Informatics Newsletter November 2020

Issue 41 of our School newsletter for students and staff.

A Message from Head of School

Photo of Jane Hillston sitting at a desk

Dear Colleagues,

The months seem to pass by quite quickly, which is always the way during semester, and I get the reminder to write something for the Newsletter sooner than I expect every month. With so much unfamiliar about the way we are working and studying this year, it might have been expected that the strangeness of it all might have made the days drag. On the contrary, both staff and students are telling me that the semester is progressing at a pace, and the transition to hybrid teaching has been smoother than we might have anticipated. Indeed, at the weekly meetings between the class reps and Neil and Bjorn there has been a lot of positive feedback. But this has only been achieved after tremendous effort by both students and staff and now I think we are all counting the weeks until the Christmas closure. Given that the University will be closed from 19th December until 4th January (except for exams on 21st December), this will be the last newsletter of 2020.

When lockdown came in March it was generally expected that we would be working remotely for three months. Instead, here we are eight months later, and although there has been some relaxation compared to the earlier full lockdown, things are still far from “normal”. Nevertheless, as a community we have done well to adjust to the circumstances and make the most of the opportunities they afforded us. Of course there is always more that we might have liked to do, and we continue to strive to improve, but I think we can take a break at Christmas with a collective sense of pride in all we have achieved. I am only sorry that there will be no opportunity for Christmas celebrations this year.

As we move forward into 2021 there is optimism that there will be a vaccination programme which will lift many of the restrictions, and life will return to some form of normal both in the University and in our domestic lives. I'm sure we all look forward to being able to spend more time with loved ones and friends. But we will also have the opportunity take lessons from this period and choose a new “normal” that reflects the best things that have come out of the past year. Personally, I have re-evaluated whether all the trips I previously made for work were strictly necessary; I have enjoyed the flexibility of spending some of my work days at home even after the Forum was re-opened, and I have deepened my appreciation for the supportive community that is the School of Informatics. 

Thank you everyone — I hope you have a restful break when it comes, and I look forward to seeing you returning refreshed in January.

With best wishes,


New Staff

Research Staff

Sakib Ahamed started as a research assistant at the Institute for Computing Systems Architecture on 1st October

Alec Diallo started as a research assistant at the Institute for Computing Systems Architecture on 1st October

Alexis Duque started as a research associate at the Institute for Computing Systems Architecture on 1st October

Michael Michaelides started as a research asisstant at the Institute for Computing Systems Architecture on 1st October

Mohammad Javad Hosseini started as a research associate at the Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation on 1st October

Ester Livshits started as a research associate at the Laboratory for the Foundations of Computer Science on 1st October

Hannah Jones started as a research associate at the Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation on 1st November

Yuan Wen started as a research associate at the Institute for Computing Systems Architecture on 5th November

Professional Services Staff

Louise Foster started as a Portfolio Manager at the Institute for Perception, Action and Behaviour on 9th November


Update: Office 365 migration

As of Fri 20th November, 214 Informatics staffmail accounts have successfully migrated to office365 without any major issue. The majority of the remaining accounts will be upgraded before the Christmas break with the last date this year being the 15th December. We now have an additional date in January (7th) to complete our migrations so academic staff who have not migrated during semester will be scheduled on either 15th December or 7th January.

IS have produced a couple of useful pages:

Email switchover - Pre-migration Checks

Email switchover - On the Day (once switchover is complete)

There is also a local page on

Computing help - Staffmail to Office 365

If you have any questions, contact Alison Downie or Jennifer Oxley.

Email Alison

Email Jennifer

Asymptomatic Testing for Students Going Home for the Winter Break

Booking is now open for on-campus Covid-19 testing for students who want to travel home safely in the UK for the winter break. The testing is available from 30 November until 9 December, between 10:00 and 20:30 each day. The testing is voluntary, however with many thousands of students moving around the country before the holidays, it’s really important that we all do what we can to reduce the risk of community transmission of Covid-19 as much as possible. Students will be able to get a test even if you are showing no symptoms. If you test negative you will know that you can travel home with minimal risk of infecting others.

