NSF/EU workshop in Mannheim

Mohan Kumar and Marco Conti organized an EU/NSF workshop on Future Directions in Pervasive Computing and Social Networking for Emerging Applications. They managed to get together an interesting set of people and the discussion in the break out session were very enjoyable and I got a number of ideas what really are the challenges to come.

There are the position statements on the web page and at some point the identified grand challenges will be available.

PS: blackboards are still highly effective 😉

What portion of research time is spent writing proposals?

The next European deadline is close and hence everyone is writing proposals and essays…

I wonder if someone has assessed how much work goes into proposal writing on a European scale. On one hand I see the value of forcing researchers to write proposals and to articulate their ideas but on the other hand it seems a great lot of research could be conducted if senior people would use this time for doing actual research. In proposals formulating the actual core of the research idea is exciting (often even more exciting than carrying out research) but this is only one part of proposal writing. But what would be an alternative for deciding what research to fund?

As should be obvious, the first sentence ensures it alludes to the point (IT) and uses certainties about IT taken from the inquiry. Note that these are summarized – you must not duplicate from the rubric! The second part then obviously sets out the highessay com/ what the exposition will be about and affirms the essayists sentiment (a few inquiries may not request your conclusion, but rather this one does).

Having spent a 30 hours in Lancaster improved our idea and we got a good step forward…

PS: Birthday is a perfect day for finding out which companies have you on your mailing list

Emmy Noether Meeting in Postdam

From Friday to Sunday I was in Potsdam for the yearly Emmy Noether meeting organized by DFG (German Science Foundation). The Emmy Noether Program seems to me one of the most attractive funding options for early career researchers I know of (world wide).

This year I was in the preparation team for the meeting and was co-organizing one workshop where we discussed experiences with research funding in other countries and what ideas for improving current programs we can see. The workshop was on how we can benefit from having students rather than seeing them as “teaching load” – especially in computer science (I organized it with Andreas Butz).

The meeting is always very interesting as it brings together people, funded by DFG in the Emmy Noether Program, across all disciplines. In the political evening we had a keynote by Professor Hans Weiler looking at the current problems of the German systems (“Eliten im Wettbewerb – Die deutschen Hochschulen und die internationale Konkurrenz” ) – one message I saw in the talk is that Germany is very efficient – looking how little money is spend in education and research the outcome is surprising. (But this is only a positive message if we do not want to play a leading role in the world of science and technology). It became very clear that the overall system lacks massively in funding. The additional funding that is provided by the German Government in the widely publicized call for elite universities (Exzellenzinitiative) is 1900 million Euros over 5 years (about 5€/citizen/year)– impressive? Not really – this less than the amount projected for the “Yale Tomorrow” campaign – a 5 year program in fundraising by a single University in the US. And Stanford University has even a bigger campaign as Prof. Weiler told – and there are a few other Universities in the league in the US…