10 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This area is transversal to the entire conference. Its goal is to create and ensure a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse environment. For that, it needs to work and interact with the other areas.

The Diversity team takes care of the following tasks:

10.1 Diversity statement

A Diversity Statement is a short text that states explicitly the goals for inclusion and participation, and mentions the dimensions of diversity that will be respected during the conference. A Diversity Statement can guide the actions of the whole Organizing Team, and publishing in the public spaces of the conference–along with the Code of Conduct–is one of the elements that signals that the conference is creating a safe space for everyone.

For useR! 2021, the Diversity Statement was the following:

The aim of UseR! 2021 is to build a high-quality conference in a kind, inclusive, accessible, and safe environment for everyone participating.

As a global event, we wish to honor and celebrate all dimensions of human diversity, across dimensions including, but not limited to: age, body ability, career stage, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geographic origin, language, neurodiversity, political views, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. Respect regarding every aspect of human diversity is expected from the organizers, the presenters, the chairs, and the attendees in all spaces of the conference.

We aim to promote proactively the participation and leadership of people from all backgrounds in the organizing committee, the program committee, the presenters, chairs, and the attendees to the event.

This diversity statement can be accompanied of a set of internal measures that will be taken to ensure the participation and leaderships of people with diverse backgrounds.

The Diversity Statement goes hand-in-hand with the Code of Conduct of the Conference and the work of the Code of Conduct Response Team

10.2 Code of conduct

10.2.1 Introduction

The Code of Conduct is a document that aims to keep the useR! community safe. The CoC states explicitly what is considered unacceptable behaviour, in which spaces of the conference it applies, the consequences for incurring in unacceptable behavior, and the procedure to report a violation.

To serve its purpose, the Organizing Committee has to gather a Code of Conduct Response Team, that will get prepared to enforce the Code of Conduct in all spaces of the conference. The team is responsible for taking reports, investigating, deciding on responses, implementing those responses, and informing the community about their decisions.

We strongly recommend that the members of the whole Organizing Team read at least the first chapter of the book How to respond to Code of Conduct reports by Valérie Aurora and that the Code of Conduct Response Team read the whole book. The book is available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, allowing free reuse and modification of the materials as long as you credit the authors. Part of this knowledgebase and of the work of previous useR! Code of Conduct Response Teams are based on advice from that book. For useR! 2021, reading the book was a requisite for being part of the CoC team.

10.2.2 useR! Conferences Code of conduct

The R Foundation has a Code of Conduct Policy that states that conferences organized by the R Foundation must have a code of conduct and provides a standard Code of Conduct. The current standard Code of Conduct is based on the version used at useR! 2018.

You can adopt an alternative Code of Conduct or modify the R Foundation standard Code of Conduct, but any changes should be approved by the R Foundation Conferences Committee (RFCC).

For useR! 2021, the CoC Response Team revised and proposed suggestions to the standard text, in order to adjust it for the online format of the conference. Other rewordings were also proposed, and the final version was approved by the R Foundation.

In the most recent version of the Code of Conduct, the Code of Conduct Team added that any Code of Conduct Response Team member will recuse themselves in case they are part of a report, or have a conflict of interest. The team also added the possibility of making the report directly to the RFCCC in case the victim does not feel safe even after such a recusation (See Code of conduct team), but the team should be large and independent enough to avoid this last resource.

The team also translated the Code of Conduct to Spanish, Portuguese, and French, to account for the global nature of the conference.

10.2.3 Gather a Code of Conduct Response Team

The code of conduct response team must have the full support of the conference organisation committee and the R Foundation leadership. They must be able to work independently and without interference. Even removals in case one of the members commits a significant mistake should be discussed and decided within the Code of Conduct Response Team, without outer interference, and only go to upper instances in cases of non-resolution.

Enforcing a code of conduct is intense emotional labor, and potential members of the Response Team should be aware of it before deciding to accept the role. This also means that looking for the right people is important rather than expecting people to volunteer themselves. The Organizing Team may consider paying the members of the Code of Conduct Response Team due to the emotional charge that enforcing the CoC may represent.

