Informatics Newsletter January 2022
Issue 53 of our School newsletter for students and staff.
A Message from Head of School
January and the start of the year are traditionally the time for resolutions and adoption of new habits and projects, although these are often short-lived. This year as we approach the second anniversary of the start of the pandemic, I think that it is more important that we think about how we continue to do all the things that we are doing, rather than adopt any new ones. For many of us, both staff and students, we have been operating in something like crisis mode for the last two years and that is not sustainable. So my hope for all of us this year is that we can return to more sustainable ways of working and living.
The Covid-19 came upon us very quickly. Although there had been warnings for many years that a global pandemic was a realistic threat, it seemed that there was very little in the way of preparation in the University, in the country, or in the world. It has been amazing the extent to which we have all changed our ways of living and working to address the threat but also maintain much of our daily routines. But this has not been without considerable physical and emotional effort and it is important that we acknowledge that. As we enter a New Year, and restrictions start to be eased, we must look to find a new equilibrium.
In the work of the School, I hope that this means that as risks diminish we can get back to more in-person teaching and meetings because our sense of community is more easily maintained through the interactions that come about through being in the same place at the same time. On the other hand, many people have found new benefits to working from home and we should seek to retain those benefits where possible. It has been clear all along that whatever the new “normal” after the pandemic is going to be, it will not be the old “normal”. Thus, I anticipate that we will each establish new working practices, but the important thing is that we aim for these to be sustainable and long-lived. Uncertainty has been one of the most pernicious consequences of the pandemic and as a School we should seek to reduce uncertainty as soon as we can.
So as the first month of 2022 comes to a close, my resolution for the School is to find sustainable ways of working with reduced uncertainty, so that we can once again focus on our core areas of business with a renewed sense of community.
With best wishes,
Etienne Toussant started as a Research Associate in LFCS on 5 January.
Danny Vagnozzi started as a Research Associate in LFCS on on 5 January.
Justus Matthiesen started as a Research Associate in LFCS on on 5 January.
Mina Doosti started as a Research Assistant in LFCS on 5 January.
Luc Jaulmes started as a Research Associate in ICSA on 6 January.
Aditya Kamireddypalli started as a Research Assistant in IPAB on 10 January.
Akram El-Korashy started as a Research Associate in LFCS on 5 January.
Mahmoud Fawzi started as a Research Assistant in ILCC on 20 January.
Eric Ma started as a Research Associate in ANC on 21 January.
Davide Moltisanti started as a Research Associate in ILCC on 24 January.
Lori Anderson started as a Teaching Organisation Officer on 5 January.
Clare Anstock started as a Student Engagement Officer on 10 January.
Gregor McElvogue started as a Business Development Manager on 17 January.
Fraser Yuill started as a Computing Support Officer (Procurement) on 17 January.
Being Edinburgh alumni impact award
Nominations for the 2022 Being Edinburgh award are open until Friday 28 January.
The award, now in its third year, recognises a former student who is doing something special in the world. They don't have to be well-known, it's as much about telling the stories of those graduates who are quietly making a difference.
This is an excellent opportunity for communities to put forward inspiring alumni who are representing your School and College in the world. We would be delighted to see nominations across all areas of the University to help celebrate the diverse ways Edinburgh alumni are making a positive impact.
All staff, students and alumni are eligible to nominate.
You can nominate your selected former student by completing the short online form on our website:
Student Awards 2022 - Shining the spotlight on students
Nominations for Student Awards are open until Friday 4 February
The Student Awards are back again to celebrate all our students’ achievements. The Awards are a chance to put the spotlight on your friends, course mates, or anyone else who deserves recognition for all their hard work this year.
Once again, there are no pre-set categories; we firmly believe that no achievement is too big, nor too small to be nominated! It’s sometimes the smallest acts of inclusion, creativity and determination that make the biggest difference to others.
These Awards will recognise and celebrate your small wins, your major breakthroughs and your continued commitment to your extra- and co-curricular activity. Tell us who in your group or project has shown resilience in the face of adversity, who has gone the extra mile, who has brought students together, or how your project has had a positive impact on community, overcome barriers or created a sense of belonging Our community is full of bright lights and it’s time to shine the spotlight on you.
Student Elections 2022: They should stand
Nominations for Student Elections are open until Wednesday 16 February
The EUSA annual Student Elections are a key way for students to shape our work and electing engaged student representatives is key to giving students a strong voice on the issues that matter to them – from their academic experience and student support, to our provision for them through our services, and societies.
Sometimes all it takes to give someone the confidence to stand for election is hearing that someone they trust believes they'd make a great representative!
