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The primary goal of this year’s event is to stimulate graduate students’ and other researchers’ thinking about the design of programming languages, APIs, diagrams, models, and supporting tools that include and support diverse and underrepresented populations in computing.

Call for Participation

The Graduate Consortium provides an opportunity for research students to discuss their research — both the content and the process — with other, interested researchers, and thereby to join and benefit from a community. This year’s GC focus aligns with the theme of the 2021 VL/HCC main conference (https://conf.researchr.org/track/vlhcc-2021/vlhcc-2021-vl-hcc-main-conference): “Interaction at a Distance.”

Why You Should Participate

  • Present your work to a small, attentive audience
  • Get detailed, critical, constructive feedback from a diverse panel of experts
  • Meet other students working on similar research
  • Travel funding to help cover your cost of attending VL/HCC (Supported by NSF for US students)

Who Can Participate?

The consortium is open to both Ph.D. and master’s students worldwide. Participation is particularly encouraged from Ph.D. students who are close to proposing a thesis, as well as from members of groups identified by NSF as underrepresented in the sciences and engineering. If multiple applicants from a particular university apply for the consortium this year, then no more than two per university will be selected to participate. To be eligible, each applicant may have participated no more than once in the VL/HCC graduate consortia of past years.

Application Process

Email the following items with VLHCC21-GC in the subject line to Sandeep Kaur Kuttal and Marian Petre. * A 2-page research abstract, formatted as a PDF in the standard IEEE Conference Proceedings format. NOTE: Accepted participants’ abstracts will be included in the conference proceedings. Please submit your abstract using the easychair link on the right. * Your curriculum vitae (CV), as a second PDF file. This CV should mention whether you have previously participated in any graduate consortia at any conferences. * A letter of recommendation sent directly by your thesis advisor to Sandeep Kaur Kuttal and Marian Petre. This letter should summarize your accomplishments and describe how far along you are in your Ph.D. or master’s program, and why attending the GC this year would be important for you. Please ask your thesis advisor to mention if you have already attended VL/HCC GC in any past year. If you are a member of a group designated by NSF as underrepresented, then the letter may mention this.

Selection Process

For one-third of the slots, students who have participated once before will be given priority. The remaining slots will be given to students who are new to the event. Each student from the returning group will be linked with new students in a mentoring arrangement. See Who Can Participate? above for additional selection criteria.


Selected students will be asked to present a poster on their work at the Showpieces Reception during the main conference. Details will be provided to accepted applicants.

Travel Support

We are applying to the National Science Foundation to support participation.


The consortium event will be a full day, either Monday or Tuesday before the main conference. All participating students are expected to attend the main conference as well as the graduate consortium. Other conference attendees are invited to attend the consortium, to listen to the presentations, to interact with participants, and to give feedback to presenters. More details will be provided, closer to the event, including times and locations.

Examples of Successful Applications

Successful submissions to the VL/HCC Graduate Consortium generally have the following elements: 1. The abstract starts with a sentence or two that describes a real-world setting. 2. It then identifies a research question or problem in that setting - and explains why that question or problem is important. 3. The abstract outlines an approach for addressing that question or solving that problem. 4. Somewhere along the way, the abstract explains how the approach builds on, or differs from, other related work. 5. The abstract describes work completed, e.g., a preliminary study or a prototype showing the feasibility of that approach. 6. The abstract explains what further work is required, and what that further work should aim to achieve, in order to complete the approach and provide insight regarding the research question or problem.