Blue Sky Frequently Asked Questions

What is Blue Sky Ideas Track?

The Blue Sky Ideas Track (formerly Outrageous Challenges and Visions Tracks) is a prize-based initiative to encourage out-of-the-box thinking at computer science research conferences. The goal of this initiative is to help conference reach out beyond the usual research papers that present completed work and seek out papers that present ideas and visions that can stimulate the research community to pursue new directions.

Papers in a “Blue Sky Ideas” track should be open-ended, possibly “outrageous” or “wacky,” and present new problems, new application domains, or new methodologies that are likely to stimulate significant new research. Because a “Blue Sky Ideas” track targets not research results, but rather ideas leading to future research, submissions to this track should not present work likely to be submitted to a conference within the next year nor topics suitable for a current research proposal.

What are the goals of the Blue Sky Ideas Track?

  • Stimulate out-of-the-box ideas
  • Create a venue that accepts such work unlike standard conferences
  • Create a buzz about these ideas at the conference itself
  • Maintain a lasting presence for the session

What conferences have hosted the Blue Sky Ideas Track?

This track has been hosted at numerous conferences across the world (formerly Visionary Conference tracks), for a full list of funded tracks please visit: /ccc/visioning/blue-sky

How are the winners notified and how are their prizes awarded?

We recommend that the conference track co-chairs present awards to winners during the conference award session.

Who provides the awards?

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) can furnish certificate awards, which can be sent to the conference before winners are announced.

What exactly is awarded to winners?

Prize money is awarded to the top 3 papers (first prize $1000, second prize $750, and third prize $500) in the form of travel grants. Winners may request travel support for the conference that hosted the track or winners may request travel support for another conference/workshop up to six months from the award date.

Since papers often include multiple authors and/or contributors, who is awarded the prize money?

The total reward for first prize is $1000, second prize $750, and third prize $500. It is up to the authors and/or contributors to decide how the money is distributed.

Can winners request cash instead of the travel reimbursement?

No, prize money is explicitly to support travel to/from another computing conference or workshop.

What types of expenses are eligible for the travel grants?

  • Airfare
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Conference registration fees

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC), which operates under the Computing Research Association (CRA), follows standard federal travel policies (e.g.,airfare must be economy class, U.S. flag carriers, no alcohol reimbursements). In addition, we require receipts for all expenses >=$75.

If you are unsure of what is reimbursable, we prefer you to contact us BEFORE you make a purchase.

How are winners notified?

Once the conference organizers notify the CCC of the Blue Sky Ideas track winner, the CCC will send an email congratulating the appropriate parities with instructions on how to claim their travel grants.

I’m a winner, how should I submit my travel reimbursement?

To submit a travel reimbursement, please complete the reimbursement form that you were provided with from the CCC and then e-mail it, along with scanned copies of all relevant receipts as ONE PDF to invoice@cra.anybill.com, cc’ing blueskyideas@cra.org.

Does the track need to include an open call for papers with a program committee?

Yes, an open call for papers needs to be submitted with a program committee. The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) can also post your call for papers on our blog at cccblog.org.

Should the tracks only include invited entries?

Given that the Blue Sky Ideas track is looking for out-of-the-box ideas, beyond the usual research papers that present completed work, tracks should be open to the public.

Can a winning entry be an oral presentation (or video) without a short paper in the conference proceedings?

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) prefers short paper entries in conference proceedings for the purpose of dissemination to the computing community.

What is the recommended length of short papers for conference proceedings?

Does the selection of winning entries require CCC input?

Winning entries do not require CCC input, however we have a council of 20 researchers from both industry and academia. Program committees are welcome to invite them to serve on a program committee if they wish, but this is not required. To view our current council, along with their bios, please visit: /ccc/about/ccc-council-members