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Student Mentoring Program

Cluster 2014 PhD Student Mentoring Program | Catching the spirit
Why a Mentoring Program at Cluster 2014?
Students are our future! They are the future of our research groups, they are the future our research domain, and they are the future of the Cluster community. The Cluster conference has decided to launch a specific Mentoring Program for PhD students, as a service to the whole scientific community.

The goal of this Program is to help students building their scientific career as efficiently as possible. The scientific presentations and interactions at the conference help them develop their technical skills. To complement this, the PhD Student Mentoring Program aims at extending this development by fostering the integration of those students into the Cluster scientific community, advising them to plan their professional career in academia or industry, to improve their scientific communication skills, and to provide them with the right entry points for an efficient networking.

Supporting students of the Mentoring Program
Attracting students at the Mentoring Program is a strong commitment of the Cluster 2014 Organization Team. Two offers are available:
  • A special NSF grant has been secured to fund the travel expenses of a limited number of students registered at US institutions. To apply for this travel support, the student must apply for the Student Mentoring Track and select the request option in the application form in EasyChair.
  • Bring your student with you! A reduced group registration rate is provided for a IEEE member attending the conference together with a IEEE student member.
Applying for the NSF travel grant for PhD students
Note that the special NSF grant is only available to students registered an US institutions for the academic years 2013-2014 or 2014-2015.

The application is part of the Mentoring Program and is done through the EasyChair application side, Track "Student Mentoring Track".
Applying to the Mentoring Program
The PhD Student Mentoring Program is not just another publication venue. All interested students can apply through a simple, non-competitive procedure, by providing a 2-page description of their person vision for their career: where they come from, what they are interested in, what their career objective is, and most importantly, what their research vision is. For example, PhD students might wish to describe their PhD proposal and explain why it is interesting. Student’s applications should be endorsed by their respective advisers. See the call for applications for details about the procedure.

All 2-page submissions will be reviewed for consistency by the Program Committee, with a friendly feedback returned to the students if necessary. The objective is to host as many motivated students as possible in the Program. Note that there is not scientific endorsement of the scientific contents by the conference, so that this application cannot be considered as a scientific publication.

The participating students will be invited to prepare a poster for the conference, based on the description of their research vision. This poster can for instance describe their general PhD proposal, a specific scientific challenge they are addressing, etc. This poster will be presented to the community during the conference, so that they can introduce themselves to the community, receive as much feedback as possible, and start a fruitful scientific networking for future applications.
Activities of the Mentoring Program

Master Class on poster design and presentation: 1.5 h
This Master class is aimed at improving student skills for designing scientific posters and introducing their scientific contribution at a poster session. A number of mentors selected within the Cluster community for their scientific competences and communication skills will lead the session by describing their personal experience in this domain. Then, each student in turn will introduce his/her poster to the audience in 3 minutes followed by a friendly interactive discussion from mentors and other students providing feedback and proposing improvements.

Public poster session: 2 h
Following the Master Class, the students of the PhD Student Mentoring Program will have a chance to put the training into practice. A time slot will be devoted for the entire audience to go and visit students’ posters, and interact with the Program students. All posters will be made available on the conference Web site for further reference.

Panel on career planning: 1.5 h
A number of mentors selected within the Cluster community for their key responsibilities will be gathered on a panel to describe their personal experience, provide the students of the Program with useful recommendations, and answer all questions. If needed, they will also be available during the conference for further interaction.

Panel on industry research careers: 1.5 h
This panel will be a follow-up of the previous one, specifically gathering mentors working in an industrial context. The goal is to provide the students of the Program with an overview of research activity in industry, including pros and cons with respect to classical academic careers.

Selected hot topic course: 45 min each
Another way to help students planning their career is to introduce them to new and important emergent areas, which may provide them with new ideas, or give them ideas and pointers for strategic postdoctoral internships.