If you know someone who is passionate about giving students a voice on the issues that matter to them, please complete the form below. We'll get in touch to let them know that you think they should run. We'll also give them key information about the roles available, how to submit their nomination, and start planning their campaign.
It's up to you whether you'd like EUSA to let them know it was you who recommended them, or have your recommendation stay anonymous.
Sirius Reader - Take part in a study on fiction reading behaviour
In a study conducted by researchers Pauliina Vuorinen and Frank Keller from the School of Informatics, alongside Ben Tatler (School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen) and software developer Mikko Vuorinen, you are invited to read a book using the Siruis online e-reader and receive an infographic on your own reading behaviour. The aim of the project is to help gain an understanding of how adults fit reading for fun in their daily lives.
Sirius Reader tracks your reading process while you use the e-reader. These tracking functions include for example, timing of page turns, your reading direction, and which part of the text you are viewing. The tracking functions do not interfere with the reading activity.
Florentin Rochet wins best community award in AMC CoNEXT
Florentin Rochet, Research Associate in the Security, Privacy, and Trust group at the School of Informatics, won best community award in AMC CoNEXT 2021, an International Conference on emerging Networking Experiments and Technologies, for his first author paper 'TCPLS: Modern Transport Services with TCP and TLS'.
The committee was excited about the vision of this paper about the need for rethinking the transport service for emerging applications and appreciated the solid execution of the paper. The paper is expected to be an invaluable contribution to the community.
The award is given to the paper and tools that are judged to be the most useful contribution for the overall community. So, hopefully, it means impact within the research community and beyond (including industrial applications).
The School of Informatics are currently recruiting for a range of posts in Research, Academic and Professional Services. See current vacancies on our website and apply through the central University of Edinburgh Jobs webpage with vacancy reference number.
There will be an update to the People and Money system happening at the end of the month to upload all 2022 public holidays, the Jubilee holiday entitlement and the 2022 Christmas closure period into everyone's People and Money records.
Research Data Management
New staff update
The RDM team are delighted to welcome Andrew Castle, our new Research Data Officer, who joined us in December.
As always, please continue to send details of recently accepted papers and open access questions, and Sam or Andrew will respond to your query.
Open Access requirements
Open Access policies remain unchanged throughout the current COVID-19 situation, and the expectation is that accepted manuscripts are deposited in Pure within three months of the date of acceptance. If there are concerns about meeting Open Access deadlines, please contact Sam or Andrew and they will be happy to advise.
The Open Access check is currently underway. If you haven’t already done so, please complete the January Publications Check web form by Friday, 4th February.
Ethics office hours
The Informatics ethics committee will continue to hold an office hour every first Monday of the month, 4pm-5pm during semester 2 (07 February, 07 March, 04 April). The session is attended by one member of the ethics committee. Staff and students are welcome to join the office hour via the Teams link below and to discuss questions around ethics and ethics applications.
Please take the time to review the information available on our pages before attending, including the FAQs.
Students should discuss specific ethics questions with their supervisor before attending the office hour (open to both students and supervisors).
Informatics students win bronze in an international programming competition
RemotED, a team from the School of Informatics were placed 12th out of 129, winning a bronze medal, at the Northwestern Europe Regional Contest 2021 (NWERC), an official regional contest in the International Collegiate Programming Contest.
NWERC is a contest in which teams from universities all over the Northwestern part of Europe are served a series of algorithmic problems. The goal of each team is to solve as many problems as possible within the 5-hour time limit. Potential solutions are submitted and corrected by an automated judging system. The teams that solve the most problems at the end of the contest qualify for the ICPC World Finals.
Tariq Elahi will work on a project aimed at keeping children safe online
A consortium that includes Informatics’ researcher Tariq Elahi has been awarded £85,000 by the UK Government to tackle one of society’s most pressing issues - keeping children safe online while using encrypted messaging apps such as Signal, WhatsApp or Viber. Edinburgh-based Cyan Forensics Ltd lead on the project with Crisp (Leeds) and Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) also involved.
Tariq Elahi joins the project as one of the leading academics in the REPHRAIN National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online.
New book chapter by Dr Vaishak Belle explores the tension between deduction and induction
Dr Vaishak Belle has written a book chapter, "Logic meets Learning: From Aristotle to Neural Networks" as part of new book "Neuro-Symbolic Artificial Intelligence: The State of the Art" by Pascal Hitzler and Md Kamruzzaman Sarker.
Based on the editors’ own desire to understand the current state of the art, this book reflects the breadth and depth of the latest developments in neuro-symbolic AI, and will be of interest to students, researchers, and all those working in the field of Artificial Intelligence.
