Doctoral Symposium - Call for Papers

(Virtual Event)

Goal and Scope

The overall goal of the ICSME 2021 doctoral symposium is to help the next generation of ICSME researchers form connections and gain advice on their proposed areas of research. To support this goal, the doctoral symposium welcomes submissions in three tracks: early predoctoral (pre-proposal), late predoctoral (post-proposal), and post-doctoral. The three tracks will meet together for the day to enable multi-level peer mentoring as more senior students and junior researchers reflect on their experiences during their PhD studies.

  • Pre-proposal (Early Pre-doctoral) Track

    This track is open to all students who are or are considering pursuing a doctoral degree in the general area of software maintenance and evolution but have not yet completed the dissertation proposal phase (or equivalent) of their program. Students should have already participated in at least one independent study/research project as part of their research group. This track aims to expose early career students to the ICSME research community and research process and to help them progress toward their dissertation proposal.

  • Post-proposal (Late Pre-doctoral) Track

    This track is open to PhD students currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the general area of software maintenance and evolution, who have completed the dissertation proposal phase (or equivalent) of their program. This track aims to bring together students who (a) are pursuing a specific research question, (b) have a concrete research plan for completing their studies, and (c) have obtained some initial results motivating their methodology and plan. Students will gain feedback from a broader community outside their institution and network with peers in the ICSME research community.

  • Post-doctoral Track

    This track is open to researchers who have recently (in the past year) completed their PhD dissertation in the general area of software maintenance and evolution. This track provides an opportunity for participants to present their research agenda to a general audience and gain feedback in preparation for job interviews. Participants will develop a research vision that builds on their dissertation and learn to present it to a general audience who is familiar with the research area, but not their specific project or focus.


All submissions that meet the submission criteria (see below) and fit the scope of the conference will be evaluated by the doctoral symposium chairs on the basis of their relevance to the ICSME community, their originality, and their technical soundness. Submissions that are not in compliance with the required submission format or that are out of the scope of the conference will be rejected without being reviewed. Submitted papers must comply with IEEE plagiarism policy and procedures.

Publication and Presentation

Accepted post-proposal and post-doctoral papers will be published in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library. Accepted pre-proposal papers will be made available to the attendees of the symposium, but will not be published in the IEEE Xplore Digital Library. Please review the ICSME 2021 Publication Requirements for more details. Participants from all tracks will present at the symposium. Presentations will be limited in time to leave sufficient time for discussion and feedback. Each participant will also prepare and present a poster during the symposium. During the main conference, the author will present the poster again at a public poster session, having the opportunity to receive feedback from the larger audience. More presentation details will follow after notification of acceptance.

Each student author of an accepted paper will have the opportunity to discuss their work one-on-one with a member of the Doctoral Symposium PC or other members of the ICSME research community.

How to Submit

Submissions must be formatted according to the ICSME 2021 Formatting Instructions. Papers should provide all details (name, affiliation, contact details) of the PhD student, who should be the first author of the paper. For early and late pre-doctoral, supervisors should also be authors of the paper. Pre-proposal papers must not exceed 2 pages (including figures and appendices) plus up to 1 page that contains ONLY references. Post-proposal and post-doctoral papers must not exceed 4 pages (including figures and appendices) plus up to 1 page that contains ONLY references. All submissions must be in PDF and must be submitted online by the deadline via the ICSME 2021 Doctoral Symposium EasyChair conference management system.

  • Pre-proposal (Early Pre-doctoral) Track

    For the Pre-proposal (Early Pre-doctoral) Track, the submission should include a description of a research project in which the student has already participated. Focus on research questions and on lessons learned so far about the research and the research process. Expound on your own proposal ideas. What is your general research area? What open questions/problems do you find personally meaningful, and why are they interesting to you? It is acceptable for this to be a broad outline of the research area and where you think you might want to contribute. To encourage students to share their nascent ideas, accepted papers will not be published in the conference proceedings.

  • Post-proposal (Late Pre-doctoral) Track

    For the Post-proposal (Late Pre-doctoral) Track, the submission should include a statement of the general technical problem addressed, its importance, and the specific research questions under investigation. Provide an overview of the related research background in the context of the work being conducted, a sketch of the research methodology, the envisioned contributions, a description of the evaluation method, and the results obtained so far.

  • Post-doctoral Track

    For the Post-doctoral Track, the submission should be a shortened version of a research proposal/statement for a job application and include a synopsis of the PhD dissertation, focusing on the research problem addressed, its contributions, evidence documenting these contributions (in terms of working software systems or case studies), and a statement of their innovation and importance, a description of your research vision going forward for the next few years - not just the next few obvious steps after the dissertation: Think about what your next PhD topic would be. Think big picture! - and two or three "lessons learned” through the PhD process. Reflect on what worked well and what could have gone better. The first of the submission's references should be the author's dissertation, including a URL where it is accessible.

For any questions, please contact the program chairs.

Important Dates

**All submission dates are at 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth, UTC-12)**

  • Full Paper Submission: July 4th, 2021
  • Author Notification: July 24th, 2021
  • Camera-ready Submission: August 11th, 2021

Track Chairs

Julia Lawall (, Inria Paris, France
Ferdian Thung (, Singapore Management University, Singapore