Notes on SIGCHI Budget FY19
Over the last few years, the SIGCHI budget continues to be healthy. SIGCHI conferences and other activities have grown consistently and from a budget perspective have consistently broken even. This has provided us with sufficient funds that we can plough back into the community.
Here is a brief note that collects together highlights of the budget planned for FY19. This budget covers conference activities from March 1, 2018 through February 28, 2019 and organization activities from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
To support the specialised conferences, we have set aside $ 60,000 in a Specialised Conference Development Fund. SIGCHI is providing financial resources through this fund to support activities that are helpful for sponsored specialized conferences to help improve the delegate experience. These might be things to help with attendance, special costs, to bootstrap new activity or initiatives which are valuable but don’t create an unsustainable precedent. What sort of activities have been supported you might ask? Well these include, a writing workshop, telepresence program, doctoral consortium, tutorial program, panels, broadening participation, summer school, travel grants, demo reception, video recording and mobile broadband. If you have an idea for such an activity make sure you get in touch with the steering committee chair of the conference series.
SIGCHI is providing these financial resources based on the financial history of a conference series to support activities that can be helpful beyond the standard budget. The financial history of a conference is related to the Surplus/Loss returned to the SIGCHI from the conferences series, as measured since 2011. Conferences we have supported in the past include CSCW, CHIPlay, UbiComp, MobileHCI, IUI, RecSys, ISS, UIST, ETRA, ICMI, VRST and UMAP. The funding offered to these conferences since the program started in 2015 totals nearly $250,000.
SIGCHI has set aside another $15,000 to support diversity and inclusion events at SIGCHI conferences. In the past we have seen great initiatives within individual conferences to broaden participation, improve internationalisation or address aspects on inclusion. Examples of these include the UbiComp / ISWC Broadening Participation Workshop, Women of UIST events, CHI Women’s Breakfasts, CHI Diversity & Inclusion Lunch and TVX in Asia Forum. This special funding initiative aims to support the establishment of such activities across our family of conferences which can increase the participation and success of underrepresented groups in HCI. Since this program started we have supported an internationalisation, mentoring and diversity events.
Each year the cost of the CHI conference varies from country to country. To assist with planning for future conferences we have set aside $150,000 to help us to plan future budgets in the face of increasing costs at a time where registration costs haven’t increased.
SIGCHI has been carrying out several activities to develop the community. We have been running summer and winter schools in different countries, and we plan to spend $ 65,000 next year doing the same. For the past two years, we have run courses at CHI to support members in developing skills in communicating with the public and the media. We had very favourable feedback following CHI 2017, and will survey attendees again this year, before deciding whether to re-run or adapt.
We plan to help promote our chapters through chapter banners and other publicity materials at conferences. The annual Chapter Officer Meetings at CHI will be continued. Travel grants may be available for the chapter officers to attend the meeting. We also plan to continue the Chapter Officer support in the form of ACM and SIGCHI memberships as a reward for volunteering as a chapter officer.
Each year, SIGCHI spends a considerable sum of money for providing grants to several sections of the HCI community worldwide. Next year too, we have planned to spend substantial amounts with this goal. This includes $ 70,000* towards Student Travel Grants, $ 50,000 for Gary Marsden Award, $ 15,000 for Early Career Mentorship Program for the Developing World and $ 20,000 towards a post-doctoral consortium. SIGCHI EC also supports some students who are ECVs (EC volunteers) to attend conferences such as CHI.
The SIGCHI has been supporting the development of HCI community around the world. Next year we have planned $ 35,000 for supporting development of HCI communities in Asia through the Asian Development Committee and another $85,000 to support other activities around the world. The SIGCHI Across Borders Initiative, aimed at gathering needs and requirements from (initially) Africa and Latin America, has held two symposia so far – one in Alexandria, Egypt, and one in Guatemala City, Guatemala. We expect to hold more of these, as well as sessions to train people to continue this process in their own geography.
Members may have already noticed in the current year that the new SIGCHI website is a lot richer and a lot more interesting. We have planned a budget for $360,000 in the next year towards a series of website enhancements. This work will not only enhance the website but improve tools for volunteers. We will be delivering a new mobile app at the CHI 2018 conference. This has already been working in smaller conferences. We will be improving the tools for organizing the papers process for conferences as well as simplifying submission to the ACM Digital Library. Our big endeavour will be to use the papers, and sessions that you are interested in to help suggest conference events, publications and videos that will be useful to you personally. We want to make SIGCHI resources as accessible to each individual as possible.
Earlier this month, we piloted a new venue called CHI Lites, in an effort to increase the public’s awareness of HCI. CHI Lites featured six short talks ‘on the future of life with tech’, delivered by SIGCHI members. Tickets were available to the public and the event was videoed; we will be sharing the videos via social media and our website. We will evaluate how successful this is and will potentially repeat the event in Glasgow in CHI 2019. The pilot cost approximately $10,000, half of which was spent on honorariums for the ECVs (EC student volunteers) who supported the event (branding, webpage, publicity, etc.). As noted above, honorariums then support students in attending SIGCHI conferences. If we repeat the event, one goal is to increase the diversity of our speakers (we had few volunteers from countries where English isn’t spoken), perhaps by investing in speaker coaching.
* The budget of $ 70,000 is based on the historical rate of claims of Student Travel Grants. SIGCHI does have a buffer to allow us to support this program up to $108,000 based on the use of discretionary funds.