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Starting and Growing Your Own Research Program Fatma Mili Professor & Dpt. Head Computer Information Technology Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Amanda.

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Presentation on theme: "Starting and Growing Your Own Research Program Fatma Mili Professor & Dpt. Head Computer Information Technology Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Amanda."— Presentation transcript:

1 Starting and Growing Your Own Research Program Fatma Mili Professor & Dpt. Head Computer Information Technology Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Amanda Stent Principal Research Scientist Yahoo! Labs New York, NY

2 CRA-W Computer Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research Mission increase the participation and success of women in computing research

3 What does CRA-W do? Individual & Group Research Mentoring Graduate Students Undergraduates Academic careers Industry/government Undergrads: Undergraduate Research Experiences Undergrads: Distinguished lecture role models Grad Cohort: group mentoring of grad students Grad Students: Discipline Specific Research workshops PhD Researchers: group mentoring of early & mid CMW, CAPP, Hopper & Tapia 600+ students and PhD researchers a year

4 Background – Amanda Stent Research Areas – Computational linguistics – Applications of NLP to assistive technology and online privacy Where I’ve worked – Principal Research Scientist, Yahoo! Labs - current – Principal Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Labs – Research (6 years) – Assistant, then Associate Professor, Stony Brook University (7 years) Where I studied – PhD, CS, University of Rochester – BA, Math and Music, Houghton College

5 Background – Fatma Mili In Academia since 1984 – Program Verification and Validation – Distributed Computing and nature-inspired Computing – Statistical Validation of Non deterministic Systems – Optimization, Human Decision Making – System Modeling and Knowledge Representation PhD, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

6 Develop Your Reputation Academia Identify a strong research problem with clear short-term, medium-term and long-term goals – Do not heavily overlap with advisors or other faculty – Establish your laboratory as quickly as possible – Identify strong students You can no longer do all the work yourself! If you can, hire a post-doc, but do not replace students – Identify and apply to appropriate funding sources – Publish in the publications that matter the most Produce strong results that have an impact on the field!

7 Develop Your Reputation National Lab or Industry Identify how you can contribute to the organization while building your career – Develop your overall research and engineering capabilities – Establish your expertise/carve out your niche – Identify good collaborators and champions – Produce deliverables on time, show impact ($$) and relevance – Practice good, punchy short presentations/demos Maintain your external visibility – Publish … or perish – Host interns and visitors, collaborate with academia Be ENTHUSIASTIC about what you are working on NOW!

8 Reputation = work + networking Network – Attend Important Conferences – Volunteer in conferences and professional associations – Network – Help others Self-promote – Cite your work – Give talks – Maintain your online presence Your organization’s website Your own website Google Scholar/Microsoft Academic/Research Gate Social media

9 Build Collaborations Internal and external collaborators People you enjoy working with Compatible or complementary skill set Junior researchers who are also starting research careers and have compatible skills Senior researchers who think well of your work Be generous with co-authorship on papers

10 Build Collaborations Do – Communicate effectively and be responsible – Learn to multi-task – Have a contingency plan Don’t – Be a “student” for someone else – Take it personally if a collaboration does not work – As a young post-PhD: Limit collaborations with advisors, carefully handle interdisciplinary collaborations, etc.

11 Develop Proposals Look for new proposal opportunities – Early career proposal calls – As a collaborator/subcontractor – Internal funding grants – Travel grants – Private foundations or companies – Faculty Fellowships: AFOSR, NASA, etc. Learn the rules and constraints of your organization with respect to funding – Human subjects, animals, environmental etc.

12 Develop Proposals Learn how different organizations work and how they select proposals Ensure that your proposal is a good fit for the call and addresses all review criteria Serve on review panels Talk to the program manager

13 Swim With the Sharks Take credit for your work Avoid working with people who do not give you credit for your work externally and internally Present to senior researchers and managers (prepare in advance) Learn how to give an elevator speech about your research Meet the program managers who will have influence on your funding Do not be shy or understated, but don’t overstate either!

14 Enjoy what you do Feel and share the passion and play in research Pay it forward Please visit


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