which I believe will help me as I progress in my research.

I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and I would like to thank SICSA for supporting me. Attending conferences like these is crucial for the development of any researcher. The experience has not only expanded my knowledge but also provided me with a sense of community and inspiration. I am eager to continue my research and contribute to the field.