The CoC team members should understand the importance of the Code of Conduct and its effectiveness, and not have reservations about the need to enforce it. They also must be aware of the several types of oppression that exist, and understand that different types of oppression intersect in complex ways that make it impossible to analyze them independently from one another (i.e., they should be aware of the concept of intersectionality). They also should not believe that one form of oppression (e.g. classism, sexism) is more important than others. Looking for candidates with diverse backgrounds may be useful to have a team that understands the complexities of insersecting forms of oppression and the power dynamics that underlie most CoC violations. In particular, potential members should be prepared to act when powerful people in the community are reported, and not show more empathy towards the perpetrators than the victims. You might consider preferring team members with previous response support, university Harassment Advisors, social work, or similar industry HR or NGO role.

The team should be large enough so that it can gather subteams and operate effectively even if a third of its members are not available. It also needs to be large in order to allow members to recuse themselves in case they are a party of a report, or have any relationship with one of the parties. Previously the response team had 3-6 members. During useR! 2021 the team had 11 members, with subgroups assigned to each one of the three timezones.

Having people dedicated exclusively to CoC tasks, and not involved in other areas of the conference–even people from outside the organization team–may reduce the risk of incurring in conflict of interest. Look, for example, among the members of the Partner Communities, whose interest in keeping the community safe is already present.

On the other hand, having a person from the Global Coordinators in the group may create a channel of communication between the Code of Conduct Global Team and the Global Coordinators, which can be beneficial, but only if this connection is not used to undermine the work of the Code of Conduct Response team. The Code of Conduct team must be able to choose freely if the presence of a Global Coordinator is desirable or not in their own context.

Example: The selection for people in the Code of Conduct team at useR! 2021 was first done by asking for volunteers, and then inviting some members of the organising team and the partner communities that represent different groups and regions of the world. The candidates were asked to read the first chapter of the Code of Conduct Response Book, and decide if they were interested in being part of the team. Some one-on-one calls to solve any doubts were made.

10.2.4 Preparing the team

The team needs to be trained to enforce the Code of Conduct in the weeks leading up to the event. Some members may have not been a part of response teams, or may have not had to deal with the wide variety of possible incidents. We recommend sharing the resources with them well in advance so they can read sample cases, and get used to your event’s Code of Conduct.

We recommend to do a follow-up discussion, written or verbal as preferred, to address any specific questions or concerns they might have about scenarios, whether it be aggressive language, possible support from the university’s legal team, or otherwise. These discussions will help you prepare and adjust based on the specific organisational capabilities and the team’s needs.

10.2.5 Code of Conduct Response team tasks

  • Read and discuss the Code of Conduct
  • Write internal guidelines, set response deadlines and write templates for taking reports and responding to them
  • Set up the e-mail for Code of conduct response and define who has access, including backups in case the main responsible is not available
  • Make sure that the Code of Conduct is exhibited proeminently in several spaces of the conference, the website, the forms, and mentionned at the beginning of sessions
  • Define the internal roles and schedules of the team, who are going to be reporters, contact person, their schedules, subteams if any
  • In in-person settings, know which room can be made available to the response team on short notice in case they need to meet or interview, in private
  • In online settings, prepare conference helpers to give instructions to any potential reporter on how to contact the Code of Conduct team
  • Check if you can get support from the hosts’s legal team if needed, and what would that look like during the event of afterwards
  • Decide and prepare on a simple way to identify the response team (lanyard, badge, icon on chat platforms, etc.) and communicate this to the conference attendees
  • Agree on an internal communication channel between the members (email, phone, messaging app, etc.). In useR! 2021 the same channel that was used for team discussions was set to be the official communication channel, but a backup Telegram group was also created, for emergencies

10.2.6 Code of Conduct communication

The team needs to agree on efficient and appropriate communication channels among the team, and with the organising committee during the event. Consider exchanging phone numbers, setting up a messaging group, using an ever growing email thread, etc.

Lastly, it is good practice to have a face to face meeting of the team on site, preferably a day before the event or the morning of the first day. Hopefully previous discussions have already started to build trust and cooporation among the team. If needed take the time to do some quick team building, and resolve any last minute operational issues.