University of Edinburgh - Travelling home and asymptomatic testing

'Building Back Better' Open Call - Now Open

Data Driven Innovation (DDI) are pleased to announce as part of the Scottish Funding Council Covid-19 Recovery funding to the University of Edinburgh, DDI has been allocated up to £500,000 for small grants to support staff at the University applying data-driven innovation ideas to support the Scottish Funding Council Beacon Fund’s aim of promoting job security, creation and retention within universities and economic and social recovery from the pandemic across the wider Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Region. One part of the portfolio will be an Open Call to academics and researchers within the University of Edinburgh under the theme of ‘Building back better’, welcoming proposals from across the University as of Wednesday 11 November 2020 around four main themes:

  • Smarter Places;
  • Health, Wellbeing & Care;
  • Cultural & Creative Recovery;
  • Food, Climate and Sustainability; or,
  • Any topic on DDI-aligned themes

The total budget for the call is £500,000, which will be used to fund a range of projects. The majority of these will be in the region of £10,000, with some funding reserved to support a limited number of larger projects, worth £25k and £50k.

The Building Back Better Open Call includes two submission rounds:

  • The first round will close at 3pm on 11th December 2020, and allocate up to £250,000. Projects will have a target start date of 11th January 2021.
  • The second round will close at 3pm on 15th January 2021, allocating all remaining funding. Project will have a target start date of 8th February 2021.

More information about the Open Call can be found on the DDI website

Scottish Funding Council Beacon

Survey: Inspiration and Role Models for LGBT+ Scientists

The School of Chemistry is conducting research into the impact that role models play in why LGBT+ persons may or may not choose to follow a career in STEM, and are looking for participants for their survey. The study is part of the Chemistry Education Project, undertaken by Lee Ferguson and supervised by Professor Michael Seery.

Survey for LGBT+ Scientists

Mental Health and Wellbeing Weeks, 9 - 27th November

Between 9th and 27th November is Mental Health and Wellbeing Week at the University, a programme of events, activities and advice aimed at encouraging discourse and discussion about our mental health. 1 in 4 of us will struggle with our mental health each year and many more will be affected by the stigma surrounding mental illness. Lots of us struggle to find the words to talk about how we're feeling, which is why this year's theme 'Let's Talk' aims to get people talking about their mental health, what helps and hinders them, and how to support others to open up about their mental health and wellbeing. Here in Informatics we have created a space for people to share what cheers them up when they're feeling down in the form of a Padlet - this is currently open so you can still share what cheers you up, and read what others do to take care of themselves too. We have also started a new series on our blog, Meet you Mental Health First Aiders. The posts help you get to know Patrick, Jenny, Carol and Jonathan a bit better, find out why they want to support others with their mental health and how they look after their own.

Informatics Padlet - What cheers you up when you're down?

Informatics Blog - Meet Your Mental Health First Aiders


Edinburgh to lead £3.2 million project into the Governance and Regulation of Decision-making Machines

Researchers across the University and beyond, led by Professor Subramanian Ramamoorthy, have come together to ensure the trustworthiness of systems that put machines in charge of decisions, from virtual assistants like Alexa to aircraft autopilot. This project is part of the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme, funded through the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund and delivered by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The TAS programme brings together research communities and key stakeholders to drive forward cross-disciplinary, fundamental research to ensure that autonomous systems are safe, reliable, resilient, ethical and trusted. The programme is a collaborative UK-based platform comprised of Research Nodes and a Hub, united by the purpose of developing world-leading best practice for the design, regulation and operation of autonomous systems. its central aim is to ensure that the autonomous systems are ‘socially beneficial’, protect people’s personal freedoms and safeguard physical and mental wellbeing. 

The team are tasked with developing the governance and regulation of Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS). By developing a novel framework for the certification, assurance and legality of TAS, the project will address whether such systems can be used safely. The project will establish a new software engineering framework to support TAS governance, and trial it with external stakeholders in areas including mobile autonomous systems, and health and social care. Newly developed computational tools for regulators and developers will complement the new methods of governance. In particular, this will include a deeper understanding, from multiple disciplinary perspectives, of how and why autonomous systems fail. The team also aim to improve understanding of the iterative nature of design processes associated with such technologies, and recommend ways to better govern such processes.

Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub

Edinburgh Students Win the Official MLH 2020 Europe Season

Photo of all the participants of the Hack the Burgh VI, stood on a stage in front of the event logo.

