SICSA Conference on Big Data Science Innovations: Prospects in Smart Cities, Media and Governance

University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA,
Friday, 18 November 2016

Call for Abstracts & Participation

Free Registration deadline: 12noon, 16 November (Eventbrite Registration Link LIMITED PLACES!)

Note: Due to limited places (and priority for PhD students), on-line Registrations for "General Admission" are now only being conditionally accepted (confirmation emails will be sent by 15 Nov, in case any additional places become available)

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Big Data Science has undoubtedly gained relevance in various sectors of society, and efforts to harness its potential have become a priority for the industry, government, and academia alike. The recent, Scottish Government driven Smart Cities Alliance initiative is a prime example of an imminent shift towards future data-driven societies, whereby big data empowers: a) city governments, including through e-governance and open data platforms; b) journalists, for example, through the adoption of web metrics to develop news agenda, Big data/content management systems and embryonic forms of artificial intelligence for newsrooms; and c) citizens, including through their active engagement in compiling, disseminating and interpreting Big Data, subsequently leading to the development of smart applications with the potential to enhance civic society. 

Last year’s announcement by the Scottish Infrastructure and Cities Secretary, Keith Brown, that a 15 million euro (£11.1 million) fund would be allocated to help make Scotland's cities "smarter" through the use of new cutting-edge technological infrastructure, has made it clear that the development and management of big data analytic systems is to be a priority within the strategic planning of seven Scottish cities forming the Scottish Cities Alliance. Within this ecosystem, it is of paramount importance that academia becomes a complementary actor assisting in the design, evolution, explanation and evaluation of the technological infrastructures mediating public life.

This first of its kind, one-day SICSA funded Conference seeks to create networking space where data scientists, technologists and scholars involved with journalism, governance, and civic life can deliberate on best ways to boost the development and exploitation of big data analytics, particularly in Scotland. The goal is to impart an understanding of the strengths and limitations of some of the key data science technologies as they impact the future development of smart cities, open governance and data journalism. In particular, we will explore implications of current approaches to data analysis within city government, local news, academic public research and civic engagement, and ask whether they are compatible with a healthy, democratic and self-sustainable agenda of innovation.


We invite multi-disciplinary academics, PhD research students, technologists, policy makers, media practitioners, community developers and think tanks interested in Big Data Science. The conference is intended to stimulate discussions on the following key themes:


* The current state-of-the-art within the emerging Scottish (and global) socio-technical ecosystem in smart cities, open governance, data journalism and civic innovation.

* The potential risks and benefits to this ecosystem emerging from current trends in data science and artificial intelligence

Call for Abstracts, Research Posters Session:

In addition to invited Talks, there will also be a Research Posters Session open to both PhD students and academics (covering all multidisciplinary Conference topics, ranging from Big Data Science technologies to applications in future smart cities, media, data journalism, and e-governance). Authors of selected best (poster) presentations will be invited to submit extended papers for publication in a special issue of BMC Big Data Analytics journal (published by BioMed Central (BMC)(

Note: Only A2 size poster allowed

Venue, & Travel

The Conference will be held in the Court Room, Cottrell Building, Division of Computing Science and Maths, School of Natural Sciences, at the University of Stirling. Travel directions and maps can be found at:


Accommodation options include the on-Campus Stirling Management Centre (, as well as numerous local B&Bs, including the Lynedoch B&B which is walking distance from the Campus (Contact: Ms. Sandra Skerry 01786 832 178). For more options, see:

Conference Organisers & Co-Chairs

Important Dates

Abstract submissions deadline : 15 Nov 2016
(max 300 word no more than one A4 page, including references, 10pt text with 2cm all line margins )

Decisions Due: 16 Nov 2016

Conference dates: Fri, 18 November 2016


Registration is FREE and includes lunch - refreshments, and a soft copy of the conference cbstract proceedings

Free Registration deadline: 12noon, 16 November (Eventbrite Registration Link - LIMITED PLACES!)

Note: Due to limited places (and priority for PhD students), on-line Registrations for "General Admission" are now only being conditionally accepted (confirmation emails will be sent by 15 Nov, in case any additional places become available)

NOTE for SICSA PhD students

SICSA, as part of its sponsorship of this Conference, is covering the full registration fee for ALL (SICSA and non-SICSA funded) PhD students in computer science departments of SICSA member Scottish universities (for a full list of SICSA Universities, see: The number of SICSA students is limited and a decision on ranking may be taken if necessary. Note that SICSA sponsored PhD students will be responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses to get to Stirling – they should be able to access local support from their own Schools/Departments to support such travel. All SICSA PhD students are required to include a short statement on their research interests and achievements (no more than 200 words - including career stage and publication details if any) - at the time of submitting their Abstract.

Local Organizing Team

Conference schedule


Tea/Coffee Reception


Welcome by Conference co-Chairs


Keynote speech: Data Science and Journalism

Dr. Bahareh Heravi (University College Dublin)

Dr Heravi is the co-founder of Irish Times Data and former Lead Data Scientist and Data Journalist at the Irish Times. She also founded Hacks/Hackers Dublin, which aims to bring 'hacks' & 'hackers' together.

This talk will introduce the concept of Data Journalism, presents a number of examples in the area, and discuss they ways in which the new (big) data revolution has affected the newsrooms and journalism practices. Dr. Heravi will further discuss how various data and information science tools and techniques are and could be used in the areas of journalism, news reporting and storytelling. She will also discuss how the roles in newsrooms are changing, and how newsrooms around the worlds are now employing data scientists in the heart of their newsrooms.


Big Data Analytics: A tutorial-based Advanced Introduction

Dr Adeel Ahsan and Prof Amir Hussain

(Cognitive Big Data Informatics (CogBID) Research Lab, Division of Computing Science, University of Stirling - Dr Ahsan is a senior postdoctoral CogBID Lab research fellow; Prof Hussain is CogBID Lab Director, and Lead PI on numerous related UK Research Council and industry funded projects, including multi-modal Big Data (audio-visual) analytics for next-generation Smart Cars and Hearing technologies, and multi-lingual Big Data sentiment and opinion mining. Prof. Hussain is Founding Chief Editor of BMC Big Data Analytics,& Springer’s Cognitive Computation journals)

For more information: Click here

12 PM:



Invited Talk: THE DATA LAB

Joshua Ryan-Saha (Skills Programme Manager)


Invited Talk: SayAsYouGo Scotland: Data Analytics and Visualization for Public Opinion Mining

Zara Gold (SayAsYouGo Ltd.)

For more information: Click here


Invited Talk: Open Data and e-Governance Rory Gianni (Clackmannanshire Council, Open Data Scotland)

Rory is a web-developer and an Open Data Institute (ODI) registered open data trainer. He co-founded Tirami Ltd, a company specialising in civic technology for local government and open digital services infrastructure.

Open Technology for Local Government: In this session Rory will share experiences of building civic technology, and in particular lessons learnt during the 2014 Code for Europe residency programme with Clackmannanshire Council.


Research Posters Session (including Tea/Coffee)


Concluding Session/Wrap Up

SICSA, University of Stirling, IEEE UK & RI Industry Applications Society Chapter