Communication to the attendees

We recommend to encourage, or require, all the conference participants to read and understand the CoC well in advance. Some conference hang signs with the CoC, and the contact details (email, phone number, names) of the response team, but it is not required. We recommend to the Coc Response Team contact details and identifiers in the event’s website, and information booklet, as well as mention it in the opening comments to the event.

CoC email for the event

The organising committee is recommended to set up a secure stand alone email account for the response team, which can be deleted at a later date. This address should have limited access to respect the privacy of everyone involved. The response team can decide if everyone on the team has access, if for example, they wish to rotate the responsibility of checking it during the event, or if it is the responsibility of 1-2 members only. For useR! 2021, one member per timezone had access to the email account.

10.2.7 Preparing report-taking guidelines

The Code of Conduct response team should prepare and be familiarized with their documents for report-taking and for solving each violation. This preparation should be done as soon as possible after the team is completed, and not wait for the event. Bear in mind that violations of the Code of Conduct may happen before the event since the spaces of the conference include Social media interactions, email communications, and the organizing team work itself.

You can check an example for Code of conduct guidelines from useR! 2021 in the Appendix

10.2.8 Resources to prepare team members

  • R Foundation CoC Policy
  • Forwards Guidelines for Code of Conduct Policy. This is a draft that has not yet been accepted by the R Foundation.
  • This CoC Response ebook contains many useful case studies. Previous response team members found it useful to read it before the event.
  • Forwards can share anonimised previous reports with the team, but they are not for public circulation. During the event

  • Team members should check the response team email regularly
  • You might want to take turns being responsible for it so you don’t feel like you’re spending the entire conference worried about checking for new emails

If an incident is reported one team member should take the lead on [receiving the report], forming the response], and [communicating the response].

We recommend that another team member accompanies the lead responder as a quiet observer, when they receive the report, and communicate the response. They can then help the responder remember details, give advice, and provide emotional support.

We also recommend that the entire team has a chance to get clarifications, and provide feedback on the proposed response. We also recommend that a core organiser and core Forwards member join them. For this purpose, we recommend that the organisers inform the team if there is a quiet room that can use on demand. After the event

When the response team concludes their work, ideally up to 30 days after the event:

  • Close any reports and anonymize them
  • Write a transparency report with the information anonymized and share it with the Global Organisation Team
  • Delete the event’s CoC email email to avoid later data concerns, and all other data as recommended by Forwards data retention policy draft.

10.3 Liaison with Forwards and Partner Communities

Liaison with Forwards and partner communities is key to the success of the conference, especially when reaching groups that have been systematically excluded from academic events.

The partner communities might want to organize academic and social events during the conference. Forwards will also be key when discussing good practices in accessibility, and post-conference surveys.

10.4 Forwards survey

Forwards, the R Foundation taskforce on women and other under-represented groups, has been running a survey to understand the demographic composition, motivations, and experiences of the useR! attendants since 2016.

10.4.1 Privacy

Make sure that Forwards survey fully complies with GDPR be mindful that, for all European citizens, this law is applicable worldwide. This includes:

  • Explicitly requesting the consent of survey participants to their data collection

  • Mentioning what is the intent of the collection, where the data will be saved and who will be able to access them

  • Avoiding any identifying question (note that, for instance, a question on the country of origin can be identifying if you have only one person coming from a given country at the conference)

  • Organizing full security of personal data storage (this usually includes encrypting the collected data), especially if you have sensitive question in your survey (sexual orientation, religion, … are examples of sensitive questions)

  • Publishing only aggregated data with no identifying information

  • Making sure that you will be able to quickly inform participants if a breach is found in data privacy

  • Making sure that you will be able to delete someone’s data if they request it

Note that some countries have additional legal constrains regarding the collection of some sensitive data. Make sure that you are fully informed about what you are allowed to collect or not.

10.5 How to organise the useR! Conference Buddies

10.5.1 What is a Conference Buddy?

Conference buddies are volunteers prepared to be identified as people that will help diversity scholars, conference first timers, and others to feel welcome and to make the most of useR!. The role is suitable for people who are seasoned R community members, conference goers, or have previously attended useR!.

