Informatics Newsletter September 2015

Welcome to the first School of Informatics newsletter!

Johanna Moore picture

The first of its kind, the newsletter is designed to keep you informed on all staff and school related issues. We want it to be a two way communication channel so if you have ideas or suggestions for content then please get in touch with the KM Team.



School news: Strategy refresh

The School is undertaking a refresh of its strategy. Three strategic priorities have been identified:

  • Enhanced student experience
  • Demonstrable impact
  • Even more research excellence

These will be facilitated by the key enabler of income growth and by further developing strategic engagements and collaborations. Working groups will undertake the detailed work on how we will take forward our priorities, over the coming months.

More information is available on the staff intranet.


Research success stories

Sky News were filming our robotics staff and students in September, you can watch the footage here:

Congratulations to Elham Kashefi who has been awarded an EPSRC Established Career Quantum Tech Fellowship for a project which will look to verify and validate potential quantum technologies, from full scale computers and simulators, to communication networks with devices of varying size and complexity. Elham was the only computer scientist to receive a fellowship.

Bob Fisher has been awarded EU funding to prototype and research into the underlying robotics of the first outdoor garden trimming robot, TrimBot2020. The project will begin in January 2016.

Wenfei Fan has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for the project "GRACE - Resource Bounded Graph Query Answering" running from November 2015 to September 2020.

Congratulations to final year MInf student, Marija Pinkute, who was runner up in the Young Software Engineer of the Year 2015 awards.

Media coverage has been extensive on a recent research project within the School which looked at how our brains can form first impressions, led by Jim Bednar.  

The quality of our graduates has also been highlighted in a number of recent articles on the success of the tech sector in Edinburgh.

For other news from the School see:


Athena Swan Logo

Athena SWAN Silver Award renewal 

The School will be applying for the renewal of its Athena SWAN Silver Award, early in the New Year. We are busy preparing our renewal application and staff will be asked to provide updated information in the form of a survey and also to complete some short on-line training modules. Our Silver Award was a great achievement. It is important that we demonstrate the further progress that we have made in promoting gender equality within the School, as part of the renewal process.


National Student Survey 2015

In the 2015 National Student Survey (NSS) of final year undergraduate students, the School achieved an 'overall satisfaction' score of 88%; similar to the 2014/15 survey. Scores on other measures were also broadly similar to the previous year. The University's average satisfaction score was 84%, a small improvement on 2014, and the highest scoring School was Biological Sciences, at 96% satisfaction.


The Alan Turing Institute

Professor Andrew Blake has been appointed as Director of The Alan Turing Institute (TATI). Professor Blake gained his PhD  in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh and subsequently was a member of faculty in the University's Department of Computer Science (which later became a part of the School of Informatics). Current TATI activities include a series of scoping workshops and summits.


Buildings updates

Following the decant from Appleton Tower, Informatics teaching is now based in Forrest Hill and the Commercialisation team and some of the Computing Support team are in the Wilkie Building.

We are investigating whether it is possible to undertake some internal works within Appleton Tower in order to enhance the teaching facilities. It is hoped that this could take place without disrupting the Appleton Tower re-clad project, which is on schedule for our return next summer.

Thanks to all for their patience during the works within the Informatics Forum over the summer. Further works will be required in the summer of 2016 to allow us to accommodate growing numbers. Details of these works are yet to be determined.

Work on the third phase of the Potterow development (aka the Data Technology Institute) is due to start in January 2016 with occupancy from January 2018. At the moment it is anticipated that Robotics, Design Informatics and the Centres for Doctoral Training will be accommodated with the DTI (along with activities belonging to other parts of the University).


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Alumni profiles   

Do you keep in touch with your former students? Ever wondered what some of our graduates are doing now? We've been in touch to find out.


Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to provide content for the next School Newsletter please get in touch!