An epidemic of loneliness existed before COVID-19, especially among teens and older adults, due to social isolation and the resulting lack of social touch and interactions. This isolation led to depression, suicide, and self-harm. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded this issue with more people isolating than ever before (immunocompromised individuals, older adults, and other risk categories). It will take time before these groups can re-enter society safely. At the same time, friends, family, and medical staff struggle to balance their health with patients’ need for clinical and affective touch. I am motivated to find a way to help bridge the gap between staying safe and providing people with the beneficial affective touch we need to feel socially connected.
Computing Research News
With encouragement from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Computer Science and Engineering (CISE), the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) proposed to develop and administer a short-term program that would provide postdoctoral positions for about 60 Ph.D.s – called Computing Innovation Fellows, or CIFellows – for one to two years.
This past spring, the Computing Research Association (CRA) and its Computing Community Consortium (CCC) announced funding for a cohort of Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) for 2021, with strong support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The program sponsors two-year postdoctoral research positions in computing, as well as career development and cohort building activities, to provide a career-enhancing bridge experience for recent Ph.D. graduates. The program aims to address the continued disruption in hiring practices at academic institutions due to COVID-19.
The Computing Research Association (CRA) and Computing Community Consortium (CCC) are pleased to announce a new Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) cohort for 2021. This program aims to provide career-enhancing bridge experiences for recent and soon-to-be PhD graduates in computing to support the computing research pipeline. The CIFellows program is open to researchers whose work falls under the umbrella of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computing and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate.
CRA and CCC are extremely excited to announce the CIFellows for 2020! They comprise 59 diverse researchers covering a broad range of research areas in computing. The class of Fellows is 52% women, come from 46 universities, and will be beginning their fellowships at 43 different universities. You can find out more about each fellow and the program here.
CRA and CCC are pleased to announce a new Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) Program for 2020. This program recognizes the significant disruption to the academic job search caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic uncertainty and aims to provide a career-enhancing bridge experience for recent and soon-to-be PhD graduates in computing.
The goal of the program is to create career growth opportunities that support maintaining the computing research pipeline. This effort takes inspiration from CRA/CCC’s NSF-funded Computing Innovation Fellows Programs with cohorts starting 2009, 2010, and 2011. The program will offer 2 year postdoctoral opportunities in computing, with cohort activities to support career development and community building for this group of Fellows.
We will be hosting a one-hour CIFellow 2020 Informational Webinar on Tuesday, May 26th at 3:00PM ET. Please register for the webinar here.
CERP evaluated the CCC Early Career Researcher Symposium held in Washington, D.C. during August 2018. Evaluation findings showed that participants of the symposium gained potential collaborators for future work. These findings highlight a key feature of the symposium, which was to encourage networking and discussions among peers and leaders from the field.
The Computing Innovation Fellows (CI Fellows) project, was a program that granted short-term postdoctoral fellowships to help keep recent graduates in the field during the economic downturn. Between 2009 and 2011, 127 PhD graduates in computer science and related fields were awarded CI Fellowships. The program has ended and the former CI Fellows are now in the early years of their formal careers.
Applicants who applied to the Computing Innovation (CI) Fellowship Program in 2009, 2010, or 2011 were recruited during the fall of 2013 to complete CERP’s survey of postdoc experiences. We asked a sample of CI Fellows (n = 66) and non-fellows who had other postdoc experiences (i.e., Non-fellow Postdocs; n = 117) to reflect on their career aspirations upon completing their PhD and their career aspirations upon completing their postdoc. Both groups reported the same level of interest in pursuing a tenure track academic career upon PhD completion. Among those who had aspired to a tenure track position at upon completing their PhD, CI Fellows reported greater aspirations for being a tenure track academic after completing their postdoc relative to Non-fellow Postdocs, p < .05. These findings suggest that the CI Fellows postdoc program helped individuals maintain interest in a tenure track academic career.
Applicants who had applied to the Computing Innovation (CI) Fellowship Program in 2009, 2010, or 2011 were recruited during the fall of 2013 to complete CERP’s survey of postdoc experiences. We compared the responses and outcomes of CI Fellows (n = 66) to non-fellows who had other postdoc experiences (i.e., Non-fellow Postdocs; n = 124). CI Fellows reported higher salaries than Non-fellow Postdocs for academic research postdocs, but lower salaries than Non-fellow Postdocs for industry research postdocs, ps < .01. In academic settings, CI Fellows found it easier to live on their postdoc salary and were more satisfied with their pay than Non-fellow Postdocs, ps < .01. In industry settings, there were no group differences in perceived adequacy of pay.
Last month, Google announced the recipients of its Summer 2013 Research Awards, and two former Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) were among the winners: Mohit Tiwari and Katrina Ligget. These awards are made to researchers in computer science which cover tuition for graduate students and provide the opportunity to work with Google scientists and engineers. Tiwari was a 2011 – 2013 CIFellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He is now an Assistant Professor at University of Texas at Austin. He discusses his path as a CIFellow and his Google Research Award below.
During the economic downturn in 2009, Xiaojuan Ma was one of the many new PhDs in computing who considered delaying or abandoning a research career because of insufficient funding. From 2009- 12, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) developed and administered the Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) project, a short-term initiative that addressed this problem by providing funding for 127 postdoctoral positions throughout academia and industry.