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

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

SPS Mentors for ME-UYR Program - Details Page

ME-YUR Program page image

>> View the ME-UYR Program Call for Mentors Announcement

>> View the ME-UYR Program Call for Project Proposals

Mission and Vision

The Mentoring Experiences for Underrepresented Young Researchers (ME-UYR) is a new program funded by IEEE SPS that started in 2021 and in 2023 will launch its second edition. 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.

Why is the program important?

The number of non-male researchers in signal processing within the IEEE community is around 10%. The number of non-male 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. To increase diversity in signal processing areas, in general, at all levels, steps need to be taken. This initiative focuses on increasing diversity and retaining researchers from minority groups for the generality of signal processing areas.

The goal of ME-UYR is to increase (gender, underrepresented minority groups, and geographical) diversity in signal processing in general by attracting and retaining more young non-male researchers and researchers from other underrepresented minority groups (at the undergraduate and graduate level) in signal processing areas. All ME-UYR Program participants are required to be IEEE Signal Processing Society members of student or graduate student membership grade levels.

Program Roles

The Young Researcher

Young researchers from underrepresented minorities (self-identified) including gender, geographical, ethnical, and others, who are in the early stages of academic life (i.e., undergraduate and graduate students), who are members of the Signal Processing Society are eligible to participate in the program. ME-YUR Program page image


The mentor 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 (including computational ones), 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 their lab to further increase the student’s network and knowledge.

Program Scope

The young researchers and mentors are expected to work in cooperation for the duration of the program (about 9 months). The mentor and young researcher are expected to meet (online) periodically (preferably weekly or every two weeks) to advance the project.

Within the assigned funding amount for each project the student can plan a visit to the mentor’s laboratory and/or attendance to an SPS flagship conference (ICASSP or ICIP) to attend the ME-UYR event. While the visit to the mentor’s laboratory should happen within the duration of the project, the attendance at the conference can happen in the following year.

At the end of the project, a publication co-authored by the mentor and the young researcher is expected. There shall be a special poster session during ICASSP 2025 for the outputs of the ME-UYR program, to which the publication can be submitted. In the case the submission to the special session is not accepted by the conference technical committee, the output of the project can still be presented during ICASSP 2025 (and tentatively at ICIP 2025) in a parallel event for the ME-UYR current and past participants.

Students with successfully published papers related to their projects will be invited to present their work to other SPS students via local chapters to increase the visibility of their work and of the program. The steering committee together with the SPS Regional Directors will assist in the connection with the local chapters.

Associated Events

  • A yearly virtual event (approximately half a year after the projects have started) will take place where students and mentors 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 mentors where the students can present the progress of their work, network, and receive further mentoring from other mentors. Moreover, panel discussions may be organized.
  • A special poster session will be held during ICASSP where the students can submit their papers written in co-authorship to their mentors and present their work.
  • An extra event might be planned during ICIP, depending on the number of projects related to image and video processing.
  • Participating students will be encouraged to attend the Women in Signal Processing Lunch and the Student Job Fair which is held during ICASSP and ICIP.

Application Process

  • Call for mentors: a call for mentors will be sent out, so established researchers willing to advise young researchers from underrepresented minorities (including gender, geographical, ethnical, and others) can register. Researchers that answered this call will be invited to write project proposals with the young researcher candidates to be funded by the ME-UYR program.
  • Connecting event: 1-2 months before the project proposal deadline, an online connecting event will be organized where interested students can learn more about the program and meet potential mentors.
  • Call for project proposals: A call for project proposals will be put out asking for applications by the young research candidates within the research domains of the potential mentors.

The project proposals should be written by the young research candidates and their selected mentors, with a maximum of two pages. The proposal includes:

  • Names and affiliations of the student and potential mentor.
  • Start and end date of the project.
  • Brief outline of the aim of the project.
  • Rough outline of the project planning.
  • Planning of flagship conference attendance and/or potential mentor’s lab visit with budget (between $2K and $4K). The budget may include travel costs, registration – to the main event and possibly to satellite events, tutorials, and short courses – meals, and accommodation.
  • Overview of the needed resources and confirmation that the mentor can provide for these.
  • Brief narrative of how this project would benefit the student in their future career in signal processing.

Proposal Evaluation

The proposals received will be evaluated by the ME-UYR steering committee. The evaluation criteria include:

  • Feasibility of the project topic and project planning.
  • Quality of the project submission.
  • Geographical and gender equality.
  • Potential impact of the project on the student’s future career.

ME-UYR Steering Committee

  • Lucas Thomaz, Instituto de Teleomunicações/Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal (Chair).
  • Ruchi Pandey, International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad, India.
  • Odette Scharenborg, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.
  • Tirza Routtenberg, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, University of Illinois, USA.

ME-UYR: 2023 Online Connecting Event

Date: Monday, September 18, 2023
Time: 11:00 AM | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) | 1 hr 30 mins
Meeting number (access code): 2632 329 7918
Meeting password: CpFeWAmB693
Meeting Link: Link for Webex and access to Global Call-in Numbers: 

Program Timeline

Call for Mentors 1 July - 15 September 2023
Call for Project Proposals 1 August - 31 October 2023
Online Connecting Event 18 September 2023 (tentative)
Proposal Evaluation Results 26 November 2023
Start of the Projects December 2023
ICASSP ME-UYR Event 14 April 2024 (tentative)
Paper submission for the ICASSP 2025 ME-UYR Special Session September 2024 (tentative)







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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