Announcing the WAIM Doctoral Research Fellowships! Applications due 15 July 2021!

The Work in the Age of Intelligent Machines (WAIM) Research Coordination Network is pleased to announce the WAIM Doctoral Research Fellowship program—a competition that aims to recognize and support outstanding graduate research related to the convergence of intelligent machines and the future of work. With funding from the initiative, this fellowship program will confer a select number of $50,000 awards to eligible US doctoral students to enable them to focus solely on their research during the 2021–2022 academic year. In sponsoring this program, we hope to identify the next set of leaders in building the deep and systematic knowledge required to simultaneously consider the technical, individual, group, organizational, and societal issues involved in leveraging today’s expanding technological capabilities to serve both work and workers. 

Eligible candidates for this program are late-stage students enrolled in a research-based doctoral program at an accredited US-institution who are engaged in research that embraces the future of work as a socio-technological phenomenon—one that requires attention to both social and technological systems as well as the implications of their interdependencies. Addressing this challenge requires a research approach that expands beyond a delimited focus on autonomous systems qua systems and instead endorses a convergent approach, namely “the deep integration of knowledge, techniques, and expertise from multiple fields to form new and expanded frameworks” (NSF, 2017). As such, we welcome candidates who draw on a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives, including labor studies, law, psychology, computer science, management science, policy studies, anthropology, sociology, learning science, and cognitive science, among others. 

Future WAIM Fellows will interact as a cohort to enable peer exchange and learning. The cohort will come together physically at two meetings during the 2021-22 academic year. The first will be a kickoff event, currently planned for September 2021 in Manhattan. The second event will be during the summer of 2022 at the final WAIM Convergence Conference (location tbd). We will also require that each Fellow attend the dissertation defense of at least 2 peer Fellows virtually and will encourage each Fellow to open any public presentation of their research to other members of the cohort as well as members of the larger WAIM network. 

Fellowship applications will be evaluated in relation to their potential for intellectual merit,  broader impact, and resonance with the . For the purpose of this call, we define ‘work’ as the mental or physical activity to achieve tangible benefit such as income, profit, or community welfare. We use the phrase ‘intelligent machines’ to refer to computing technologies characterized by autonomy, the ability to learn, and the ability to interact with other systems and with humans. The first cohort of WAIM Fellows will be announced in early August 2021.

To apply, please submit the following materials by 15 July 2021 (midnight EDT):

  1. Application summarizing a) current thesis status and expected timeline for completion (i.e., dissertation defense), b) potential intellectual merit and broader impact of dissertation research relative to the , c) thesis committee members and d) agreement  to eligibility requirements. 
  2. A 2500-word summary of dissertation research (not including references).
  3. Current CV.
  4. Letter of recommendation from dissertation advisor, including confirmation of dissertation research timeline and eligibility for the fellowship. 

Please direct any questions to Kevin Crowston, Ingrid Erickson or Jeff Nickerson at .