Career Course

Report on the CLARA Career Course on Product Planning for Next Generation Information Access Technology Solutions, held at Dubrovnik, 20–23 Sep. 2011

Goal and audience

The CLARA Industrial Career Training Course on Product Planning for Next Generation Information Access Technology Solutions was meant for early stage and experienced researchers in Language Resources and Technology. The course offered complementary transferable skills for their future R&D careers in industry or in academic cooperation with industry. A secondary goal was to promote interaction and cooperation between ESRs and ERs. The teaching methods included hands-on group work, role playing and highly interactive sessions.

Training components

  1. Transferable skills in product planning for next generation information access technology solutions, including technology potential assessment, product development, cooperation between academia and industry, etc. The course responsible for this component was Marko Tadić (University of Zagreb).  It contained the following components:
    1. Introduction to news information systems; desired functionality and examples of existing services; hands-on practice with existing services; towards a system for semantic analysis of text (Željko Hodonj, Hina, Croatian Information and News Agency) (slides part 1, slides part 2)
    2. Analysis of user needs; how to shape the project; estimates on existing LT that could meet user requests; description of existing resources and tools for Croatian; adaptation of existing resources and tools to the project; examples of existing services (Marko Tadić, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb) (slides)
    3. Developer’s view on accomodating resources and tools; lemmatisation module and NERC module (Željko Agić, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb)
    4. Developer’s view on developing modules; document classification module; keyword extraction module; module for training and tracking the system (Artur Šilić and Frane Šarić, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb) (slides)
  2. Transferable skills in project shaping and consortium formation for cooperation with academia and industry, proposal writing to maximize impact and exploitation, R&D management in industry. The course responsibles for this part were Inguna Skadiņa and Aivars Bērziņš (TILDE) who led the following training:
    1. EU research programs for ICT and relevant work programmes
    2. EU proposal writing: Getting access to information, finding the main instruments, the preparation process, requirements for consortia, general requirements for proposals; financial models
    3. Exercise (group work) on project proposal preparation based on EU requirements and guidelines
    4. EU project and consortium management, including practical exercise on budget formation.
  3. Transferable skills in R&D project and group management, profiling and presentation, non-technical dissemination, creativity, social factors etc. The course responsible for this part was Victoria Rosén (University of Bergen and Uni Research).
    1. R&D group management, group composition, norms to promote cooperation, conflict resolution (group response exercises)
    2. Presentation of research to non-technical audiences, participation in interviews (group work in role playing)
    3. Creating innovative interdisciplinary projects (group work)
  4. Transferable skills in writing for scientific dissemination and project description, communicative skills for presentation.  The course responsible was Koenraad De Smedt (University of Bergen).
    1. Writing for scientific dissemination: Formulating a message to an audience, handling references and bibliographies, and choosing appropriate writing tools. Demonstration in bibliography handling.
    2. Transferable skills for communication and presentation: Planning and performing oral presentations, making slides, posters and handouts (Group exercise in making a poster for presentation).


The course resulted in the acquisition of the following main types of R&D knowledge and skills:

  • Participants got a wider understanding of how language resources and tools can affect commerce and society. Željko Hodonj’s critical introduction on the mixed interests of the news press sector with (public responsibility vs profitability) provided a powerful motivation for moving from facts to deeper knowledge, including relations between entities and knowledge about the source of information and how it was edited and disseminated.  This can be done with the help of language technologies.
  • Participants got an appreciation of challenges in moving from research to development, and to manage projects with an impact on society through useful development. This includes an understanding of the distinction between functional and non-functional but important requirements, the process of adapting existing modules to specifications, and testing procedures with accuracy conditions tight enough to measure the success of candidate systems. Course participants also learned the importance of system integration, evaluation, and system robustness through module administration, action logging, error detection and recovery.  Also the importance of documentation and high level views of system architecture for knowledge transfer was imparted.
  • Participants exercised their skills for presentation, handling of interviews (with media, sponsors, etc), group dynamics, interdisciplinary cooperation and dissemination of results, including publication as well as lateral thinking for exploring different options for exploitation.


The course program was coordinated by Koenraad De Smedt (University of Bergen).  The course was open to researchers in Language Resources and Technology from industry and academia, and was obligatory for all CLARA ESRs and ERs.  All active and able CLARA ESRs and ERs attended the course. The course spanned four days and offered 2 ECTS credits. The course was held at a the Centre for Advanced Academic Studies (CAAS), a conference center with integrated dormitory, and the local contact was Marko Tadić (University of Zagreb). The schedule is on the CLARA calendar.

Evaluation and documentation

Participant list (signed)

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