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New Frontiers in Music Information Processing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MIP-Frontiers (New Frontiers in Music Information Processing)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2020-03-31

New Frontiers in Music Information Processing (MIP-Frontiers) is an EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) European Training Network that has completed the first 2 years of delivery. It brings together leading Music Information Retrieval (MIR) groups and a wide range of industrial and cultural stakeholders to create a multi-disciplinary, transnational and cross-sectoral Network for MIR researchers to contribute to Europe's leading role in this field of scientific innovation, and accelerate the impact of innovation on European products and industry.

This MSCA Network comprises 4 academic and 3 non-academic Beneficiaries, plus 9 Partner Organisations, and will train 15 early career stage researchers (ESRs) in a range of university-based and industry-based PhDs, all of which involve cross-sectoral training via industry and academic secondments, local and network-wide events. The project runs until 31 March 2022 to complete its research, training and networking objectives.

MIR involves the use of information processing methodologies to understand and model music, and to develop products and services for music and music-related industries. To address MIR needs, MIP-Frontiers will train a new generation of researchers that will contribute to Europe's leading academic and industry role in this field and to enhance the future employability of the ESRs.

The work is structured along three research frontiers identified as requiring intensive attention and integration (data-driven, knowledge-driven, and user-driven approaches), and is guided by and grounded in real application needs by the project's industry Partner Organisations and Beneficiaries. Scientifically speaking, MIP-Frontiers address the three main weaknesses in MIR

• not being robust to differences in musical style.
• not generalizing across different use contexts.
• not being scalable to industrial scale datasets.

It addresses the skills needs and gaps in the field of Music Information Processing (MIP; also known as Music Information Retrieval, MIR). The 15 ESRs are developing technical breadth across the field of MIR, whilst gaining deep knowledge and skills in their own area of speciality. They are also being trained in a range of transferable skills. So far, MIP-Frontiers fellows have attended 3 training weeks, plus two training sessions. They are gaining deep knowledge of, and experience in, the necessary MIR skills, programming, music theory, research thinking, collaborative research, and communication skills to enhance their future career potential.

In the next year and a half, the ESRs will learn to think entrepreneurially and to exploit their research in new ways that benefit the European industry and society. They will engage in industry or academic secondments and attend conferences to complete their multidisciplinary training, and industry lead training. Two scientific workshops will complete the training and give them opportunities to present their research.

At a research level many of the fellows have already participated in leading conferences with presentations of their first research results and have also participated in some outreach activities, all of which have been published on the project web site.

The MIP-Frontiers team is very proud of the ESRs' work and achievements, and how the project is running smoothly and reaching the planned milestones despite the unexpected circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to continuing this great work of training the next generation of leading MIR researchers.
The aim of MIP-Frontiers is to train fifteen early career stage researchers (ESRs) to the level of a PhD in Music Information Processing. These PhD projects will address MIR needs and make advances beyond the current state of the art.

All 15 Early Stage Researchers have enrolled for a doctorate (PhD) at one of the 4 academic partners between September and December 2018. Each ESR has an employment contract with their host institution. All of the fellows are making good progress in their research.

The training programme in the first half of the project focused mainly on technical and research skills, and some transferable skills. MIP-Frontiers organised the following training sessions:

• The First Training Week was held in September 2018 in the framework of the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) Conference in Paris; the training programme comprised a one-day project training session, five days of attendance at the conference and a two-day hackathon event at Deezer.
• The Digital Music Research Network (DMRN+13) workshop was a learning-by-doing training day on poster presentation, held in the framework of DMRN+13, in London, December 2018.
• The MIP-Frontiers Summer School was held at the UPF campus in Barcelona, May 2019, and consisted of a half-day industry conference and 3 days of training in music theory and big data.
• Our Second Training Week, held in November 2019 at ISMIR 2019, Delft, was a five-day conference including tutorials and keynote talks. In addition, the fellows had a hands-on communication assignment.
• The Sandbox / Hackathon started with a half day training session on communication, followed by three days of collaborative work between the ESRs. It was held at QMUL in London, February 2020.

The ESRs have already published 15 papers and posters at conferences. The published papers are all available from the project's web page, and show their progress and research beyond the state of the art. Furthermore, the ESRs have described in blog posts their experience and view of the MIP research community, a community which they would like other young researchers to join; and they have interviewed some prominent researchers to show undergraduates that pursuing a research career can be a rewarding way to link technical ability with a passion for music.

To read the blogs and research papers or to find more information, we invite all to visit our web site, https://mip-frontiers.eu/. The web site is the voice of the project: it has open access to all publications of the ESRs, plus the blogs of scientific and general information, from conference participation to interviews of MIR researchers. And of course, many training materials are also made available to other training networks and to the general public.
As MIP-Frontiers is still at an early stage, having started in April 2018, most of the project's potential results, especially industrial and societal impact, have yet to be realised. Potential impacts are: to contribute to Europe's leading role in this field of scientific innovation and accelerate the impact of innovation on European products and industry; and to create the next generation of researchers who are at home with the challenges of interdisciplinary research involving computational sciences, creative industries and the arts, and who will have the skills to thrive in a modern research environment.

The project fellows have presented and published in several leading international peer-reviewed conferences, 15 papers/posters published before April 2020; a great achievement at this stage, but too early to describe the potential impact on the industry and society.

Visit the MIP-Frontiers web site, https://mip-frontiers.eu/publications to find the most up-to-date information about the project's outcomes and research.
MIP-Frontiers, Mid term meeting. BCN May 2019
MIP-Frontiers group photo at ISMIR 2018 training
MIP-Frontiers Sandbox event at QMUL London 2020
MIP-Frontiers ESRs at ISMIR 2019 Delft