2020 CSST Summer Research Institute

The Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems (CSST)
Calls for Participation
in the 2020 CSST Summer Research Institute

We have decided to postpone the CSST Summer Institute due to uncertainty about COVID-19.

While our date is still a fair distance out, the organizers and steering committee believe that a postponement now is the best approach.

Currently we are exploring reorganizing as a Winter School in January 2021, or waiting until Summer 2021. Apologies to all that have put in time and effort and best wishes to all.

When:  8-11 June 2020 (postponed)
Where: University of Texas at Austin (on campus)
  • James Howison, University of Texas at Austin
  • Jaime Snyder, University of Washington
  • Joined by ~12 Expert Mentors

The CSST Summer Research Institute supports emerging scholars in sociotechnical systems research.

Eligible emerging scholars are:

  • Doctoral students expected to graduate before December 2021
  • Post-doctoral scholars (any position en route to faculty and industry research)
  • Those in the first three years as an industry researcher (and focused on publishing in the peer-reviewed literature)
  • Those in their first three years as university faculty

We intentionally span this wide range to create great interactions and insight/advice among participants (as well as from mentors).

The institute has been an activity of the Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems Research (CSST) since 2008. Topics and problem domains of focus in socio-technical systems research include (but are not limited to) personal health and well-being; eScience, and citizen science; co-production, open source/innovation, and new forms of work; cultural heritage and information access; social informatics; civic hacking, engagement and government; human-robot interaction; disaster response; cybersecurity, surveillance and privacy; education and learning; information systems; platforms.

This is a wide area of coverage, so  if your interests are in people/organizations/society together with tech/systems/data and you are (or hope to be) part of intellectual communities such as CSCW, HCI, social computing, organization studies, information visualization, social informatics, sociology, information systems, social media and society, medical informatics, computer science, ICT for development, education, learning science, journalism, and political science, then you fit well with this program and you should apply!

And if we’ve missed your topic/community, apply and tell us about it!

In addition to these long-standing areas of focus for the Institute, this year we are also highlighting and inviting submissions from those whose research resides in the area of Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace. By this, we mean scholars interested in the NSF SaTC program as detailed here: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504709

For 2020, we are delighted to have commitments from the following scholars who will serve as mentors, with additional invitations out to eventually number ~12 mentors.

Mentors may also include a members of the CSST Steering Committee: Kristin Eschenfelder (UW Madison), Andrea Forte (Drexel University), Morgan Ames (University of California, Berkeley), David Ribes (University of Washington), Katie Shilton (University of Maryland), and Jenn Thom (Spotify). Finally we hope to have participation from Sara Kiesler (NSF) and Josh Greenberg (Sloan).


The 2020 Summer Research Institute builds on and extends the socio-technical systems research tradition to strengthen and expand this diverse community by bringing together graduate students, post-doctoral students, faculty, and other researchers with leading mentors in our intersecting fields. Participants will engage in peer networking, roundtable discussion of individual and group research interests, and skill-building tutorials to help participants identify substantive ways that the theories, approaches, and tools within the larger community can advance their work with the design and study of sociotechnical systems.

We invite:

Doctoral students, post-doctoral students, pre-tenure faculty, and early career researchers in academia and industry research (where publishing research in the peer reviewed literature is a substantial goal).

Lodging, meals, and other onsite costs will be covered for all Summer Institute participants. The CSST steering committee has led a round of funding for the Summer Institute, obtaining funding from the Sloan Foundation, the NSF, the ACM SIGCHI Development Fund, and the Texas iSchool. Consequently, we will be able to reimburse up to $500 of travel expenses for participants. Additional support for international travel is not guaranteed but may be available, applicants should indicate if this is a need.

Applying for CSST 2020 Summer Institute

To apply upload a SINGLE PDF FILE to Easychair, containing the following:

  1. 500-word single-spaced response to the question:  “How does/will your work advance our ability to design and understand sociotechnical systems, from social science and critical scholarly perspectives?”
    • If post-doc or faculty please include your current title, institution, and unit (department/college)
    • If student, include institution, advisor, degree program, date of proposal defense, realistic date of program completion;
    • Include three to four relevant citations to situate your work within the larger research community (Can be a mix of your publications, or those that inspire your work).
    • If applicable, also include a link to your personal website.
  2. CV (append to narrative in a single PDF file)

Students, please ask your advisor to address the following points in a signed PDF letter, and to email to: csstcontact@gmail.com, with the subject line: “Letter for <Name>”. Letter contents:

    1. Relevance of applicant’s work to the CSST community (one or two paragraphs)
    2. Stage of applicant’s work (e.g., quals completed; proposal defended; data collected)
    3. A date by which the advisor is confident the dissertation will be completed (an earlier version of this call had 75% and 95% estimates, which are fine, but not needed)

The CSST Summer Research Institute Advisory Group will review applications shortly thereafter, using the following criteria:

  • Clear articulation of the hoped-for contribution to theoretical analysis and theory-building, practice, and/or design of sociotechnical systems.
  • Likelihood of Summer Research Institute participation providing significant practical benefit for the individual;
  • Contribution to a balanced and diverse group of participants
  • Relevance to the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace community (advantageous but not required)

We anticipate inviting approximately 35 participants and we expect to provide invitations by mid-April.

For more information about the Summer Research Institute, contact James Howison <jhowison@ischool.utexas.edu> and/or Jaime Snyder <jas1208@uw.edu>. For information about the broader community of researchers interested in design and study of sociotechnical systems, see: http://www.sociotech.net.