8-10 July 2024


Developing Adaptability and Resilience 

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About the event

Developing Adaptability and Resilience

This year, the focus of the SICSA Conference will be on developing adaptability and resilience. Building on last year’s programme addressing interdisciplinary challenges, the 2024 SICSA Conference will focus on resilience and adaptation in computer science research. Increasingly, research focus and funding is led by societal challenges that are of international concern. 

Students and researchers at all career stages face challenges and constraints but these circumstances can also present unexpected opportunities for growth, connection and innovation.  The aim of this conference is to expose research students to tools and strategies for navigating difficult or unexpected circumstances with composure, curiosity and creativity. 

The conference will include keynotes from high-profile speakers on the challenge-led research landscape, as well as workshops on communication and career navigation. Students will have opportunities to practice these skills in small teams drawn from the diverse fields of our discipline, in order to develop their own collective research visions



John McCall

Keynote Speaker

John is a Professor of Computer Science and Director of the National Subsea Centre, aiming to accelerate the energy transition through smart technologies.

Extended Bio

Paul Winstanley

Paul Winstanley

Keynote Speaker

Paul is an entrepreneurial technologist and the CEO of CENSIS, a not-for-profit innovation centre supporting organisations to accelerate innovation through sensing, imaging, and IoT.

Fash Fasoro

Keynote Speaker

Fash is the founder of DataKirk and a leading immigration expert at ACN, aiming to close the data divide and attainment gap in Scotland.

Extended Bio

Gavin Abercrombie

Keynote Speaker

Gavin Abercrombie is Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt University with a focus on NLP. He has also been a CS PHD student and postdoc, and previously an art student.


Claire Robertson

Workshop Speaker

Claire is a Psychology PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on how scientific information can be better communicated and made more engaging and accessible through comics.

Aaron Thom

Workshop Speaker

Aaron is the Educational Development Adviser at the University of Aberdeen, Centre for Academic Development (CAD). Aaron is interested in a range of contemporary issues around online and in-person teaching, as well as Decolonising the Curriculum.

Tatiana Tungli

Workshop Speaker

Tatiana is a PhD Student within the Applied Informatics Group at Edinburgh Napier University.

Mary Pryor

Workshop Speaker

Mary is the Senior Academic Skills Adviser at the University of Aberdeen. She works with students to develop their academic writing, critical thinking, and communication skills, and with academic Schools to facilitate exchange of pedagogic ideas and practice


Workshop Speaker


Tiwonge is a PhD Student at National Subsea Centre, Robert Gordon University.


Workshop Speaker


Surasak is a PhD student in the Formal Analysis, Theory, and Algorithms Section at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, with research interests in Cybersecurity, Formal Verification, and Game Theory.


Gerardo Aragon Camarasa

Gerardo Aragon Camarasa

Reverse Viva Speaker

Gerardo is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow and a member of the Computer Vision and Autonomous Systems group.

Carlos Moreno-Garcia

Reverse Viva Speaker

Carlos is Senior Lecturer in Computing at Robert Gordon University and a member of the Interactive Machine Vision Centre.

Ferdian Jovan

Reverse Viva Speaker

Ferdian Jovan is a lecturer at University of Aberdeen. He is interested in real-time efficient machine learning technologies.

Fahrurrozi Rahman

Reverse Viva Speaker

Fahrurrozi  is a lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews. 

David Brazier

David Brazier

Reverse Viva Speaker


David is a lecturer within the Applied Informatics Group at Edinburgh Napier University. 

Organising Committee

Aiden Durrant

SICSA Conference Local Academic Organising Chair

Aiden is a Lecturer in the School of Natural and Computing Sciences at the University of Aberdeen.

Rebecca Potts

PhD Student Committee Lead

Becca is a PhD student in the School of Natural and Computing Sciences at the University of Aberdeen.

Juliette Lang

SICSA Project and Events Officer

Juliette works in the SICSA Executive team based in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow.

Debbie Meharg

SICSA Deputy Education Director

Debbie is Head of Applied Informatics at the School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University.

Tim Storer

SICSA Deputy Director

Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Computing based within the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow.

Stuart Anderson

SICSA Director

Stuart Anderson is a Personal Chair in Dependable Systems in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.

Andrei Petrovski

SICSA Graduate Academy Director

Andrei is a Reader within the School of Computing Science and Digital Media at Robert Gordon University.

Matthew Barr

SICSA Education Director

Matthew is Head of Education & Practice in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow.