The University of Edinburgh is announced the winners of the 2020 Europe Major League Hacking (MLH) Season, coming first out of 150 Universities across eighteen Hackathon events. The latest MLH Europe Hackathon Season ran from August 2019 to July 2020 and saw over six thousand participants, who created over a thousand projects. The University of Edinburgh came top across the year, followed by the University of Birmingham in second and the University of Manchester in third. Universities earn points throughout the season through a combination of Merit points, earned by building winning projects; and Participation points, which students earn by taking part in hackathons. MLH credit Edinburgh’s hackathon Hack the Burgh VI, which took place at the University in February, as the cause of a huge increase in the number of Edinburgh students taking part in MLH events. Due to Covid-19, the event was one of the last in-person hackathons to take place during this MLH Europe Hackathon season. Perhaps due to the shift to virtual hackathons this year, the University of Edinburgh has seen a spike in the number of student hackers taking part in MLH events, helping their victory.

MLH News: University of Edinburgh wins the official MLH 2020 Europe season

School of Informatics Hosts the Code Spot Challenge Hackathon

During November the School was pleased to host the Code Spot Challenge in collaboration with IBM and the Clinton Foundation.  This challenge gave students the opportunity to deploy collective intelligence to address challenges focused on climate change and data science. The Business Development Team in the School coordinated communication about the event and ran the registration process. They also proposed experts from industry to support the evaluation of outputs. Several other UK universities were invited by the School of Informatics to participate (e.g. Oxford, Imperial,  UCL, Bristol, Exeter, Liverpool, Manchester) due to their specific interest in climate change, whereas IBM and the Clinton Foundation distributed invitations in the rest of the world. In the end there were 910 registrations from 185 institutions, including 94 registrations from the University of Edinburgh.  Topics addressed were:

  • Water Sustainability, 
  • Energy Sustainability, 
  • Disaster Resiliency.

The opening ceremony was attended by Chelsea Clinton on behalf of the Clinton foundation and a final awards ceremony was held on-line on 20th November.  The sponsors, the Clinton Foundation and IBM, were happy with the event.  It was felt to have been a successful programme in generating ideas, focusing on the role of data science in tackling challenges and demonstrating the value of collective intelligence.

Research Data Management

The new Edinburgh Research Explorer

On 26 October, we advised that the new Edinburgh Research Explorer (ERE) would be live on 25 November. This has now been delayed, but will likely be released by end of November instead. As a reminder, ERE is the public display of Pure and is being upgraded to a new version that has a much improved layout and visually attractive features.

Please continue to update your Pure profile to ensure that the most up-to-date information about you and your research is displayed on the new ERE.

More information about the new ERE and guidance material for updating your profile is available on the Pure website

The Research Information Systems (RIS) team in Library & University Collections have held events on Microsoft Teams to present the new ERE, with two more on 01 and 03 December. These sessions include a Q&A section where you will be able to ask the team about the new features.

Information about attending the Accessing the New ERE sessions

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 Victoria and Sam on and they will be happy to advise.

As always, please continue to send details of recently accepted papers and open access questions, and Victoria or Sam will respond to your query.

Contact RDM Team

Student news

Female Informatics Students Benefit from DeepMind Funding

School of Informatics students from under-represented groups are being supported on their academic journey by a new scholarship funded by DeepMind. Two MSc and two PhD student scholarships were awarded this academic year and DeepMind has also committed to a further three MSc and two PhD scholarships, available for students starting in 2021. Maria Luque Anguita and Réka Hagymási, MSc in Artificial Intelligence students who started in September 2020, are both recipients of the scholarship and cannot over-emphasise how much easier it makes their journey. DeepMind scholarships cover tuition fees, maintenance and other living costs. Recipients benefit from mentoring from DeepMind staff during their period of study and have a unique opportunity to network with other DeepMind scholars and professionals at their events. Scholarships are targeted at groups who are currently under-represented in Informatics, particularly women and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. This complements other efforts in equality, diversity and inclusion, such as the School’s Women in Informatics bursaries and current work on decolonising our curriculum.

Meet some of this year's scholarship recipients on the Informatics website

Two Informatics students place first and third in SICSA's 'Dynamic Denning' programming competition

Justas Zelnia and Robertas Norkus came first and third respectively in the competition, which took place in October and saw fifty students from six Scottish Universities compete for a top prize of £100. This is Justas's second consecutive first-prize win - he previously won the SICSA programming challenge 'Brave Bartik', which was held on 17 June 2020. This most recent 'Dynamic Denning' competition was organised by Heriot Watt University. The SICSA Programming Challenge is a competition to solve a set of given problem specifications within a set time period (typically one afternoon). The event was open to all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students at Scottish universities. These programming challenges are an opportunity for students to test and exercise their programming skills. Each competition consists of a sequence of programming tasks that are posted through OpenKattis. The 'Dynamic Denning' competition was funded by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA).