We ask the useR! buddies to:

  • Attend Diversity Scholarship Meet & Greets (if available).
  • Attend the My First useR! session (if available).
  • Wear buddies lanyard/pins/other special identifiers.
  • Be friendly and helpful.
  • Use gender neutral language.
  • Help people connect and network so they don’t feel like outsiders.
  • Have useful info about events and locations to offer .
  • Have contacts of CoC, organisers, locals to get further help.

Individual buddies may also be asked to look out for/help support specific participants, e.g. a participant who is blind or has social anxiety, but they would not be expected to be a companion to such a participant for the whole conference (without prior agreement).

10.5.2 Organizing conference buddies

Note this will typically be organized in conjunction with sessions such as the diversity scholar meet and greets and the My First useR! session. Coordinate with the conference organisation team

  • How will buddies be marked? Badge colours, lanyard, arm band, etc. Try to avoid dependence on colour only, or at least choose colours carefully.
  • How will buddies get their marker? At registration or do you need to distribute it?
  • How will the buddy initiative be advertised:
    • On the conference website?
    • In the conference booklet?
    • During the welcome talk? If so, how will they be introduced, e.g. asked to stand up, or just mention how to find them to all conference goers.
  • How will people with visual impairments reach out to buddies? Via email/Twitter, with buddies willing to share contact information? Via a “Head buddy” or the disability contact on the local committee? Create a sign up form

There is a Google Form template you can copy for sign up useR! YEAR Conference Buddies Sign Up. Please update the following:

  • Update logo image for current useR! combined with the Forwards logo.
  • Update the year / hub in the form name.
  • In the first question in section 2, replace “DATE AND TIME” with the relevant conference buddies meetings for your event.
  • In the second question in section 2, update the year / hub in the questions and be sure to paste the link to the conference’s CoC in the question description.
  • If you don’t need volunteers for the CoC response team, you can delete the 3rd section. Gather a team of buddies

A few weeks before the conference (after abstracts have been accepted) share a call for buddies with:

  • Prominent R Community members
  • Diversity Scholars Committee
  • R-Ladies slack channel for useR! attendees
  • RainbowR slack channel for useR! attendees
  • Forwards Members
  • Local R Community members

Open call for buddies through Forwards twitter handle, example tweet:

We’re organising #useR2019 Buddies to support first timers to #rstats and #conferences. If you’re a seasoned R community member and/or conference goer, please consider volunteering with us to help make #useR2019 awesome for everyone. Sign up here: You can reach out to @noatamir for more details! Communicate with the buddies

About a week before the conference, or on a rolling basis as sign ups arrive, send the buddies a short email thanking them for volunteering, explaining what we ask them to do (see above), and give them the contact details for the volunteer organising them so they have a go-to person. If you already know, tell them where they can get their buddy marker, or that you will be in touch with them on site. Be sure to put all email addresses in BCC to avoid sharing email addresses. Example email:

Dear All,

Thanks for volunteering to be conference buddies at useR! For those of you that can make it, we will have a short meet and greet with the diversity scholars on DATE AND TIME. We will meet at LOCATION.

Note this is intended to be a private meeting and some diversity scholars wish their scholarship to be confidential, so please do not bring along anyone else without letting us know they are coming. We shall have to be discreet in moving to the main room for the My First useR! session!

Of course some of the diversity scholars will not be at the meet and greet, however I have shared your names with them so they know to look out for you. The following are happy for their name to be shared with you, so please look out for them:

The list of conference buddies is as follows:

Conference buddies will have a differently designed conference badge (red and black rather than the standard yellow and white), so that diversity scholars and other first timers will know that you’re happy to talk to them. If you haven’t already done so, please add a photo and profile to the conference portal/app, so that people can find out a bit more about you before coming.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the conference,

Name, on behalf of Forwards

10.6 Financial support and diversity scholarships

Some participants have difficulties attending useR! even if they receive online fee waivers. Care-taking duties, bad internet connection, or accessibility requirements that are not covered by the general accessibility practices of the conference (e.g., sign language interpreters), among others, can difficult the attendance to the event, even remotely.

