This is funding to support a Young Pioneers Workshop (doctoral consortium) of approximately 20 graduate students and recent graduates from master's and doctoral programs in diverse research communities (including computer science and engineering, psychology, cognitive science, robotics, human factors, human-computer interaction design, and communications), along with distinguished research faculty. The event will take place on Tuesday, March 2, 2010, immediately preceding the Fifth Annual Human Robot Interaction Conference (HRI 2010) to be held March 3-5, 2010, in Osaka, Japan, and which is jointly sponsored by ACM and IEEE. The theme of HRI 2010 is "Grand Technical and Social Challenges in HRI," which highlights the critical need to take up and speak to the integration of the hard technical and social problems facing the field as we move to create our future with robots. More information about the conference is available at

The Young Pioneers Workshop is designed to complement the conference, by providing a forum for students and recent graduates in the field of HRI to share their current research with their peers and a panel of senior researchers in a setting that is less formal and more interactive than the main conference. During the workshop, participants will talk about the important upcoming research themes in the field, encouraging the formation of collaborative relationships across disciplines and geographic boundaries. To these ends, the workshop will include sessions in a variety of formats: student oral presentations, student poster presentations, a hands-on breakout session, and group presentations. Attendees will hear short presentations from 6 selected student participants; those students not invited to give an oral presentation will participate in an interactive poster session. The workshop will feature a Career Panel with three senior HRI researchers who will share insights about their own careers and answer career path questions posed by the organizers and participants. The discussions will continue over lunch in smaller groups. In the afternoon, a hands-on breakout session will involve small group projects in which participants will investigate how to design an HRI experiment; afterward, the groups will present a summary to the entire workshop. Participants in the workshop will come away with knowledge of current research being conducted by their colleagues, awareness of diverse interdisciplinary methodologies, and understanding of emerging themes in HRI. They will also have had a rare opportunity to engage in dialogue containing cross-disciplinary knowledge and multinational perspectives at the graduate level.

Broader Impacts: This workshop will afford a unique opportunity for the best of the next generation of researchers in human-robot interaction to be exposed to and discuss current and relevant topics as they are being studied in several different research communities (including but nor limited to computer science and engineering, psychology, robotics, human factors and ergonomics, and human-computer interaction). This is important for the field, because it has been recognized that transformative advances in research in this fledgling area can only come through the melding of cross-disciplinary knowledge and multinational perspectives. Participants will be encouraged to create a social network both among themselves and with senior researchers at a critical stage in their professional development, to form collaborative relationships, and to generate new research questions to be addressed during the coming years. Participants will also gain leadership and service experience, as the workshop is largely student organized and student led. The PI will act aggressively to recruit young researchers from minority and underrepresented groups in order to assure diversity of the participants across a variety of dimensions, so that the students' horizons are broadened to the future benefit of the field. To validate the effectiveness of the 2010 Young Pioneers Workshop, she will conduct pre- and post-workshop surveys. Additionally, as this is the workshop's fifth year, she will evaluate its effectiveness and value by conducting a longitudinal survey of past participants and organizers.

Project Report

This award supported the travel of 21 graduate students and 1 post-doctoral associate to the 5th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), held in Japan in March 2010. These funded students (and the post-doctoral associate serving as an organizer) participated in the doctoral consortium held the day before the conference started. Of the 22 funded participants, 10 were female. In addition to funding the doctoral consortium, the award also supported a survey of participants from the five years that the doctoral consortia had been held in conjunction with the HRI conference (annually, 2006-2010). This survey allowed us to learn the benefits of such funding. For example, 60.5% of the respondents rate the doctoral consortium as having a high or moderate impact upon their career. Many commented on the fact that the timing of the doctoral consortium, occurring the day before the conference, created a cohort of graduate students with whom they could discuss conference presentations and meet other conference attendees. This type of survey is unusual, as most funding for conferences is provided in single year awards. While this award was also for a single year, the inclusion of funds for the survey resulted in a retrospective view, allowing organizers for future years to better plan events that will provide value to the students who attend and will provide better graduate student training overall at these types of events.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)
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Ephraim Glinert
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University of Massachusetts Lowell
United States
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