In order to honour Karen's achievements, the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG) in conjunction with the BCS has established an annual award to encourage and promote talented researchers who have endeavoured to advance our understanding of Natural Language Processing or Information Retrieval with significant experimental contributions.

To celebrate the commemorative event, the recipient of the 2021 award will be invited to present a keynote lecture at BCS IRSG’s annual conference — the European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR) next year (in Stavanger, Norway, in April 2022). This forum provides an excellent venue to present and announce the award as the conference attracts many new and young researchers.

More about nominating for the award

Eligibility

Open to all NLP/IR researchers, who have no more than 10 years experience after their Ph.D. at the closing date for nominations (non-research times, e.g. parental leave or career breaks, will be taken into account to ensure equity; please point at such times in the nominee's CVs).

Criteria

To have endeavoured to advance our understanding of NLP or IR or both through experimentation.

Nominations

The following should be provided:

  • Name of nominee, position, affiliation, years since completion of the Ph.D.;
  • Name of person proposing the nominee, position, and affiliation;
  • Short case for the award, not to exceed 2,500 words, highlighting the contributions the individual has made;
  • List of the individual's top five publications reflecting the relevant contributions, and role within these;
  • Two supporting letters from people who would like to encourage/support the nomination.

Nominations should be emailed to the panel chair Professor Jochen L. Leidner <leidner AT acm.org>, Coburg University of Applied Sciences and University of Sheffield.

The support letters can be emailed separately by the referees. It is possible for individuals to nominate themselves, in which case they should provide three support letters. Please note that we anticipate that people who provide support letters will do so only for a single candidate.

Award panel

The Award Panel Chair, appointed by the BCS IRSG Committee, will invite panel members from amongst representatives of the BCS main council, the BCS IRSG Committee, the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL), the Award-sponsoring organisation (unless there could be a conflict of interest), as well as seasoned experts in IR and NLP from academia and industry.

Prize

The recipient of the award will receive a certificate, a trophy, a cash prize of £1000 plus expenses for the awardee to travel to ECIR 2022.

Note that the Karen Spärck Jones Award will now alternate between ECIR and EACL to promote integration between the IR and NLP communities that Karen Spärck Jones was an active member of.

Timeline for the 2021 Award to be presented at ECIR 2022:

  • 10 September 2021 - closing date for nominations;
  • 17 September 2021 - deadline for support letters;
  • 15 December 2021 - notification of the prize recipient;
  • 10 April-14 April 2022 - presentation at ECIR 2022 in Stavanger, Norway.