17:30 – 20:00 | Careers Fair: Buffet & Networking

09:30 – 10:00 | Registration & Coffee

James MacKay Hall, King’s Conference Centre

10:00 – 10:10 | Welcome

10:10 – 10:50 | Keynote Talk

Prof. John McCall, National Subsea Centre

10:50 – 11:30 | Keynote Talk : Resilience and Adaption – a Professional and Personal Journey

— Paul Winstanley, CEO CENSIS

11:45 – 13:00 | Parallel Workshops

— Teaching as a PhD Student

Dr Matthew Barr, University of Glasgow

Location: Aberdeen City Council Room (KQG4), King’s Conference Centre

In this session, we’ll hear from a panel of tutors and early career academics about their experience of teaching during their PhD. The topics we’ll cover include balancing your work as a tutor with your PhD research, navigating the unwritten rules of university teaching, and how to get the best out of your students. We’ll also touch on career development for teaching-focussed early career lecturers, and how your experience as a tutor can kick-start your academic career. The panel will be moderated by SICSA Education Director, Dr Matthew Barr.

Navigating Career Pathways

Mr Fash Fasoro – The DataKirk

Join me at SICSA 2024 for “Navigating Career Pathways,” a presentation on navigating the evolving UK immigration landscape for PhD holders. The workshop will cover recent immigration trends and statistics, key changes in UK immigration rules, and opportunities for PhD graduates in Scotland. Attendees will gain insights into post-study work visas, skilled worker and global talent visas, and strategies for academic, industry, and entrepreneurial careers. Practical tips, case studies, and a Q&A session will help participants effectively manage their post-PhD career journeys in Scotland.

Location: Auditorium, King’s Conference Centre

— Comic Science: Visual Storytelling for Effective Communication

Claire Robertson – University of Aberdeen

This one-hour workshop will give you the chance to create your own short scientific comic or panel sequence, communicating your research in a fun, engaging, and accessible way. Having flexible approaches to scientific communication is crucial no matter what field you are in. Thinking about the alternative (and sometimes unconventional) ways your research can be communicated is an excellent skill and great for public engagement! You do not need to have any experience with comics or be creative to participate! Everyone is welcome!

Location: Multimedia Room (KQG3) , King’s Conference Centre

— Planning and Writing Your Thesis
Dr Aaron Thom & Dr Mary Pryor – University of Aberdeen

In this interactive session, participants will explore the expectations of a reader who engages critically with a Computing Science thesis. The key elements of academic writing will be discussed, including clarity of expression, accurate presentation of evidence, and linkage of publications to the overall research.

Location: Carnegie Room (KQG1), King’s Conference Centre

13:00 – 14:30 | Lunch & Poster Session

14:30 – 15:30 | Reverse Viva

— English as a second language user’s Information Interaction in an e-Governmental Context.

David Brazier – Edinburgh Napier

Location: Aberdeen City Council Room (KQG4), King’s Conference Centre

— A hierarchical active binocular robot vision architecture for scene exploration and object appearance learning.

Gerardo Aragon Camarasa – University of Glasgow

Location: Catherine Gavin Room (KQG2), King’s Conference Centre

Statistical inference for periodic and partially observable Poisson processes.

Ferdian Jovan – University of Aberdeen

Location: Multimedia Room (KQG3) , King’s Conference Centre

— Processing clinical guideline text for formal verification.

Fahrurrozi Rahman – University of St Andrews

Location: Carnegie Room (KQG1), King’s Conference Centre

— Learning the consensus of multiple correspondences between data structures.

Carlos Moreno-Garcia – Robert Gordon University

Location: Auditorium, King’s Conference Centre

15:30 – 17:00| Social Activities

Choice of: 

— Designing in Virtual Reality 

Acclaimed local artist Craig Barrowman will lead a drop-in style workshop where small teams will objects in together VR, with equipment kindly provided by Gray’s Mobile Art School.

Location: KQG3
— Coffee Tasting with Long Walk Coffee

Join the owners of Long Walk Coffee in Aberdeen for an artisan coffee tasting experience.

— Cruickshank Botanic Garden self-guided tour 

Make your way to the Cruickshank Botanic Garden by 4pm for a brief introduction to the Gardens from Curator Mark Paterson, then enjoy a leisurely self-guided tour of the grounds.  

Location – Cruickshank Botanic Garden

18:30 – 20:30 | Conference Dinner & Prizes

9:30 – 10:00 | Arrival Coffees

10:00 – 10:05 | Welcome & Overview

10:05 – 12:00 | Group Research Activity – Project Creation & Scoping

In this session, you will work in groups to identify and propose computer science projects that address some of the UK’s key scientific challenges. This 2-hour session is an intensive, research activity where you will gain experience in project scoping, key objective development, and methodology and evaluation design. You will have the choice of 4 theme areas in which to propose a project: Environment & Sustainability; Health; Defence & Security; and Industry & Manufacturing. After lunch your group will present their project, and ideas to the wider group.

