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Microsoft BCS/BCS IRSG Karen Spärck Jones Award
An Award to Commemorate Karen Spärck Jones

The British Computer Society Information Retrieval Specialist Group (BCS IRSG) in conjunction with the BCS has created an award to commemorate the achievements of Karen Spärck Jones.

KSJ Karen was a Professor Emerita of Computers and Information at the University of Cambridge and one of the most remarkable women in computer science. Her contributions to the fields of Information Retrieval (IR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), especially with regard to experimentation, have been outstanding and highly influential. Karen's achievements resulted in her receiving a number of prestigious accolades such as the BCS Lovelace medal for her advancement in Information Systems, and the ACM Salton Award for her significant, sustained and continuing contributions to research in information retrieval.

The IRSG is grateful to Microsoft Research for their sponsorship of the Karen Spärck-Jones award

Timeline (for the 2014 Award to be presented at ECIR 2015):

  • 15 September 2014 - Deadline for nominations
  • 29 September 2014 - Deadline for support letters
  • 14 December 2014 - Notification of the prize winner
  • 29 March - 02 April 2015 - Winner presents keynote at ECIR

Contact: Stefan Rüger,, The Open University
For further details see: The KSJ 2014 Award Flyer

The Winner of 2013

We are happy to inform you that the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award Panel has decided to make the Award for 2013 to:

Eugene Agichtein
Associate Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science Department, Emory University, Atlanta, USA.

In making the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award for 2013, the Panel strongly recognizes that Eugene Agichtein has made several important contributions in search and large scale web text data mining with a focus on user interaction data. Eugene's work has included demonstrating how models of human information interactions can be inferred by leveraging computational techniques on what are large-scale but also noisy behaviour records. His work has been very influential - the depth of which across several areas is impressive.

Eugene has focused on understanding and modelling user interaction in web search and collaborative question answering. For example, he has shown that click through and other forms of implicit feedback are useful for improving search results ranking when gathered across large numbers of users. This is one area of contribution where his work is seen as particularly influential. Eugene's work includes mouse movements and prediction of responses to advertising, and has reached out to other domains too. Overall, Eugene Agichtein's work is regarded as that of an excellent experimentalist that recognizes the critical linkages between information theory and experiment.

Eugene will be giving a keynote speech at ECIR 2014.

The Winner of 2012

We are happy to inform you that the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award Panel has decided to make the Award for 2012 to:

Diane Kelly
Associate Professor, University of North Carolina, NC, U.S.

In making the BCS/ BCS IRSG Karen Spärck-Jones Award for 2012, the Panel strongly recognizes that Diane has made important contributions to: the analysis of information seeking behaviors, and to the development of new experimental methods and systems to support information seeking and analysis.

Diane has made several other important contributions to user modeling using implicit indicators of relevance, the development and analysis of interfaces to elicit richer statements of interest, and new methodologies for designing and evaluating interactive retrieval systems. Her strong user-oriented work views users-as-people with cognitive tasks.

Diane has given a keynote speech at ECIR 2013. The slides of her talk are available for download

The winner of 2011

An Award was not made this year.

The winner of 2010

On behalf of the KSJ Award Panel, it is with great pleasure to announce this years (for the nominations of 2010) winner:

Evgeniy Gabrilovich
Senior Research Scientist and Manager of the NLP & IR Group of Yahoo! Research, California, U.S.

Evgeniy was extremely delighted to be awarded the BCS / BCS IRSG KSJ Award 2010. He has given a keynote speech at ECIR 2011. The abstract of his talk and his bio is available.

The winner of 2009

The first recipient of the KSJ Award winner for 2009 is

Mirella Lapata.
Mirella is at the University of Edinburgh. She is a Reader (Assoc Prof) within the School of Informatics. Her research has focused on various problems in NLP mostly with an emphasis on statistical methods and text generation applications. She has worked on complex problems like: word sense disambiguation, ambiguity resolution, semantic vector space, story generation, and many others.

The abstract of her talk at ECIR 2009 and her bio is available for download.