(ME-UYR) Mentoring Experiences for Underrepresented Young Researchers Program

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Mentoring Experiences for Underrepresented Young Researchers (ME-UYR) Program

ME-YUR Program page image

Mission and Vision

The Mentoring Experiences for Underrepresented Young Researchers (ME-UYR) is a new program financed by IEEE SPS. ME-UYR provides mentoring experiences in the form of a 9 month collaboration for young researchers from underrepresented groups together with an established researcher in signal processing from a different institute, and typically another country.

The Young Researcher

Together the young researcher and the established researcher submit a short proposal for a research plan of 9 months on a topic of the student’s choosing but in line with the advisor’s expertise and related to speech or language or signal processing. The proposals will be collected and evaluated by a ME-UYR awards evaluation committee, including representatives from all TCs participating.

If the proposal is successful, the young researcher will receive a grant of max. $4K per student to cover the costs of the student attending one conference/workshop (including travel costs, registration, and hotel costs). Program participants are required to be IEEE Signal Processing Society members. The conference/workshop visit is expected to take place after completion of the proposed mentored research.

The output of this project:

  • A paper submitted to a conference or workshop
  • Increased work experience for the young researcher
  • Increased network for the student

Number of projects per year: 12.

The Advisor

The advisor is an established researcher who acts as the advisor of the young researcher for the duration of the project. The advisor provides the student with guidance as well as access to resources computing resources, datasets, and so on depending on the needs of the project. The advisor supervises the project and links the student to other students/researchers in her/his lab to further increase the student’s network and knowledge increase. The advisor co-authors the paper to be written by the student.

Why is it Needed?

The number of female researchers in speech and language processing within the IEEE community is around 10%. The number of females is higher at the PhD student/graduate level but quickly drops off for higher positions. The numbers for other underrepresented minorities and other technical areas within signal processing are similar or even worse. In order to increase diversity in speech and language technology and other signal processing areas in general, at all levels, steps need to be taken. This program focuses on increasing diversity and retaining young female researchers and researchers from other minority groups for speech and language and other signal processing areas.

The goal of ME-UYR is to increase (gender) diversity in speech and language technology and signal processing in general by attracting and retaining more young female researchers and researchers from other minority groups (at the undergraduate and graduate level) in speech and language and other signal processing areas.

Several events will be organized to increase the impact of the program on the community as a whole, with the goal to:

  • Raise awareness of the gender inequality and minority issue
  • Provide hints and tips to interested people outside of this program on how they can help improve diversity and equality
  • Improve the network opportunities of the students and of all interested researchers irrespective of academic age or research area
  • Increase the visibility of the program for future years

Which Technical Committees participate in ME-UYR?

Application and Evaluation

The proposals, maximum one page, are evaluated by the subcommittee headed by the SLTC.

The Proposal

  • Names and affiliations of the student and potential advisor
  • Start and end date of the project
  • Brief outline of the aim of the project
  • Rough outline of the project planning
  • Planning of lab visit and potential workshop/conference visit with budget
  • Overview of the needed resources and confirmation that the advisor can provide for these
  • Brief narrative of how this project would benefit the student in their future career in speech and language technology

Evaluation Criteria

  • Feasibility of the project topic and project planning
  • Potential impact of the project for the student’s future career


A call for project proposals will be put out once a year asking for applications within the research domains of the potential advisors.

How to find an Advisor?

In order to link students with possible advisors, we will organise a connecting event 2-3 months before the deadline, which is an online event where interested students can learn more about the program and meet potential advisors.

Other Associated Events

  • A yearly virtual event (approximately half a year after the projects have started) will take place where students and advisors of the same cohort can interact and learn more about each other’s work and network.
  • A yearly event, in conjunction with ICASSP, will be organized for the students and their advisors where the students can present their work, network, and receive further mentoring from other advisors. This event will be modeled on the highly successful Young Female Researchers in Speech Technology and Science Workshop (YFRSW) series which has been held in conjunction with Interspeech since 2016. All researchers are encouraged to partake in the full day to benefit from the network opportunities. The event will be closed with a reception for which all interested people can sign up beforehand. The event will be widely promoted via the earlier mentioned channels. We also will promote this event among interested companies who will get the opportunity to interact with the students at the workshop and the subsequent reception. Moreover, we will provide sponsoring opportunities for companies. Connections to industry exist through the YFSRW series in conjunction with Interspeech.
  • Female students and those of other underrepresented groups will be encouraged to attend the Women in Signal Processing Lunch which is held during ICASSP.
  • Successful projects each year will be selected and highlighted at ICASSP in conjunction with a related event, e.g., the PROGRESS workshop or at the Women in Signal Processing Lunch. Both the students and their advisors will be recognized at the event.

Where can I get more information?

In case of questions, please contact the ME-UYR steering committee using the following e-mail address: sp-me-uyr@listserv.ieee.org.




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