12:00 – 13:00 | Lunch & Networking

13:00 – 13:30 | Group Research Activity – Proposal Presentations

Interactive session where your team from the previous session will present their project proposal and ideas to the wider group.

13:45 – 14:15 | Keynote Talk : DataKirk: Vision and Journey

— Fash Fasoro – Data Kirk
Fash will share his inspiring journey, the vision behind the DataKirk, and its notable achievements. He will discuss opportunities for delegates to engage with the DataKirk, an organisation dedicated to improving talent pooling, upskilling, and enhancing employment opportunities for marginalised communities. Attendees will gain insights into creating a vision-driven organisation and learn how to leverage opportunities within the evolving landscape. This session promises to be both motivational and informative for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators, offering valuable perspectives on driving social impact and fostering inclusive growth.

14:15 – 15:00 | Keynote Talk : Investigating Human factors in Natural Language Processing

— Dr Gavin Abercrombie – Heriot Watt
Natural language processing technologies are mostly driven by human judgements and labour. So how do we know that we are modelling the “right” values and points of view? In this talk, Gavin will describe my journey investigating modelling of social concepts such as sentiment and sarcasm, political stances and opinions, and hateful and abusive language, and he will discuss how we can mitigate biases in the underlying data to create fairer systems.

15:00 – 15:05 | Closing Remarks

The venue

University of Aberdeen

King's College, Old Aberdeen, AB24 3FX

The SICSA Conference 2024 will take place at the University of Aberdeen campus, which has good transport links from all Scottish cities.  PhD students and early-career researchers from universities all around Scotland can look forward to an inspiring 2 day program of talks, workshops and networking activities.

We will also have a conference dinner and prize ceremony the first evening of the conference.

There are no registration fees and free accommodation is provided for students who require to travel to the event. The event is fully funded by SICSA.  

Overnight accommodation will be at New Carnegie Court at Hillhead Halls of Residence and there is a bus service which runs to and from the Halls and main campus. Bedding and towels will be provided. 

Check-in and Check-out

You can check-in any time after 2pm on 8th July at the Hillhead Student Village Reception. This will be signposted when you arrive on-site at Hillhead. 

Check-out will be 4pm on the 10th July. 

King's College & Elphinstone Hall

The main Conference will be held in the historical King’s College Conference Centre. The Conference dinner on the evening of the first day of the Conference (July 9th) will be held in Elphinstone Hall.

King's College Auditorium

Poster Session

The PhD Poster Competition celebrates the diverse and dynamic research endeavours pursued by postgraduate students in computing throughout Scotland. Postgraduate researchers from all academic years and fields are encouraged to present a poster showcasing an aspect of their work. These posters should provide a succinct overview of the research, captivate viewers visually, and remain accessible to a broad audience of computing-related academics. This competition not only fosters the growth of Scotland’s computing research community but also offers insight into the extensive array of postgraduate research projects underway.


All submitted posters will be displayed at the SICSA PhD Conference 2024 and evaluated by a panel comprised of members from Scotland’s university research community. Outstanding posters will be recognized with prizes and certificates.



•     Posters must be directly related to the entrant’s postgraduate research.

•     The content can be comprised of any aspect of your research including ongoing, completed or previously published work.

•     Each postgraduate researcher is limited to submitting one poster.

•     Posters must be submitted in portrait orientation.

•     Posters must be submitted in PDF format, to be printed at A0 size.

•     Any pictures must be a minimum of 150dpi at the size as if they are being printed.

Getting There

From around Scotland:

If you have registered for one of our organised buses, the buses will bring you directly to Hillhead Student Village accommodation.

The Glasgow bus will collect you from Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road at 11:45am. There will be another pick-up at Dundee Central Travelodge at 13:30 before arriving at Hillhead Student Village at 15:00.

The Edinburgh bus will collect you from Edinburgh Regent Road Bus Bays at 11.30am. There will be another pick-up from St Andrews University Hall, Kennedy Gardens at 13:45 before arriving at Hillhead Student Village at 15:00.

  • Alternatively, if taking the train to Aberdeen, on arrival at the train station locate Union Square bus stop and take the X60, X63, X65, X67 or X68 bus to Lord Hay’s Road, followed by a short walk to Hillhead Student Village. The 20 bus also travels directly to Hillhead Student Village hourly.
  • Parking is free at Hillhead Student Village, however, parking restrictions apply on Campus
From Hillhead to Conference and back:
  • For public transport, the 20 bus travels from Hillhead Student Village bus stop and King’s College bus stop hourly.
  • Hillhead Student Village is a scenic 1 mile walk from the University of Aberdeen Campus through Seaton Park and Old Aberdeen.