Archive for the ‘pipeline’ category


Get Schooled on Science Policy: LiSPI Call for Nominations Now Open!

November 24th, 2014

The following is a Computing Research Policy Blog post by Peter Harsha, CRA Director of Government Affairs. 

CCC Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI)As part of its mission to develop a next generation of leaders in the computing research community, the Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium (CCC) announces the third offering of the CCC Leadership in Science Policy Institute (LiSPI), intended to educate computing researchers on how science policy in the U.S. is formulated and how our government works. We seek nominations for participants.

LiSPI will be centered around a two day workshop to be held April 27-28, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Full details of LiSPI are available at:

LiSPI will feature presentations and discussions with science policy experts, current and former Hill staff, and relevant agency and Administration personnel about mechanics of the legislative process, interacting with agencies, advisory committees, and the federal case for computing. A tentative agenda is viewable from the link above. LiSPI participants are expected to

  • Complete a reading assignment and a short written homework prior to attending the workshop, so that time spent at the workshop can focus on more advanced content,
  • Attend the April 27-28th workshop, which includes breakfast both days, lunch, and a reception with the speakers and invited guests at the conclusion of the first day, and
  • Complete a small-group assignment afterwards that puts to use the workshop content on a CCC-inspired problem–perhaps writing an argument in favor of particular initiative for an agency audience, or drafting sample testimony on a CCC topic.

LiSPI is not intended for individuals who wish to undertake research on science policy, become science policy fellows, or take permanent positions in Washington, DC. Rather, we are trying to reach work-a-day academics who appreciate that our field must be engaged in helping government.

The CCC will provide funds for hotel accommodations for two nights of local expenses (hotel, meals) for the April 27-28 workshop. Nominees are expected to pay their own travel expenses, though there will be a limited fund available for participants who cannot attend unless their travel is provided.

Eligibility and Nomination Process

LiSPI participants are expected to have the experience and flexibility in their current positions to engage with government. University faculty members should be from CS or IS departments and be post-tenure; industrial researchers should have comparable seniority. Participants should be adept at communicating. They must be nominated by their chair or department head and must have demonstrated an interest in science policy, especially as it relates to computer science (and closely allied fields).

Specifically, the nomination process is as follows:

  • A chair or department head proposes a LiSPI candidate by visiting the nomination page and providing the name and institution of the nominee, along with a letter of recommendation.
  • The candidate will then be contacted by the CCC and asked to submit a CV, a short essay detailing their interests in science policy, and an indication of whether they would require financial aid to attend.

All nominations and material from nominators and nominees must be received by January 23, 2015.

Selection Process

The LiSPI selection committee will evaluate each nomination based on record of accomplishment, proven ability to communicate, and promise. Selections will be announced by February 15, 2015. We plan to open the workshop to 60 participants.

Please discuss this opportunity with your colleagues, identify those you believe would be interested in participating, and submit nominations!

Organizing Committee:

Fred B. Schneider, Cornell
Chair, CRA Government Affairs Committee

Peter Harsha, CRA
Director of Government Affairs

DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office announces new program to speed funding

November 7th, 2014

DARPA LogoOn November 6, 2014, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office (BTO) announced a new program with a simplified process for engaging with DARPA that will make it easier for businesses to attract up to $700k in seedling funding to pursue capabilities at the intersection of biology and technology.

From Dr. Alicia Jackson, deputy director of DARPA’s BTO:

DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office looks at biology as a technology, with a focus on harnessing living systems or integrating those systems with nonliving systems.  If you look at where we’re already invested, it’s in areas such as human-machine interfaces, synthetic biology, combatting infectious disease and optimizing human health. The ideas we’re seeking would continue that push to integrate biology, engineering, and computer science to create new capabilities relevant to national security. It’s an exciting space, it’s meaningful, and it positions researchers at the far forward edge of today’s biological and technological revolutions.

The new program, created through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) removes two major barriers to entry for potential DARPA performers. First, the EZ BAA is open to any idea with the potential to yield revolutionary new capabilities in the biotech space. This eliminates the need for proposers to search or wait for specific opportunities relevant to their expertise. Second, rather than forcing would-be proposers to respond in full detail to a traditional  BAA, which typically runs 40 to 60 pages and requires highly structured responses from proposers, BTO’s EZ BAA requires only a two-page white paper to start. Within just a few weeks of submission, DARPA will either encourage or discourage submission of a full proposal of no more than 20 pages.

You can read the full BAA here.

NIH invests $32 million for Biomedical Big Data

October 14th, 2014


The National Institute of Health (NIH) has announced an initial investment of nearly $32 million for NIH’s Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative which is projected to have a total investment of nearly $656 million through 2020. The BD2K initiativelaunched in 2013, is a trans-NIH program that will develop new strategies to analyze and leverage the explosion of increasingly complex biomedical data sets, referred to as Big Data.

