2021 CRA Leadership Summit and Board Meeting Highlights

On February 22-23, CRA held its annual Computing Research Leadership Summit for the senior leadership of CRA member societies (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Association for Computing Machinery, CS-Can/Info-Can, IEEE Computer Society, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and USENIX) and winter board meeting.

Leadership Summit Highlights
Several discussions provided useful information on current issues that are of collective importance to the organizations:

  • Dahlia Sokolov, Staff Director for the Research & Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, shared congressional science priorities that focus on a broad innovation agenda, restoring scientific integrity at federal science agencies and increasing diversity and inclusion in the STEM workforce.
  • Computing Community Consortium Chair Liz Bradley gave an update on the CRA Quadrennial Papers initiative, through which CRA released a series of white papers that explored areas and issues around computing research with potential to address national priorities. The impact is starting to be seen on current legislation and proposals.
  • CRA Board Chair Ellen Zegura moderated discussion on what each of the societies are doing around the subject of the societal impact of computing and how the societies can work together on umbrella efforts that cut across organizations. Socially responsible computing is a major theme that emerged from the CRA strategic planning process. 

Board Meeting Highlights
Two leadership summit sessions were held jointly with the CRA board meeting:

  • CRA Director of Government Affairs Peter Harsha discussed the current environment in D.C. for science policy, including the new administration prioritizing input from science in policy making, and issues CRA is following- computing and climate science, emerging technologies, socially responsible computing, and the health of the computing research ecosystem.
  • Margaret Martonosi, Assistant Director for NSF CISE, discussed COVID-19 effects and various actions NSF has taken to mitigate the impacts to the computing community, including supporting the CRA/CCC CIFellows program and greatly expanding REU programs. She also encouraged getting the word out about the CSGrad4US program and the CISE-MSI program, which supports research expansion for Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). The goal of the CISE-MSI program is to broaden participation by increasing the number of CISE-funded research projects from MSIs.

Strategic Planning Implementation
CRA is in the final phase of its strategic planning process, led by Greenway Strategy Group. The strategic planning process has three phases, Analysis, Strategy Development, and Action Planning. Priority outcomes and strategic themes were identified in the Strategy Development Phase, and CRA is currently working on creating action plans for the initiatives identified. The board also discussed possible changes to CRA board governance.

Industry Committee
At the July 2020 board meeting, the board approved the formation of the CRA Industry Committee (CRA-I). CRA-I’s mission is to create a computing research ecosystem that focuses on opportunities with industry to leverage the potential synergies among industry, government, and academia for mutual benefit and improved societal outcomes. The committee is currently going through a process to assess needs through an initial set of interviews with people representing a range of expertise across industry, academia, and government. The committee is also conducting a pilot survey and plans to collaborate with other CRA committees. The board approved funding for a new staff position to support CRA-I activities.

CRA FY22 Executive Committee  
The CRA board of directors held elections for board officers to serve two-year terms beginning July 1, 2021. Nancy Amato was elected chair; Dan Grossman was elected vice-chair; Ran Libeskind-Hadas was re-elected secretary; and James Allan was re-elected treasurer.

Zegura-with-GiftCRA Board Chair Ellen Zegura will end her term at CRA on June 30, 2021. During the meeting, she was presented with a coverstitch machine (complete with a CRA logo attached) as a gift for her service as board chair. She enjoys quilting as a hobby, so we are confident it will be put to good use. CRA is thankful for her outstanding service as board chair for the last two years and board member since 2011. She has served on several committees throughout her time on the board and continues to guide CRA through its strategic planning process.