Think Tank

Student ThinkTank

The ICAD 2021 Student ThinkTank will be held on Friday, June 25, 2021—the day before the main virtual conference begins.  The ThinkTank will be a virtual full day meeting for graduate and advanced undergraduate students working on projects in auditory display and sonification. Students who participate in the ThinkTank receive intensive feedback on their works-in-progress from a panel of auditory display experts and ICAD student peers. In addition to providing insights and constructive feedback on individual student projects, the ThinkTank is intended to foster friendships and additional opportunities for on-going formal and informal mentorship of students by the ICAD community. The ThinkTank is free of charge, and ThinkTank presenters will have their registration fees for the main conference waived. More information is available at

Important ThinkTank Dates

April 30, 2021: Deadline to apply to participate in the ThinkTank

Mid-may, 2021: Notifications delivered

June 25, 2021: ThinkTank virtual meeting (9:00 AM – 4:00 PM EST)

Who Can Apply?

We invite graduate students or advanced undergraduate students to apply to present their work at the ThinkTank. Applicants who are selected to participate in the Thinktank will be required to prepare and present a virtual, semi-formal presentation of their work. Students who apply to present their work are expected to be available to participate in the entirety or majority of the day’s activities. Student scholars will also have an opportunity to present their posters in the main conference poster session. In addition to the formal presentations of successful applicants it is also possible to attend the session as an observer. If you’d like to register to attend as an observer, please send an email to  We welcome applications from all students interested in auditory display and sonification, even if they have never attended a previous ICAD conference.

What Happens at the ThinkTank?

Student ThinkTank participants will prepare semi-formal, 15-minute presentations of their on-going work in auditory display and sonification. Following each presentation, the panel and the student audience will offer 15 minutes of constructive feedback and intensive discussion of the project. The ThinkTank is an especially useful opportunity for students to receive help with identifying and addressing potential pitfalls to the advancement of their projects. In addition to the presentation, the ThinkTank will provide opportunities for breakout discussion sessions on topics of interest to ICAD students and other opportunities for informal networking and discussion of mutual interests. 

How to Apply to Participate 

ThinkTank applications should include a cover letter, a two-page research summary, a letter of recommendation from the student’s current advisor/supervisor, and a 1-page CV, as described below. 

1. One-page Cover letter 

Your cover letter should include the following information:

  • Statement of interest in participating in the ThinkTank.
  • Full name of School and Department in which you are taking your degree.
  • Current stage in your academic program (e.g., completed MS, 2 years into PhD).
  • Name of the supervising professor.
  • Your full contact information: address, phone number, and email address.
  • Title of the research and keywords pertinent to the research.
  • The URL of your web page (if any).

2. Two-page research summary

The research summary should provide a clear overview of (1) research that you have already conducted in auditory displays or sonification; (2) research you are in the process of planning or completing; and/or (3) ideas for research that you would like to pursue. The statement should discuss the relevance and potential impact of the research on the field, and discuss its broader impact in the world. You are encouraged to include the following sections:

  • Introduction, background, and problem description.
  • Goal of the research.
  • Current status of the research, including preliminary results (if any)
  • Broader impact of this research.
  • Potential topics to be discussed at the ThinkTank
  • Expected outcomes from participating in the ThinkTank: What do you hope to get out of this experience?
  • Any additional suggestions for topics that you would like to discuss with peers and panelists during breakout sessions (career advice, on-going mentoring opportunities, collaborations, etc.)    

3. Letter of recommendation

Include a letter of recommendation written by your current advisor or supervisor. Your advisor/supervisor is asked to verify that you are a graduate (or undergraduate) student, working in the area of sonification or auditory display. Advisors are also encouraged to include an assessment of the current status of your research and an indication of the expected date of its completion. In addition, your advisor is encouraged to indicate what they hope you would gain by participating in the ThinkTank.  If your advisor/supervisor prefers, they can submit the letter directly to 

4. Curriculum vitae (CV)

Please prepare a one-page CV that relates your background, relevant experience, and research accomplishments.

Selection and Notification

Up to 10 of the submissions will be selected for participation. The criteria used to select participants will include: (1) the relevance of the research to the field of auditory display and sonification; (2) the clarity and quality of the research questions posed in the application; and (3) the potential for the applicant to benefit from participating in the ThinkTank.  The Panel will also strive to select applicants and research topics to represent the diversity of people and interests in the auditory display community, including students in all phases of the thesis or dissertation process.  Notifications will be forthcoming in mid-May 2021.    

All applicants may participate in the ThinkTank to observe the presentations and join in the discussions; however, only the ten selected submissions will be able to make a formal oral presentation. 

How to Submit:

Please email your submission materials (PDF format preferred) by 30th April 2021 to the ThinkTank chair, Michael Nees (  

ThinkTank Panel:

The following expert panelists are tentatively confirmed to participate in the Thinktank:

Dr. Jing Chen, Old Dominion University

Dr. Visda Goudarzi, Columbia College Chicago

Dr. Elif Ozcan Vieira, Delft University of Technology

Dr. Rafael Patrick, Virginia Tech

Dr. Sandra Pauletto, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Dr. Michael Nees (Thinktank Chair), Lafayette College


Please contact the ThinkTank chair, Michael Nees (, if you have any questions.