Currently, biomedical data generation is exceeding researchers’ ability to capitalize on all the available data. The BD2K awards will support the development of new approaches, software, tools, and training programs to improve access to these data and the ability to make new discoveries using them. Investigators hope to explore novel analytics to mine large amounts of data, for eventual application to improving human health. Examples include an improved ability to predict who is at increased risk for breast cancer, heart attack and other diseases and condition, and better ways to treat and prevent them.

The four main components of the new BD2K awards are:

For additional information, see the NIH press release.

Social Therapeutic and Robotic Systems (STARS) Lab: a Computing Research in Action Showcase

July 31st, 2014

PrintThe Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is releasing its fourth segment in the Computing Research in Action Series.   Researchers at Mississippi State University are studying human-robot interaction − how people respond to robotic technology.  Professor Cindy Bethel started and oversees the Social Therapeutic and Robotic Systems (STARS) Lab.  She leads a team of 22 researchers including undergraduates, masters, and PhD students.

“This research has been an investment of heart and soul for our students and for me.  We started out where we didn’t have any funding for this, but it was something that we were passionate about. And so we have devoted our time to this and to building this program.” – Cindy Bethel

Here’s a summary of several research areas in the STaRS Lab:

  • The STARS Lab is working with the Starkville Police Department SWAT Team to investigate the uses of a remotely-operated robot and a robot that has supervised autonomy capabilities in coordination with a SWAT team. In addition to developing tactics for a robot, the lab is examining which robot features are most useful to a SWAT team.  This project will save lives by helping law enforcement officers more safely handle the most dangerous situations.  The Army Research Laboratories Human Research and Engineering Directorate funds this research.  This is the work featured in the Computing Research in Action video.
  • The Therabot team, funded by the National Science Foundation, is in the process of developing a robotic therapy support system. The goal is to provide a small robotic dog to people undergoing therapy, especially those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The robot will be used by patients to perform therapy exercises at home, enhancing the therapy experience, and supporting less frequent supervised therapy sessions.
  • The Interview team, funded by the National Science Foundation, investigates the use of robots as intermediaries for gathering sensitive information from children. Part of the project includes investigation of child eyewitness memory accounts and learning more about children’s experiences with bullying. This research explores whether there will be differences in the quantity and validity of information depending on whether the information is obtained from a human interviewer, robot interviewer, or a paper survey.

For more information on the STARS Lab, please visit their website.

The CCC is still accepting submissions for the Computing Research in Action series. Selected projects will receive a $1,500 travel award for a research team member to present the featured project at a conference. We encourage you to submit your research project for consideration by filling out this short entry form. If you have any questions about our series, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Helen Vasaly, CCC Program Associate.

The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Microsoft have released an RFP for Research on the Implications of Open Data

July 30th, 2014

bclt-web-logoIn 2009, President Obama issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.  That memorandum has been followed by additional memorandums and Executive Orders resulting in the Open Government Initiative.  As a result of this initiative, governments (both federal and local) are releasing data feeds, which have enabled the creation and use of new applications, from real-time accurate traffic information to localized crime reporting.
mslogoWhile the Initiative is presented as “an unqualified good” there are some questions about the impact on citizens.  As such, the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Microsoft have issued an RFP to further explore the technical, legal, and regulatory implications of Open Data.  From the solicitation:

The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Microsoft are issuing this request for proposals (RFP) to fund scholarly inquiry to examine the civil rights, human rights, security and privacy issues that arise from recent initiatives to release large datasets of government information to the public for analysis and reuse.  This research may help ground public policy discussions and drive the development of a framework to avoid potential abuses of this data while encouraging greater engagement and innovation.

This RFP seeks to:

    • Gain knowledge of the impact of the online release of large amounts of data generated by citizens’ interactions with government
    • Imagine new possibilities for technical, legal, and regulatory interventions that avoid abuse
    • Begin building a body of research that addresses these issues

The full solicitation can be viewed here.  Proposals are due September 25, 2014, with results to be disseminated at a workshop in May of 2015.

Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Privacy Solicitation includes Ideas Lab

June 19th, 2014

nsf_logo_new_transparentAs reported in this blog earlier in the month, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and Intel Labs recently announced a new partnership to support novel, transformative, multidisciplinary approaches that address the problem of securing current and emerging cyber-physical systems, the infrastructures they form, and those integrated with them.

A key part of this solicitation is the use of an Ideas Lab to identify and develop novel ideas.  A unique feature of an Ideas Lab is the multidisciplinary nature of the selected participants.  The Computing Research Association (CRA), CCC’s parent organization, is working with Knowinnovation to run the Ideas Lab.  The two organizations previously worked together on a successful Ideas Lab that explored using large data sets to improve STEM teaching and learning environments.  You can read more about that Ideas Lab workshop here.

The Ideas Lab will be August 12-16, 2014  in the DC area. Preliminary proposal submission (two pages) to attend the Ideas Lab is due July 29, 2014.

Participants in the Ideas Lab will have the

1. opportunity to interact with others interested in this space and to define research directions,

2. the opportunity to form teams in response to this solicitation,

3. the opportunity to influence NSF’s interests in this space, and

4. the opportunity to interact with the NSF Program Officers interested in this space

For more information, please view the full solicitation here.