As part of its mission to develop a next generation of leaders in the computing research community, the Computing Research Association‘s Computing Community Consortium (CCC) announces the second offering of the CCC Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI), intended to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. We seek nominations for participants.

LiSPI will be centered around a two day workshop to be held April 11-12, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (More details)

LiSPI will feature presentations and discussions with science policy experts, current and former Hill staff, and relevant agency and Administration personnel about mechanics of the legislative process, interacting with agencies, advisory committees, and the federal case for computing. (You can find a list of sessions and speakers from our first offering last November here.)

LiSPI participants are expected to

  • Complete a reading assignment and a short written homework prior to attending the workshop, so that time spent at the workshop can focus on more advanced content,
  • Attend the April 11-12th workshop, which includes breakfast both days, lunch, and a reception with the speakers and invited guests at the conclusion of the first day, and
  • Complete a small-group assignment afterwards that puts to use the workshop content on a CCC-inspired problem—perhaps writing an argument in favor of particular initiative for an agency audience, or drafting sample testimony on a CCC topic.

LiSPI is not intended for individuals who wish to undertake research on science policy, become science policy fellows, or take permanent positions in Washington, DC. Rather, we are trying to reach work-a-day academics who appreciate that our field must be engaged in helping government.

The CCC will provide funds for hotel accommodations for two nights of local expenses (hotel, meals) for the April 11-12 workshops. Nominees are expected to pay their own travel expenses, though there will be a limited fund available for participants who cannot attend unless their travel is provided.

Eligibility and Nomination Process

LiSPI participants are expected to have the experience and flexibility in their current positions to engage with government. University faculty members should be from CS or IS departments and be post-tenure; industrial researchers should have comparable seniority. Participants should be adept at communicating. They must be nominated by their chair or department head and must have demonstrated an interest in science policy, especially as it relates to computer science (and closely allied fields).

Specifically, the nomination process is as follows

  • A chair or department head proposes a LiSPI candidate by visiting (http://www.cra.org/ccc/spi_nomination.php) and providing the name and institution of the nominee, along with a letter of recommendation.
  • The candidate will then be contacted by the CCC and asked to submit a CV, a short essay detailing their interests in science policy, and an indication of whether they would require financial aid to attend.

All nominations and material from nominators and nominees must be received by December 14, 2012.

Selection Process

The LiSPI selection committee will evaluate each nomination based on record of accomplishment, proven ability to communicate, and promise. Selections will be announced by the year end. We plan to open the workshop to 60 participants.

Please discuss this opportunity with your colleagues, identify those you believe would be interested in participating, and submit nominations!

 

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(The following is cross-posted with CRA’s Computing Community Consortium blog)

The Computing Research Association recently published the results of its annual Taulbee Survey, and the numbers of PostDocs rose to record levels, continuing a trend that we have witnessed for more than a decade — and bringing new meaning to the CRA’s PostDoc white paper effort.

Background

As we have blogged here before, CRA — the umbrella organization of the CCC — initiated an effort last fall to engage the community in a conversation about PostDocs, at a time when a growing number of new CS PhDs appeared to be going that route. A committee commissioned by CRA prepared a white paper reporting the statistics associated with academic and industry hiring, with the aim of providing a starting point for further discussion throughout the community. The white paper was posted online on Feb. 2 – http://cra.org/postdocs — and we have received some comments on the companion web forum.

New Survey Data

Based on this year’s Taulbee Survey data, the three-year rolling average for the number of new PhDs pursuing PostDocs rose from 159 in 2009 to 218 in 2010 — an increase of 37% in just one year. That’s on top of a tripling in the number of PostDocs observed during the 12-year period from 1998 through 2009, as reported in the white paper, suggesting that the trend toward PostDocs is not only continuing but perhaps also accelerating.  Meanwhile, the number of new PhDs who pursued tenure-track faculty appointments declined yet again, from 151 in 2009 to 137 in 2010, or 9% (three-year rolling averages). (The numbers of new PhDs pursuing other positions, including teaching and research appointments in academia, positions in industry, etc., remained essentially flat.)

Here’s a graph showing the hiring of new computer science PhDs from U.S. and Canadian universities from 1998 through 2010 (three-year rolling averages):

Hiring of new computer science PhDs from U.S. and Canadian universities, as a 3-year rolling average, 1998-2010

And taking a closer look at just the academic positions:

Academic hiring of new computer science PhDs from U.S. and Canadian universities, as a 3-year rolling average, 1998-2010

(For comparison purposes, these graphs are updates to Figures 1 and 2 in the original white paper.)

