Informatics Newsletter May 2016

Issue 3 of our School newsletter for staff and students.

University of Edinburgh's Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea
The Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea (Photo: University image bank)

Highlights from the Principal's talk

The Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, visited the Informatics Forum yesterday, 18 May, to outline the University's achievements and challenges, citing Informatics as a key asset given global trends in technology and suggesting growth in online Masters as an area of expansion.

The Principal also offered congratulations to a number of colleagues including:

The Principal also praised Informatics for attracting over 200,000 students to our Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), highlighted student Alexandru Gheorghiu's success in winning the College heat of the Three Minute Thesis competition, and welcomed the arrival of the Valkyrie (see recent press coverage).

During Q&A, he said that increasing the number of Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships was a priority but dependent on fundraising, that our shopping list of resources to support teaching could be sent to the Senior Vice Principal for consideration, and that attracting more online students would help to generate income necessary to recruit more staff.

Teaching excellence is an “unambiguous priority”

On the day the Westminster government published its White Paper on Higher Education reform for England, Senior Vice Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery told us that we need to “foster a proper understanding that teaching is an unambiguous priority,” as important as research.

Although the latest Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) by the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland gave the University its highest possible judgement of “effectiveness” for student learning, the news had little impact on the way we are perceived. Teaching provides as much of our income as research, if not more. We need to enhance the management processes which recruit, review, recognise and reward teaching excellence and develop the words and means to promote our reputation in this area.

Missed the General Meeting?

As well as special guest Professor Jeffery, the speakers were Head of School, Professor Johanna Moore, Director of Professional Services, Martin Wright and newly appointed Deputy Head of School, Professor Jane Hillston, who will work alongside existing Deputy Professor Stuart Anderson. Here are the speakers’ slides (PDFs):

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our Athena Swan submission and 2016/19 Action Plan.

Head of College Prizes

Do you or a colleague deserve special recognition? Nominations are open for Head of College Prizes for outreach, team work, inclusion and diversity, and lifetime achievement.

3DT and friends

Our three EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) will co-host a research presentation day, Thursday 26 May, to showcase the work of postgraduate research students and encourage communication and collaboration across the School.

Further dates for your diary


23 May Summer teaching vacation starts
27 May Jamboree*
8 June UOE6-8 promotions workshop
9 June UOE9-10 promotions workshop
17 June Undergraduate open day
27 June Informatics Graduation Ceremony
29 June Online open day for Data Science, Technology & Innovation.
10 Sept Start of Welcome Week
13 Sept Academic Fair
19 Sept Teaching block 1 starts
24 Sept Undergraduate open day
8 Oct        Undergraduate open day
16 Nov       Postgraduate open day

*Don’t forget to book your Jamboree ceilidh tickets.     

Informatics hoodies

No, not a new Facebook group but the imminent return of an old favourite: a hoodie with the University logo and School of Informatics on it. Further information on colour and cost to follow.

And finally…

Think you know your colleagues? Guess who:

Click a link for the answer.

That’s all folks! For all the latest news, keep an eye on our website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and check out Edinburgh Informatics Alumni on LinkedIn.

The newsletter is produced by Communications, Informatics Knowledge Management Team. If you have any questions or comments please get in touch! Email: