The annual conference of the Special Interest Group in Information Retrieval of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM SIGIR) is the premier forum for new research in Information Retrieval (IR). In July 2004,ACM SIGIR will be run in the city of Sheffield (South Yorkshire, UK). Information Retrieval is a long studied and increasingly popular subject and new major research areas continue to be discovered within the field. Consequently European early stage IR researchers need training to provide them with a clear view of the subject and its new areas of investigation. Along with its usual role of disseminating leading edge research, SIGIR 2004- through tutorials, keynote speakers, and a doctoral consortium - will provide much needed training. Support from Marie Curie for mobility of early stage researchers is sought for this large world-class conference. Within the existing EU countries, it has long been known that the language technology industry (of which IR is apart) is fragmented. This state is reflected in academia where across the EU and candidate countries, IR researches predominated by small groups working on specific areas of retrieval research. Their size limits the scope of their work. Given the imminent new directions that IR research is recognised to take in terms of context and personal memories, broadening research skills and fostering increased collaboration between research groups snow key to creating a world-leading IR community, thereby broadening the capacity of the European Research Area. The European-based SIGIR in 2004 provides an ideal opportunity to train researchers in a wider range of topic areas, to allow such researchers to get world-class feedback on their own works, and by fostering communication, reduce the fragmentation of the European IR community. By focussing on early stage researchers, knowledge learnt and links made will have a long-term durability that will serve Europe well.
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