• UKCRC Membership FAQS

    Applying for UKCRC Membership

    Frequently Asked Questions

    January 2009

    What is UKCRC?

    The UK Computing Research Community (UKCRC) is a UK based membership organisation, which aims to represent the interests of the UK computing research community. For example, UKCRC aims to act as an informed and responsible public voice with respect to matters relating to computing, but particularly with respect to computing research. Also, members of UKCRC meet with members of government to discuss issues relating to the funding of computing research, and the assessment of UK computing research quality via the RAE/REF. The formal status of UKCRC is that it is an “expert panel” of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET), British Computer Society (BCS), and the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC). The IET and BCS are the UK professional bodies relating to computing, while the CPHC is the body representing heads of departments and professors of computing. The “expert panel” status means that UKCRC works in cooperation with these organisations, focussing on research matters in particular. UKCRC organises and endorses a number of events, and from time to time issues press releases and similar. 

    Why Should I Want to be a Member of UKCRC?

    For at least two reasons.

    • First, UKCRC aims to represent the interests of the UK computing research community – and if you are a member of that community, then being a member of UKCRC will give you a voice. (Conversely, if you are not a member, then you don’t have any formal status to influence what UKCRC does!)
    • Second, membership of UKCRC implies that you have been recognised as a leading member of the UK computing research community. In other words, membership of UKCRC is itself recognition of your status as a leading UK researcher in the area of computing.

    Who can be a Member of UKCRC? 

    Anybody with a legitimate interest in UK computing research can apply to be a member; in this sense, membership is open. However, the aim of UKCRC is that membership carries with it some seniority status. That is, applicants for membership are required to give evidence of international research leadership.

    What is Evidence of International Research Leadership?  

    Indicators of international research leadership include, but are by no means restricted to:

    • being a Fellow of a recognised learned society
    • having a world class publication record
    • editing a leading journal
    • chairing a premium conference programme committee
    • being invited to speak at high impact/prestigious research events (e.g., major international conferences)
    • chairing an international research society
    • being the recipient of an international research prize or award (such as those made by ACM; “research award” in this sense is not the same as “research grant”)
    • having a particularly strong citation record
    • playing a leading role within an internationally respected industrial or academic research group. Typically UKCRC members have a number of such elements in their profile. 

    How do I apply? 

    The formal process is as follows: send an application to the Secretary (, which should include:

    • a thorough and up-to-date curriculum vitæ,
    • a statement of 2000 words showing evidence of international research leadership,
    • the names of a proposer and seconder, at least one of whom should be a member of UKCRC, with contact details.  

    (All applications will be treated confidentially.)

    How Will My Application be Evaluated?

    Applications are considered quarterly by the UKCRC membership committee. Essentially, the committee ask the following question: Does this candidate show evidence of international research leadership in computing? In reaching a conclusion on this question, the panel will consider both the nature and volume of evidence presented. Where the answer is “yes”, an applicant is usually accepted for membership; where it is “no”, membership is declined. 

    Are Applications Ever Rejected? 

    Yes. A significant fraction of applications are unsuccessful.   

    Why Are Applications Rejected? 

    The main criterion for membership is that the applicant demonstrates evidence of international research leadership. Not surprisingly, therefore, the single biggest reason for applications being declined is that the applicant does not demonstrate this. Several scenarios seem to recur:

    • The applicant demonstrates that they are an active researcher, but not that they are a research leader. “Research leadership” is obviously difficult to define, since it is somewhat subjective, but the list of indicators above should give you some feel for the level of expectation. Having demonstrated competence in research – even over a period of time – is not the same as being a leader.
    • The applicant simply expects the membership panel to realise what a big cheese they are, and does not bother to spell out their achievements. They don’t realise that computing is a broad church, and the membership panel is drawn from many disparate areas: a panel member from theoretical computer science might reasonably be unaware of the status of a researcher from robotics. So, you need to clearly and straightforwardly describe to the panel in your statement precisely why you should be regarded as a leader in your area.
    • The candidate demonstrates a high level of professional service, but not in research. Professional service is an important part of academic life, and diligent professional service deserves to be rewarded; but the UKCRC  is aimed at research. Accordingly, a track record of excellence in professional service is not necessarily an indicator of research leadership. If you wish to draw attention to professional service as evidence of leadership status, you need to demonstrate how it relates to research leadership.
    • The applicant does not really want to be a member. Believe it or not, the panel has in the past received applications that say something along the lines of “I’m not bothered about this stupid organisation, but my boss said I needed to be a member to get promotion”. This does not make for a compelling case. Membership is a privilege, and comes with status. You have to make a case for why you should be accepted as a member.

    My Application was Rejected – Can I Appeal? 

    If your application was unsuccessful, then the panel will try (within reason) to give you feedback on why. If you or the panel feel that you could present your case better, then you can re-apply for membership. If you choose to do this, we urge you to take seriously any advice that the membership panel may give you about missing or weak elements of your case, and not to re-apply until you genuinely feel these elements are addressed. The panel reserves the right not to consider applicants who have made repeated failed applications.

    © UK Computing Research Committee 2009