The financial support program was implemented during useR! 2021 and aims to provide individual monetary aids independent from the diversity scholarships and from the general accessibility practices. Attendees requested mostly child-care support and mobile internet connection.

The registration form included a section asking for this type of requirement. A subteam of the Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Team handled the individual cases, communicated with the attendees, and took care of the payment process.

10.7 Information on useR! Diversity Scholarships

10.7.1 General process

  • December: Applications open

  • February: Applications close

  • February/March: Reviewing phase (ca. 2 weeks)

  • March: Announcement of decisions

10.7.2 Before application phase starts Contact conference organizers

  • to clarify organization questions (how many free tickets, how much funding, visa fees covered?)

  • to coordinate for logistics during the conference:

    • We need rooms for the diversity scholars meet and greets. Preferably one on the workshop day, and one on day 1 of the main conference.
    • They should provide you with the diversity scholars emails, or email them on your behalf, so you can introduce the buddies initiative, invite them to the meet and greet and newbie session, and ask them permission to share their names with other scholars and with the buddies. Application form and portal

No consistent form/portal used in the past years. Solutions from the past years: R Foundation LimeSurvey, university internal portal.

Make all fields mandatory to ensure all relevant information is provided. Limit the length for text fields and explicitly state that additional documents (CV, external document with longer answers, etc.) won’t be taken into consideration for reviewing. This ensures equal treatment of all applications.

Make sure the server use and location comply with with data protection regulation.

Example of forms used previously Create coordinating/contact team

Appoint 2-3 people from the diversity team (and/or conference organizers) to handle logistics during and after application phase. Tasks include:

  • communicating with conference organizers,
  • answering questions from applications or reviewers,
  • make final decisions based on reviewers grade, diversity balance among scholars, available funds. Create reviewing committee

Around 10 people from Forwards, R-Ladies, etc. Usually there are around 150-200 applications, so 30-40 per reviewer.

Examples of reviewers from past years: Anna Quaglieri, Augustina Ragwitz, Imke Mayer, Jennifer Thompson, Jonathan Godfrey, Julie Josse, Maëlle Salmon, Scott Chamberlain, Sina Rüeger.

It is helpful if the committee is diverse, reflecting the marginalized groups that are likely to apply.

10.7.3 During application phase

Create an email alias specifically for DS related questions. Inform the conference organizers to forward questions related to DS to this alias.

10.7.4 Reviewing and decision

Every application will be evaluated by 2 committee members, using a 1-4 scale. Evaluation criteria

  • The reasons for scholarship request are compelling, based on description of their R background and potential impact on their community.

  • Are they from a country, region or area not typically represented at useR! (Jill Waring and Noa Tamir have stats from 2016, 2017, 2019 attendance by nation), or from an under-represented and/or historically marginalized group?

  • Applicant information provided through the form is verified by examining their public profile on twitter, GitHub, R package authorship, R mailing lists, via links provided by applicant.

  • Note: The requested amount of funding will vary and is not taken into account for the evaluation.

  • Ideally give preference to individuals who have not been awarded DS in previous several years, but not a firm exclusion criteria, e.g., per Laura’s suggestion, some individuals may make continued and substantial contributions to the R community, which would be worthwhile to recognize and support. Summary scores

Interpretation of summary scores:

1 - nothing outstanding

2 - some potential, but not enough given the quality/content of other applications

3 - generally good, but still some drawback (e.g., not much opportunity to pay forward, etc.)

4 - ticks all the boxes (recommendation: favor the most marginalised groups/people, e.g. disabled folk, with least opportunity and/or those that contribute a lot of volunteer time to the R community)

The final selection will be based on the average score (between the two reviewers), with additional consideration of aims to include people from as many different groups as possible.

10.7.5 At useR! conference

  • Announce the DS welcome event as early as possible so that scholars can take their plane/train tickets to be able to attend it. Make sure they are aware of any pre-conference events, such as developer days, so they can attend if possible.