We Need Your Input

What do you think about these trends — and the implications for PostDocs, graduate students, faculty, universities, companies, and the field as a whole? Please discuss the white paper with your colleagues within your departments and labs — and post your views about this trend and PostDocs generally on the companion web forum: http://cra.org/postdocs. Some things to consider:

  • Should funders increase or decrease the number of PostDocs in response to the economy, or, more explicitly, in response to academic and industrial hiring trends?
  • Does an increase in funding of PostDocs come at the expense of funding for graduate students? If so, at what point does the growth in PostDoc positions begin to threaten the pipeline of next-generation researchers?
  • Is the PostDoc the most effective way to encourage interdisciplinary interactions?
  • Are there reasons to maintain a PostDoc pipeline in one computing subfield at a higher level than in another?
  • To what degree is a PostDoc experience helpful for a researcher who will take a non-academic position?
  • Is there a gender difference in terms of the impact on PostDocs?
  • To what extent should the computer science community be engaged in setting guidelines for the balance between PostDocs and students, if the total amount of funding is roughly constant?

Your input is immensely valuable, as the committee will soon compile and articulate the consensus of the community, if any, on this issue.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director, and Member, CRA’s PostDoc Committee)

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(Crossposted with the CCC Blog!)

Today, the Computing Community Consortium, a standing committee of the Computing Research Association, is pleased to announce a call for 2011-12 Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows). The CIFellows Project, established in 2009 with support from the National Science Foundation, offers recent Ph.D. graduates in computer science, computer engineering, information science, or a closely related field an exciting opportunity to obtain one- to two-year positions at universities, industrial research laboratories, and other organizations that are pursuing innovation in computing and its positive impact on society. I encourage applications from recently graduated/graduating Ph.D.s by the May 31, 2011, deadline!

Program details

The goals of the CIFellows Project are to retain new Ph.D. scholars in research and teaching during challenging economic times, while also supporting intellectual renewal and diversity in the computing fields at U.S. organizations. A total of 107 Ph.D.s have been supported through the program since 2009. These CIFellows have received outstanding research and teaching enrichment experiences, and several have landed permanent positions (including tenure-track faculty appointments) in academia and industry as a result of their experiences. (For more details, see here and here for previous blog posts about our CIFellows.)

CRA/CCC will make awards for the 2011-12 academic year. The exact number of awards will be contingent upon the quality of applications received as well as the outcome of a proposal for funding that we have submitted.

For prospective applicants

Graduates awarded the Ph.D. or equivalent from U.S. institutions between May 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2011, have until 5 p.m. EDT on May 31, 2011, to apply to be a 2011-12 CIFellow. Applications must be submitted online (through the CIFellows Project website).

All applicants must secure and submit written commitments from one to three prospective hosts/mentors at U.S. institutions. Each prospective mentor must be with an organization other than the institution of the applicant’s graduate research, and the CIFellow is expected to be in residence at the mentor’s organization during the CIFellowship period. (You can find possible mentors at a matchmaking website we’ve created.) Applicants must also provide (a) statements describing their research accomplishments and goals for the CIFellowship; (b) a letter from the Ph.D. advisor or department chair affirming their graduation date; and (c) two confidential letters of recommendation that are to be submitted separately by the application deadline.

CRA/CCC will announce the awards by July 15, 2011, and the positions will begin this fall.

For prospective mentors

If you are interested in hosting a 2011-12 CIFellow, please create a profile on the CIFellows Project matchmaking website as soon as possible.  You need only specify your name, location, personal research webpage URL (if you have one), a few keywords describing your research interests, and your e-mail address. We are pointing candidates to this website as a resource for finding mentors.

Those of you who may have already created a profile on this website in past years, please visit the website and review your information as soon as possible. Any updates may be submittedhere. If you have previously created a profile but are no longer able to host a CIFellow, please tell us that through the update form so that we may archive your profile.

More information

For more information, please visit the CIFellows Project website.  Complete details on the submission procedures for applicants and mentors as well as the eligibility requirements can be found there. Again, all application materials must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on May 31, 2011.

(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC & CIFellows Project Director, and Frans Kaashoek, Chair of the 2011-12 CIFellows Project Steering Committee)

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