The eScience Institute is excited to launch an open and ongoing call for Special Interest Groups (SIGs). eScience SIGs are flexible and dynamic structures that support the development of new connections and communities on diverse data science related topics.

The mission of the eScience Institute is to support data-intensive discovery at the University of Washington through education, community building, and by pursuing research in data science methods and application domains. 

To advance this mission, the eScience Institute is supporting the creation and development of Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which bring together researchers from the eScience Institute, the greater University of Washington community, and external collaborators to exchange ideas, promote learning, and achieve other shared objectives. 

Each SIG is different and has a unique personality with unique goals, outcomes and ways of working. SIG activities can vary. In the past some SIGs have functioned more like reading groups on a topic of common interest or as an informal speaker series. Others bring interdisciplinary collaborators together to achieve shared objectives or pursue a specific initiative (e.g., developing a new educational program or research proposal). Each SIG has the flexibility to focus its activities toward meeting the unique needs of its community of collaborators. Descriptions of current and former SIGs can be found here: https://escience.washington.edu/special-interest-groups/.

All SIGs, however, share the following characteristics:

  • Topic: Each SIG focuses on a topic or initiative related to data science. Each SIG has a raison d’etre. It fulfills a need for the data science community that is not otherwise fulfilled. 
  • Leadership: 1-3 researchers lead each SIG. These researchers can be university faculty, postdocs, research staff, and/or graduate students. 
  • Regular meetings: To ensure a tight community, SIGs have regular meetings. The purpose and frequency of the meetings depends on the SIG. 
  • Annual goals: SIG leaders are responsible for articulating concrete goals for their SIG each year. Goals can be as simple as reading a set of papers on a topic of common interest. Or they can be more ambitious such as learning about a set of tools or techniques or even developing new data science methods, tools, or best practices. 
  • Lifetime: A SIG initially exists for 1 year but may continue as long as it fulfills the needs of the community. At the end of each academic year, eScience leadership will consult with SIG leads to discuss interest in continuing for the coming year. SIGs are expected to come and go as interest and availability dictates, with SIGs that are no longer resonating with the community sunsetting. A new SIG can be proposed at any time.
  • Distinguished speakers: Each SIG has the opportunity to host at least one distinguished speaker a year in the UW Data Science Seminar.  

The eScience Institute makes specific resources available to SIGs:

  • Space to host regular meetings and/or workshops and special events in the WRF Data Science Studio
  • Up to $2k for catering, honoraria, or other event-related expenses per SIG per academic year (additional event expenses subject to approval) 
  • Event logistical support for reserving campus spaces, catering orders, alcohol permits, A/V needs (as staff capacity allows)
  • Travel reimbursement for 1-2 distinguished seminar speakers each academic year to speak in the UW Data Science Seminar series and in SIG-related activities, as applicable
  • SIG communications support via weekly bulletin, social media, website, and flyers (as staff capacity allows)

Proposals for new SIGs:

New SIGs may be proposed at any time by submitting a single pdf file containing the information listed below to eScience Executive Director Sarah Stone, sstone3@uw.edu.

New SIG proposals should include the following information:

  1. Proposed SIG Title
  2. Name(s) of proposed SIG Chairs/co-Chairs (1-3)
  3. Proposed SIG Goals (list 1-3 goals)
  4. Description of the problem space (2-3 paragraphs) 
  5. Description of existing related activities / groups at UW and differentiation of the proposed group from existing groups (1-2 paragraphs)
  6. Describe the proposed structure and frequency of SIG meetings and activities (1-2 paragraphs)

 

If you have any questions please contact eScience Executive Director Sarah Stone, sstone3@uw.edu.