  • Example for the email to the scholars (including the newbie session details):

Dear Diversity Scholars,

We are looking forward to meeting you at useR! YEAR. We wanted to make sure you noticed the following events in the schedule on DATE:

The first is an opportunity just for diversity scholars to meet members of Forwards and a few other people who have volunteered to be conference buddies - people you can come to during the conference to ask questions or just chat with during the breaks, in case you don’t know anyone already!

The second is open to anyone who is new to useR! and will have a program of short, informal talks on a variety of topics that we think will be helpful for newcomers to the R community. Hopefully this will be a gentle introduction to the conference, a chance to meet more people - perhaps people going to the same tutorials as you the next day!

If you can’t come to these events, don’t worry. The team of conference buddies will be on the lookout for you to help you feel welcome at the conference. The conference buddies are: LIST OF BUDDIES

We don’t advertise the names of diversity scholars to all attendees as you may not wish to publicize your scholarship. However recipients from last year said they wish they had known who the other scholars were, so we would like to share your name with other diversity scholars as well as the team of conference buddies. Please answer this quick poll: to let us know if you are happy for us to share you name with either/both groups. If you wish to remain anonymous you should not attend the meet and greet! Of course your name is known to a few people on the evaluation committee and on the local organisation committee, but we will respect your wishes regarding confidentiality.

Best wishes, Name, on behalf of Forwards

  • There is a Google Form template you can copy for the scholars to agree to share their names useR! Conference Buddies - Scholars Form. Please update the following:
    • Update logo image for current useR! combined with the Forwards logo
    • Update the year / hub in the form name
    • In the first question in section 2, replace “DATE AND TIME” with the relevant conference buddies meetings for your event Agenda for DS welcome event

  • Welcome

  • Meet & Greet

  • Outline the process for reimbursement of expenses

10.7.6 Tips for the DS team Sub-coordination team

Create a small coordination team of 2-3 people taking care of answering applicants questions and coordinating the evaluation process (allocate applications to the diversity committee members, define evaluation standards together with Forwards team, collect the committee members’ evaluations, manage the final selection process and communicate results to local organization committee). Unsuccessful applicants will wish for some feedback - even providing the numbers of submitted and successful applications can help them understand why they missed out. Information use and storage

  • Follow the data storage guidelines to decide how and where to store the application and review data. Note that the guidelines may depend on an reviewer’s country of residency.

    • Data storage and usage guidelines for European citizen reviewers: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32016R0679
    • Reviewers within the EEA and New Zealand (countries covered by an adequacy decision by GDPR) can download the raw data from the application platform and store the data securely on a local drive (not cloud storage)
  • Communicate the guidelines to the reviewing committee to ensure adequate data storage and usage. Emphasize that it may contain sensitive information and must not be shared with anyone.

  • Keep the information on requested funding until shortly after the conference in case it needs to be accessed for reimbursement purposes.

  • At the end of the conference, send a reminder to all committee members to delete all the applicant information. Reviewing forms

Provide an evaluation form - 1 field for summary score (only whole numbers) - 1 field for notes on why the reviewer has scored the application at this level. What stands out as relevant applicant features or circumstances you considered in your evaluation of application?

The comment will help for making the final decisions in case of a tie. Clarify reimbursement methods with the office taking care of reimbursement process

The method(s) of reimbursement should be practical for international recipients. Bank wire (+ fees?), paypal, xoom, transferwise, etc.

Appoint a contact person for reimbursement related questions (or ask the conference organization to provide the name and contact of the person handling reimbursement). Acceptance letters

For advice on specific wording for acceptance letters, to be most effective for Visa applications see suggestions from Heather below. Consider also consulting the International Students office of the co-hosting university. Notes about acceptance letters content, via Heather Turner:

It may help to personalize them if possible. E.g., “the committee were impressed by your work on …”, to show they are invited due to specific skills/expertise. Visa offices are very concerned about the person returning, so also emphasising community involvement, e.g., “It is good that you will be able to share the knowledge learned with the R User Group in X when you return”.

