Despite the bad weather affecting travel across much of the nation, nearly 80 Computing Innovation Fellows have arrived in the Washington, DC, area today for the 2010 CIFellows Project Research Meeting and Career Mentoring Workshop. Funded by the National Science Foundation and run by the Computing Research Association and Computing Community Consortium, this meeting is intended to provide CIFellows with opportunities to network with one another and to receive career advice from leading experts in the field.
The agenda includes:
– Talks by NSF/CISE, DARPA, and the Laboratory for Telecommunications Sciences about funding opportunities and how to write compelling proposals;
– A one-minute madness (during which each of the CIFellows has 60 seconds to describe his/her background, research interests, and future career aspirations);
– A poster session with presentations by second-year CIFellows;
– A tutorial on how to write good proposals; and
– A series of talks on planning one’s research career, networking, teaching, mentoring and managing students, landing a permanent position in academia or industry, and managing the work/life balance.
Microsoft’s Peter Lee kicked things off tonight with a captivating dinner keynote presentation, describing his career trajectory, recent clean-slate initiatives he implemented at DARPA, and important observations and lessons about “Being a CIFellow.” He implored upon the CIFellows to be independent thinkers, to always keep in mind the value of basic research, and to be great — to be great researchers. “If in your research you are not failing occasionally, that probably means you are not thinking big enough,” Peter said. “You have to be willing to take risk and… have a few sleepless nights… to really accomplish great things.”
In preparation for the meeting/workshop, the CIFellows uploaded their CVs, one-page research abstracts, one-minute madness slides, and, in the case of the second-year CIFellows, research posters to a new community Web portal for and about the CIFellows: http://cifellows.org/network. Be sure to check it out to learn more about our CIFellows and their cutting-edge research projects.
(As a bit of background: The CIFellows Project was first funded in 2009 to enable recent Ph.D.s in computer science to obtain one- to two-year postdoctoral positions at academic institutions and industrial organizations with basic computing research and education programs. The initiative sought to forestall the permanent loss of research talent likely to occur as a consequence of the financial crisis, and to enable new Ph.D.s to develop additional experience, making them more effective researchers and/or teachers in the long term. Following a successful first year — in which nearly all the CIFellows and their mentors reported positive experiences, and over a quarter of the 60 CIFellows landed permanent positions within academia and industry — the CIFellows Project was funded again in 2010 by NSF, this time with support for 47 CIFellows for two years.)
(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director & CIFellows Project Director)