SICSA Programming Challenges

Former student wins SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland 2019-2020

Chris Cummins, a former student at the School of Informatics, was awarded the coveted SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland 2019-2020 at this year’s SICSA Conference. Chris was awarded the prestigious prize for his pioneering work on deep learning.  While a students here at Informatics he was supervised by Hugh Leather and Pavlos Petoumenos. Professor Stuart Anderson, SICSA Interim Director said of the award, “Chris’s research into deep learning and neural networks is outstanding. We received a range of exceptional submissions for this year’s Best Dissertation in Scotland Award, once again demonstrating the calibre of students, research and industry collaboration in Scotland.” The award was sponsored by Amazon Development Scotland.

SICSA Conference 2020

Bruce Collie, Jackson Woodruff and Michael O'Boyle win Best Paper at the GPCE 2020 conference

Postgraduate student Bruce Collie has won the award for Best Paper at this year's Generative Programming: Concepts and Experience (GPCE) conference for his publication 'Modeling Black-Box Components with Probabilistic Synthesis', co-authored by Jackson Woodruff and Michael O'Boyle. The winning paper explores synthesizing programs based on black-box oracles, with particular interest in the case where there exists an executable implementation of a component or library, but its internal structure is unknown. A venue for researchers and practitioners, GPCE is an international conference for those with interests in techniques that use program generation, domain-specific languages, and component deployment to increase programmer productivity, improve software quality, and shorten the time-to-market of software products.

Read the full paper

Staff news

A digital visualisation of the synthetic tongue surface created by the project, next to the surface of a natural tongue.
A natural tongue (top) and the artificial tongue surface (bottom).

Edinburgh-Leeds collaboration produces first ever 3D-printed tongue surface

Dr Rik Sarkar has been working with colleagues from the University of Leeds to create the first ever 3D-printed synthetic soft surface that replicates the human tongue. The ‘biomimetic tongue’ replicates the highly complex surface design of the human tongue, mimicking the topology, elasticity and wettability in order to accurately emulate how food and saliva interacts with the tongue. The surface of the human tongue has hundreds of small bud-like structures called papillae, producing a roughness that contrasts with the softness of the tongue’s tissue. Together, these distinct textures create a complex landscape that and defines the human tongue and is difficult to replicate using synthetic materials. The team tackled this difficulty by imitating the structure and distribution of two types of papillae found on the tongue’s surface, a crucial step in recreating the tongue’s mechanical friction and sensing abilities. Rik led the use of computer science and data science in the project, and using probabilistic analysis, he was able to show that the distribution of papillae is an important aspect of the tongue surface which determines the accuracy of mechanical sensing. The 3D-printed silicon structure will provide unique insight into how fluids interact with the tongue within the oral cavity, leading to new insights into how the biomechanics of the tongue influence the way we eat and talk. The artificial surface could be used for a variety of applications, from screening food and beverages to aiding research into orally-administered medication and dry mouth therapies. The work was published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces in October 2020.

Find out more by reading our news story

Read the paper in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

BBC World Service coverage

Bjoern Ross awarded the Stafford Beer Medal 2020 for Best Paper in EJIS in 2019

Lecturer in Computational Social Science Bjoern Ross has been awarded the prestigious Stafford Beer Medal for the paper, 'Are social bots a real threat? An agent-based model of the spiral of silence to analyse the impact of manipulative actors in social networks'. This paper is co-authored by Laura Pilz, Benjamin Cabrera, Florian Brachten, German Neubaum and Stefan Stieglitz. The Stafford Beer Medal is awarded in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to the philosophy, theory or practice of Information Systems published in the European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS) within the relevant year. This award is named in memory of Stafford Beer, a world leader in the development of systems ideas, especially management cybernetics, and President of The OR Society 1970-71.

Stafford Beer Medal

Read the winning paper

Peggy Seriés publishes the first introductory textbook in Computational Psychiatry

Dr Peggy Seriés has published the first introductory textbook in the emerging field of computational psychiatry.  The book is titled, ‘Computational Psychiatry: A Primer’ and is published by MIT Press. It was edited by Peggy, with chapters written by herself alongside those from other world leaders in the field. Computational psychiatry applies computational modelling and theoretical approaches to psychiatric questions, focusing on building mathematical models of neural or cognitive phenomena relevant to psychiatric diseases. It is a young and rapidly growing field, drawing on concepts from psychiatry, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, electrical and chemical engineering, mathematics, and physics. 