The Future of Robotics - Sethu Vijayakumar in new WIRED series
As more jobs become partly or even fully automated, Professor Sethu Vijayakumar provides his insight into the future of robotics in a four part WIRED documentary.
The Surveillance Influence Infrastructure
Friday 28 January, 15:00 GMT
Join the Edinburgh Futures Institute in a discussion with Prof Donald MacKenzie and Dr Ben Collier about the material politics of targeted advertising, and its uses and misuses by government.
Futures Lecture: Seeing Like a Supply Chain
Thursday 3 February, 16:00 GMT
The first Edinburgh Futures Institute Futures Lecture of 2022 will see Miriam Posner lead a talk on "Seeing Like a Supply Chain", explaining how the world of supply-chain management came to look as it does, with special attention to the data and technology that undergird these circuits of commerce.
Outreach and Public Engagement
If you have participated in an outreach and public engagement activity in the last six months, please make sure it has been recorded by the comms team in the directory below.
If you need to add an entry, would like to get involved in a public engagement activity or promote an opportunity that you are aware of, please use the webform below.
For latest opportunities please check CSE PE blog for more info.
Engage the public with STFC’s science, technology and facilities
Apply for funding to engage the public with STFC-supported science, technology or facilities.
Deadline: 27 January 2022
The MacRobert Award is the UK's longest-running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation.
It honours the winning organisation with a gold medal, and the team members a cash prize of £50,000. The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. Past winners have included the engineers behind innovations such as the Pegasus jet engine, catalytic converters, the roof of the Millennium Dome and intelligent prosthetic limbs.
Award value: £50,000
Deadline: 31 January 2022
Reminder: Digital manufacturing
Apply for funding to support novel research into how digital approaches can be applied to improve manufacturing processes, manufacturing systems or both. EPSRC will provide up to £7 million to fund a number of projects at 80% of the full economic cost. If you intend to request more than £1 million.
Projects can run for up to 36 months.
Deadline: 3 February 2022
Reminder: British Science Festival 2022
Open Call for proposals – Do you have an idea to engage public audiences with science and research?
The British Science Festival are now accepting event proposals for the 2022 Festival in Leicester, hosted by De Montfort University.
The Festival celebrates science in its broadest sense. They are looking for proposals from individuals, researchers, industry professionals, artists, writers, organisations, charities, academic institutions, and more.
Festival proposals should be aimed at non-specialist adults (16+) with a broad interest in science. They are looking for events that showcase cutting-edge science, celebrate the latest developments in science and technology and engage their audience in open discussion about relevant issues that affect culture and society. They aim to programme a range of formats from talks to drop-in activities and creative content that challenges perceptions of what science is and can be.
More information, including how to submit a proposal, can be found below.
Deadline: 14 February 2022
Digital Society Network Plus: exploring people’s relationships with digital technologies
Apply for funding to develop a network to research people’s relationships with technology.
You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for ESRC funding. Your project must be social science-led and at least 50% within ESRC’s remit.
Deadline: 1st March 2022
Healthcare technologies investigator-led grant
Healthcare technologies investigator-led research grants are for researchers at UK higher education institutions, research council institutes, UKRI-approved independent research organisations and NHS bodies.
We strongly encourage collaboration with relevant healthcare professionals, other researchers, industry, the public sector and other relevant partners.
We are looking for researchers in engineering, physical sciences, information and communications technologies (ICT) and mathematical sciences who want to apply their expertise to healthcare challenges.
Projects can range in size from small short-term grants to multi-million-pound research programmes lasting several years. There is no limit on the size of the grant or length of the project.
We will award 80% of the full economic costs of the project, and your organisation must agree to find the balance
Deadline: 31st March 2022
Staff Training Courses
We now have a page listing training courses attended by staff. You can submit your own feedback on a particular training you attended.
Best of InfGeneral
This month's best of inf-general award goes to all colleagues who contributed to the booster-related topics. Be it advising on how to register for one, where the queues for drop-in clinics were manageable, or, last but not least, explaining how boosters work and why we should get them. Thank you all for contributing to Informatics own public health intervention!
Inf-general is a mailing list used to carry informal discussions, postings, requests to and from staff within Informatics. Not for official purposes. Julian Bradfield is the guardian of inf-general who steps in to point out misuses and confirm when inf-general should most definitely be used. If you’re new to Informatics inf-general emails can be a great source of knowledge for you: ask and you will be informed, but do remember to share the information back with the mailing list users.
Keep in Touch
For all the latest news, keep an eye on our website and social media channels!
The newsletter is produced by the Communications team.
If you have any questions or comments please get in touch!