Application Information

Applications were due March 5, 2018 (anywhere on earth). Applications are no longer being accepted.

Submission website:

Application Content

1. Extended Abstract

A 2-page extended abstract describing a coherent research project from the applicant’s past, current, or future research. Abstracts should make clear:

  • the research question(s) that motivates the applicant's work,
  • what related work exists in this area and why the applicant's work is a novel contribution,
  • the approach and why it is relevant to the research question(s),
  • current progress, including evaluations (if any), and
  • a plan for future work

To maintain a double blind review process, abstracts should be anonymized according to RSS standards. Abstracts that are not anonymized will not be reviewed. (Other application materials do not need to be anonymized because they will not go out for review.)

Extended abstracts should be no longer than 2 pages, excluding references. (That is, anything on the third page or beyond must be only references.) Given the short nature of the document, there is no need to include an abstract section within the extended abstract. Submissions should be in PDF format and use the RSS LaTeX or Word templates.

2. Statement of Motivation

A statement of motivation should answer the following question: "why do you want to participate in this workshop, and what do you hope to gain from it?"

Statements of motivation should be no longer than 250 words. These can be submitted as PDF or .txt files as "supplementary documents" in the submission system.

3. CV

CVs should be submitted as PDF files as "supplementary documents."

4. Contact Information for Reference

The name and email address of someone who will provide a letter of reference. Letters of reference will be solicited after the application deadline if necessary. Letter of reference contact information should be submitted as PDF or .txt files as "supplementary documents."

5. Peer Review

The program also requires that each applicant submit 3 peer reviews of other submitted abstracts. These will be assigned to applicants after the submission deadline.

Submission instructions

  1. Log into the submission system: (you will need to create a CMT account if you do not have one)
  2. Complete the conflict domain process by clicking the link that appears when you log in
  3. On the Author Console page, click "Create New Submission"
  4. Follow the directions on the page to upload your extended abstract and select themes
  5. After the abstract is submitted, go back to the Author Console page and click "Upload Supplementary Material" in the table row that corresponds to your submission
  6. Upload the Statement of Interest, CV, and Contact Info for Reference (described above) for your submission

You can edit the submission (including supplementary materials) up to the submission deadline.

Review Process

Extended abstracts will be evaluated by both the program committee (comprised of faculty members in robotics) and peers who have submitted to the program. The goal of peer review is two-fold: first, it provides applicants with valuable experience reviewing scientific research; second, it increases the diversity and quantity of feedback that applicants receive about their work.

Instructions for Peer Review

High quality reviews are used to help program committee make informed decisions, but they are also critical for giving feedback to authors. A good review can help turn a mid-level paper into a best paper by helping the authors figure out what works and what needs improvement.

A review for RSS Pioneers should include the following:

  • A brief summary of the research contribution (which may still be a work in progress)
  • Strengths (even if the research statement isn't fully formed, try to find at least 3 good points)
  • Weaknesses (even if the research statement is the best you've ever read, try to identify at least 3 points for improvement)
  • Summary of your recommendation

In addition to the list above, please remember that you are writing to young scholars. The following review guidelines (which are inspired by those developed by Siddhartha Srinivasa for RSS 2017) are applicable here:

Reviews should be compassionate, constructive, and scholarly.

  • Compassionate: re-read the review while imagining you are the author. How would you feel if you received this review? If it would make you frustrated, angry, or upset, it will do the same---but more so---for the author. Step away from the review for a while, and then revise it.
  • Constructive: authors submit their work because they believe it has value. In your review, try to help the authors articulate that value and guide them toward a stronger statement of their research.
  • Scholarly: please use good review etiquette. Try to avoid vague claims that are not backed up by evidence (for example, do not claim something has been done without giving citations). Do not hawk your own viewpoint. Don't engage in ad hominem attacks. In fact, try never to refer to the authors in the review: this is purely about the submission, and all review comments should refer to the submission, not the authors themselves.