Computational Psychiatry: A Primer

Li Dong runner-up in the prestigious AAAI/ ACM SIGAI Dissertation Award

Supervised by Mirella Lapata, Li Dong was a runner up in the 2019 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)/ Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI) Dissertation Award for his thesis 'Learning Natural Language Interfaces with Neural Models'.  His award will be formally presented at AAAI-21. The AAAI/ACM SIGAI Doctoral Dissertation Award recognizes and encourages superior research and writing by doctoral candidates in artificial intelligence.

SIGAI Artificial Intelligence Awards


Street Support Edinburgh: Go Live

Maria Wolters has been advising on eHealth and service design for the Street Support app and website, a dedicated service information hub for people experiencing homelessness in Edinburgh. Street Support Network, the University of Edinburgh and Simon Community Scotland, have been working in partnership to produce this app to help prevent homelessness by providing details of the local support services available to homeless people and rough sleepers in Edinburgh. The app will help the city respond to the expected increase in homelessness caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. The Street Support digital resource has been rolled out across 15 cities in England and the Edinburgh team are excited to implement it here. Once launched in Edinburgh - and the outcomes are evaluated - it is hoped that the app can be implemented across Scotland. The platform will be launched on Tuesday 1st December 14:00 - 16:00 where the team will provide information on this collaborative project, present a live demonstration and explain how you can get involved. 

Street Support Edinburgh: Go Live tickets

Peter Wells Memorial Lecture - 'The Ups and Downs of Machine Learning for Prosthetic Control', Kia Nazarpour

On Wednesday 9 December at 11:00am the third annual Peter Wells Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Dr Kia Nazarpour, Reader in Biomedical Artifical Intelligence here in Informatics. With the increasing popularity of AI, machine learning is considered the most likely candidate to enable the control of next-generation multi-articulated prosthetic hands. In his lecture Kia will explore why it has been challenging to translate machine learning-based prosthetic control beyond the laboratory. Dr Nazarpour will offer a parallel human-learning prosthetic-control paradigm that offers much more flexibility than existing machine learning algorithms. With supporting early results, he will discuss why the development of human-in-loop machine learning for prosthetic control is possible and timely and how we have set out to achieve it.

Peter Wells Memorial Lecture - The ups and downs of machine learning for prosthetic control

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.

Informatics Outreach and Public Engagement Directory

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.

Public Engagement webform

For latest opportunities please check CSE PE blog for more info.

CSE Public Engagement update

Call for participants - Edinburgh Science Festival, deadline: 23rd Dec

The Edinburgh Science Festival has recently announced its annual Call for Ideas. The next festival will NOT run over Easter as it traditionally does. Instead, it will return on Sat 26th June - Sun 11th July 2021. For the 2021 programme the focus will be on outdoor experiences (e.g. walking trails, tours, exhibitions, etc.) and events on digital platforms. Shows for all ages, as well as discussions, interactive events, debates, and workshops are all definitely welcome, as are art-based approaches! The festival theme is One World: how we are all connected to each other, the planet, and the wider Universe. They aim to celebrate the anniversaries of the human genome (20th), email, floppy discs, the world food programme (all 50th!), and Yuri Gagarin in space (60th); climate and sustainability is also a prime focus in the run up to COP26 in Scotland. The deadline for submissions is 23rd Dec.

Edinburgh Science Festival call for ideas

Given the shift in emphasis away from large, indoor events to outdoor/digital engagement, the University's Family Programme (usually held in the National Museum of Scotland) will not be running in 2021. This development offers us an opportunity to reflect on what is most valuable for a central, cross-University presence in the Edinburgh Science Festival programme. Therefore, if you are considering making a contribution to Edinburgh Science Festival 2021, it would be appreciated if you could share your ideas with one of the people below in advance of your submission as soon as possible. Understanding what colleagues are most interested and capable of delivering, will help us to shape a coordinated contribution. (To be clear, this doesn't mean that other submissions to the festival programme are prohibited! You can still submit something independently.)

CSE Contact: Stuart Dunbar

Call for photo contributions - Edinburgh Science Festival, deadline: 23rd Dec

Given the greater attention on outdoor engagement for the 2021 programme, the festival organisers are running a separate call for a photo exhibition which has the main potential themes of food and sustainability, and human connections with nature. This exhibition will be held in a prominent location in the city - in previous locations include the Scottish Parliament, the Mound, Portobello Promenade... Images (at least 5906 x 3545 pixels) that are visually striking and communicate a story are of particular interest.

