Creating Visions for Computing Research: An Open Call for Workshop Proposals
The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) invites proposals for visioning workshops that will catalyze and enable innovative research at the frontiers of computing. Successful activities will articulate new research visions, galvanize community interest in those visions, mobilize support for those visions from the computing research community, government leaders, and funding agencies, and encourage broader segments of society to participate in computing research and education.
The majority of visioning activities have been in-person workshops, and we feel strongly that in-person activities are the best way to engage in the topics as a community. However, the pandemic has taught us how to be flexible and brought to light benefits of meeting remotely as well. Our preference is still to hold in-person visioning activities, but we also encourage organizers to think about hybrid modalities, perhaps with two meetings – one in-person and one virtual, that can engage a broader audience. Activity organizers are expected to bring together a diverse group of scientists and practitioners who can inform the area of interest, and to formulate a program that encourages new ideas, innovative thinking, and broad discussion. Workshops can be of varying sizes, typically ranging from 20 to 100 participants (though we have found that 30-50 is typically the ideal size). It is important that the participants cover a broad spectrum to ensure full coverage of the area, both in terms of content area representation, employment setting (academia, industry, research labs, and policy and funding organizations) and participants (seniority, gender, race).
Workshop Structure and Criteria
Workshops are required to have a tangible output – for example, a whitepaper (or set thereof) or workshop report. Workshop outcomes should be targeted to multiple audiences (the research community, science policy groups or funding agencies, the general public), and the deliverables should be tailored for easy dissemination. CCC will help to support both workshop organization and the subsequent generation and communication of the output.
The CCC can also support smaller gatherings, like roundtables, on timely topics as well as colocating workshops at existing conferences as long as the plan includes bringing new perspectives into the workshop and roundtable discussions.
The CCC encourages creative ideas from all segments of the computing research community on topics ranging from the formulation of new research areas and technologies to the use of new or existing research ideas and technologies to address important scientific or societal challenges.
Review Process and Criteria
Each proposal will be reviewed based on its potential to engage a segment of the research community, policy, and funding agencies around a compelling vision and need. Feedback from the CCC will be provided in a timely manner (typically within 4-8 weeks). The final proposal will require approval by the entire CCC Council.
Proposals may be submitted by email anytime to email@example.com as an attachment in PDF, Postscript, or Word. For CCC planning purposes, proposals must be submitted at least six months before the proposed date for the workshop.
Questions about this RFP should also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCC/CRA Staff Support
CCC/CRA staff supports workshops so that workshop organizers can use their talents most effectively and function more like a technical program chair than a general chair. Staff handle logistics like obtaining venue, inviting participants, arranging hotel rooms, implementing meeting logistics (rooms, A/V, and meals), and handling travel reimbursements. Organizers—in consultation with CCC—determine meeting topics and goals, prepare lists of invitees, arrange workshop schedule including choosing any speakers, run the workshop, and prepare follow-up (talks and report) to enhance the workshop’s impact.
Visioning Workshop Proposal Best Practices
When developing a proposal, keep the following in mind:
- This is a proposal for an activity (or activities) to define a direction or to create and grow a community. This is not a research proposal, nor a proposal to assemble a group to write a research proposal.
- Be sure to have a plan to engage a diverse community: diverse with respect to discipline (both within and outside of computing), age, gender, ethnicity, institution, and intellectual approaches within the field and in adjacent fields.
- A problem is not enough. There should be a clear case for why there is currently an opportunity for progress in the area and some idea (though, of course, not definitive) of how we might be able to achieve that progress.
- Regarding outcomes: it would be helpful to think about and share what it would take for a federal agency to develop a program around the direction you’re proposing or a place (e.g. CISE Directorate within NSF) where this new research area could be housed.
Examples of Successful CCC Visioning Proposals
Preparing a Visioning Workshop Proposal
Proposed activities can take many forms. A small group of people might have an idea and want to engage a larger, more established community to create a vision for a new research agenda that broadens the scope of the topic and creates community interest in it. A group of researchers may wish to re-energize a community by organizing a series of workshops to create a roadmap for the field. An interdisciplinary group may need to bring multiple communities together to catalyze a new interdisciplinary research area. In all cases, the proposing group is expected to have the research expertise, visibility, and leadership skills necessary to make the proposed effort a success.
As a first step before starting work on a full proposal, we encourage submission of a short letter of intent, submitted to email@example.com (no more than one page in length), that briefly addresses the key points listed below. CCC will provide initial feedback for use in helping you to prepare a full proposal as per the guidelines.
The length of the full project proposal should be commensurate with the scope of the proposed activities, but not longer than six (6) pages. Note that we seek activities that create visions for broad research agendas, not proposals whose primary purpose is to secure future funding for the participants.
A well-formulated proposal should do the following:
- Describe the visioning topic area and its current state of development within the field,
- Explain the proposed activities in detail (if more than one activity, be sure to demonstrate the differences between the activities, the rationale for more than one activity, and the mechanisms to coordinate across activities),
- Connect the activity and the vision: how does the former support/foster the latter?
- Justify why this vision and this activity are important and appropriate now,
- Specify the intended outcomes of the activity, and
- Describe how those outcomes can be used to advance the visioning topic area.
A complete proposal must also
- Identify the organizing committee,
- Include brief biographical sketches of the organizers,
- Propose a representative set of potential invitees (be sure to include representation from industry, policy and funding organizations),
- Provide a draft budget with justification, and
- Articulate how the success of the activity and its outcomes can be assessed.
Funded activities are expected to have tangible outputs to share with the community. The engagement can expect to last from six months to two years, depending on the scope of the activity. Requested support can range from funding a roundtable discussion to help ideas germinate to a series of workshops over a number of years. Budgets can range in size from $10,000 and upward, depending on the size and scope of effort that will be supported. Keep in mind that larger efforts (multiple workshops, higher budgets, etc.) can become too broad, making it difficult to bring the final products together. The Organizers are expected to lead the effort on behalf of the community, so the CCC will not cover salary support for the Organizers. Exceptions to these guidelines need to be very well justified. Any budget questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.