Join the Academic Metaverse

While Covid-19 has brought about much pain over the last two years, it has also given us, as academics, new opportunities to innovate and collaborate. Our closest neighbors—in terms of technical interests—are often half a world away, but no longer must we do ourselves the disservice of only seeing them a couple times per year. Instead, we must ask ourselves: What might we and our peers be able to accomplish by regularly meeting together in a virtual space? And what new people might we meet virtually for which it would be nearly impossible to meet physically?

To that end, Virtual Chair is seeking academics interested in any or all of the following:

 

  1. Get a virtual office in the prototype academic metaverse

  2. Organizing or participating in a virtual institute

  3. Organizing or participating in a virtual academic event

We describe each of these in more detail below.  Questions can be emailed to <cfp+virtual-institute@virtualchair.net>.

1) Get a virtual office in the prototype academic metaverse

Imagine a persistent space where you and your closest collaborators can meet regularly. Each of you has your own personalized desk, a set of meeting rooms, and a social space. Moreover, you can leave your office and easily connect with others in this virtual space who also have their own virtual offices nearby. You can use this space for holding meetings, for informal coffee breaks, for recruiting others to join your team, for guest lectures, or for anything else that will help you connect with those closest to you and conduct research to advance the state of the art in your field. And of course, you can step outside your office and easily walk into one of many virtual institutes, described next...

 

2) Organizing or participating in a virtual institute

As you have been participating in the Prophet institute, you already have a good understanding of what this would look like. Imagine a space that you visit with some regular cadence (e.g., 3-4 hours per week, over a twelve week period) with other experts in your field. In this space, you can give talks, attend talks from other researchers in your area, and collaborate together in a common space. You might also host guests from other virtual institutes, and invite the people you meet to give talks or collaborate in your own virtual office space. You may also use the virtual institute to host an academic event...

 

3) Organizing or participating in a virtual academic event

Many of you have already been participating in virtual conferences. Such events need not be multi-day, all-day affairs as they are for physical events. Organizing an event can be a great way to bring both established and aspiring experts in your area together, to learn what they are doing, find new collaborators, and if you are a faculty member or researcher, to perhaps find new students or interns. If you would like to know when such one-off events are happening that might be relevant to you, we can also provide you with this information.

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If you are interested in joining the academic metaverse, please fill in the form below. Regardless, we welcome any comments you may have on this vision—we aim to bring about new opportunities for academics, and we value your feedback on how we can make this happen.