Some specific advice from Canadian government, which is probably good advice for US visa applicants also:

We stress how vital it is that applicants […] provide as much information in their application as possible, especially regarding ties to their home country and the means and plans to return as that is the most common reason that applications are refused. ( From https://twitter.com/PhABCD/status/1194711596423163905?s=20)

Confirm that the scholarship covers return travel and accommodation while they are in the US. I like the idea of naming institutions that support the conference, not just naming the conference which they won’t of heard of (and doesn’t have a very meaningful name outside the community). According to Kevin O’Brien, who is looking into this issue for Forwards, an invitation signed by a Government agency can improve the chances of a Visa Application being accepted, so if the conference has such an association, or a person working for such an agency (e.g. National Statistics agency) that can sign it with their job title and affiliation as well as organizing committee association, that could help.

10.7.7 Tips for applicants

The following Tips for Diversity Scholarship Applicants can be shared on the conference website.

  • Check whether the funder has a policy on awarding scholarships to people that attended under a scholarship previously, or who have had another scholarship in the past year.

  • If there is a clear exclusion and this applies to you, please sit this one out, and allow someone else to have an opportunity for assistance.

  • Otherwise, disclose any scholarships as requested, but don’t let previous success hold you back from applying.

  • Be as specific as possible - don’t make the reviewers guess or infer things. For example:

    • Don’t just put that your organization is XYZ Computing, give your job title too. Are you an intern? A full-time employee?
    • Break down costs as much as possible.
    • When looking for airfare, look for the cost for coach.
    • Don’t leave any costs out. Let the committee decide if the cost is reasonable and can be covered by the scholarship.
    • Evidence your technical competence. Provide links to an online portfolio of work. For an R conference, reviewers will be looking to establish a base level of R competence and evidence that you are developing your R skills. Your portfolio might include:
      • Coursework showing individual work.
      • Analysis scripts.
      • Articles/blog posts that show your code.
      • Presentations or tutorials with code that you have written.
      • A Shiny app.
      • Contributions you have made to publicly available packages.
    • Evidence of your commitment to the field/community. Demonstrate that this is a real interest and that you are in it for the long term, for example, for an R conference you might mention:
      • R courses you have taken.
      • How you use R in your work.
      • Articles/blog posts where you have used R.
      • Involvement in R-ladies, an R User Group or other R-related initiative.
  • Explain how you will pay it forwards. How will you share what you have learned? Let the committee know how their investment in you will have a wider impact. For example, for an R conference you might:

    • Commit to writing a blog post. Evidence of previously blogging about R would be an advantage.
    • Commit to live tweeting to share conference highlights with the R community. Evidence of doing this for previous conferences, or using your Twitter account to share insights about R would be an advantage.
    • Commit to presenting a talk or workshop at your workplace/R user group. Prior experience of giving such presentations would be an advantage.
    • Discuss how you hope to integrate new R developments into your courses.
    • Describe your existing mentoring roles and discuss how up-to-date knowledge of R would be beneficial in these roles.
    • Discuss how a specific conference tutorial will facilitate work in progress that will be shared with the community.
  • Make your application stand out by adding in some flavour about your personal journey in R. Without making your application too lengthy, paint the reader a picture of who you are, and why you deserve funding.

    • How did you get to this point?
    • What is your motivation for applying?

10.7.8 FAQ

A small list of questions from applicants during application phase.

  • Q: Is it possible to obtain more specifications about who is eligible for this diversity scholarship?
    • A: No. We cannot provide a precise qualification of which kind of persons could be targeted by the diversity scholarship since this could pose a threat for the scholars’ personal life. But if you think you might be eligible based on the provided scholarship description, send us your application. Otherwise, please refrain from applying.
  • Q: The provided space for answers in the application form is too small. Can I send in a separate document with more detailed answers?
    • A: No, please use the available space and try to be as concise as possible. To ensure equal chances in the evaluation process, we cannot review more detailed applications from some applicants while considering only the shorter answers of all other applicants.
  • Q: What are my chances of getting the diversity scholarship?
    • A: In the past we received many applications and many of them met the requirements but due to limited funding, we couldn’t fund every eligible candidate. If you consider that you are eligible for our diversity scholarship, please fill in the application form. But you should also consider alternative funding possibilities to increase your chances of attending useR! with a funding.