For further details see the second column in the Call for Ideas webpage

Call for researchers - Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CODI) 2021, deadline: 4th Dec

Ever fancied getting on stage and sharing your research at the world’s largest arts festival – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas (CODI), currently in its eighth year is your opportunity to do just that. CODI is a collaborative engagement project between the four Edinburgh universities, local comedians, Fair Pley Productions and the Stand Comedy Club. 

The University's Central Public Engagement Team will work with you to develop a Fringe show to engage the public. Interested? Sign up for one of the “So this is CODI” information sessions in November:

Register for So this is CODI, Thurs 19th Nov 2020, 10:00 – 11:00

Register for So this is CODI, Tues 24th Nov 2020, 14:00 – 15:00

Alternatively you can find out more through the CODI website, or if you already have an idea of what you would like to do a show about, until the 4th Dec you can fill out the expression of interest form (filling in the form is not binding - it just allows the team to gauge interest and get a feel for the programme.) Although it is impossible to say exactly how the Fringe will return in 2021 at this stage, planning is necessary at this stage to enable any chance of the CODI events taking place. In 2020, despite the challenges, CODI shows were delivered online and through live-streamed productions.

CODI website

Expression of interest form

Call for exhibitors - STEM for Britain, 8th Mar (deadline: 14th Dec)

Running since 1997, the STEM for Britain poster competition and exhibition is an annual opportunity for early-career scientists, engineers and mathematicians to engage directly with both Houses of Parliament in the UK (Commons and Lords) and give parliamentarians insights into the research undertaken in UK universities. The main areas in the exhibition are Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Chemistry; Engineering; Mathematical Sciences; and Physics. On 8th Mar (during British Science Week), STEM for Britain will take place online. 

Details about the 2020 event can be found on thr competition homepage. Full details of the competition process (and FAQs) can be found in the How to Apply page. The initial deadline is 14th Dec.

STEM for Britain homepage

How to Apply page

Digital Innovation and Engagement Fund

For those already collaborating with museums, you might like to know that the Museums Association has partnered with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and creative design agency The Liminal Space to launch a new £400k Digital Innovation and Engagement Fund for their institutional member museums. The new fund will provide a series of grants of up to £50k to scale up and evaluate the new ways of working that museums have developed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Further details about the Digital Innovation and Engagement Fund

Call for Award Lecture applications, British Science Festival, deadline: 3rd Dec

The British Science Association is seeking applications for their seven Award Lectureships which are available to early career academics (less than 5 years' continuous post-doctoral experience) who are skilled at engaging people with their research. These Award Lectures aim to promote open and informed discussion of science and related disciplines. Awards are available in seven different areas: a) Social sciences; b) Engineering, technology and industry; c) Environmental sciences; d) Agricultural, biological and medical sciences; e) Physical sciences and mathematics; f) Digital innovation; and g) Science and the arts. The selected lecturers receive an all-expenses paid trip to the British Science Festival where they will present their lecture in an outdoor setting, as well as public speaking coaching and a £250 honorarium. There may also be other opportunities to present the Award Lecture at other science festivals in the UK.

More information, including the application process and FAQs, can be found on the BSA News page. The application deadline is 3rd Dec. Any queries can be emailed to Hannah Lawrence.

BSA news page

 Email Hannah Lawrence

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. 

List and feedback on training courses

Submit feedback

Informatics Social Bulletin

Due to popular demand, we bring you a completely new and refreshed version of our Lockdown Bulletin - Informatics Social Bulletin. We have moved all the content that you found useful to our blog, so head there to find out more.

This month we're getting excited for Christmas and starting to think about shopping for gifts. With Coronavirus making it difficult for us to get together with our family and friends, gifts become an important way of staying connected and showing that you care, both about loved ones and local, independent businesses. Amazon is easy and efficient and has anything you could possibly think of, but the  uniqueness and consideration provided by local products from independent businesses adds a special touch that we could all do with this Christmas. Head to our blog to get some ideas for what to buy and from where this year, and share your own favourite sellers with our poll!

Scottish Government latest updates roundup

Christmas Shopping: Alternatives to Amazon

Best of InfGeneral

This month's best of inf-general award goes to Lynda Webb who compiled a comprehensive list of collaborative online workspaces, a resource any one working remotely will appreciate. The favourites were Miro, Invision freehand, Jamboard from Google (if you're okay with Google storing all that data), One Note and Whimsical. Interestingly, nobody mentioned Mural. Thanks Lynda for collating and sharing everyone's recommendations!

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.


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