In early 2009, the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), launched the Computing Innovation Fellows Project, a short-term initiative providing recent Ph.D.s with one- to two-year postdoctoral positions at academic institutions and industrial organizations with fundamental computing research and education programs. Three years later, we have developed a new website: https://cra.org/ccc/cifellows to establish a permanent record for the program.
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.
Entering the workforce following the support and protection of graduate school can be challenging. These challenges were compounded by a difficult economy with limited prospects for research and academic positions in 2009.
During his presentation at the CIFellows Research Meeting & Career Mentoring Workshop in December1, Microsoft’s Peter Lee shared his motivations for creating the program. Beyond giving recent PhDs an opportunity to remain in academia during a time when obtaining an academic job is more difficult than usual, he saw the program as a way to “create a cadre of highly independent computing researchers.”
Nearly 80 Computing Innovation Fellows (http://cifellows.org) descended on Washing-ton, DC, in mid-December for the 2010 CIFellows Project Research Meeting and Career Mentoring Workshop (http://cifellows.org/network/agenda). Funded by the National Science Foundation and run by the Computing Research Association and Computing Community Con-sortium, this meeting provided the 2009 and 2010 CIFellows with opportunities to network with one another and to receive career advice from leading experts in the field.
CRATaulbee Data Analysis
For a second straight year, this summer the Computing Research Association, with fund-ing from the National Science Foundation, extended offers of one- to two-year postdoctoral fel-lowships to new Ph.D.s, in an attempt to retain recent graduates in computing research and teaching during difficult economic times (see 1,2 for details). A key requirement of the CIFellows Project has been to support intellectual diversity in computing fields at U.S. organizations.
Earlier this spring, the National Science Foundation awarded the Computing Research Association a new grant for a “Second CIFellows Project,” enabling a new set of 47 recent Ph.D. graduates to be supported as Computing Innovation Fellows beginning this fall.
Last fall, 60 recent Ph.D. graduates were awarded Computing Innovation Fellowships supporting postdoctoral positions at research institutions throughout the country. This first-ever initiative coordinated by the computing research community was funded by the National Science Foundation and sought to retain new Ph.D.s in research and teaching during difficult economic times, as well as to support intellectual renewal and diversity in computing at U.S. organizations.
In this difficult economic time many Ph.D. graduates would be lost to the research and education track if—due to severely reduced hiring by universities and research labs—they accepted positions that would not permit them to pursue their independent scholarly interests. Doing this would diminish dramatically the possibility of a future research career.