The 2020 Steven Krauwer Award for CLARIN Achievements was awarded to Francesca Frontini (Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale "A. Zampolli" / CLARIN-IT & Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 / CLARIN-FR)
Motivation of the Jury
Francesca Frontini has an excellent track record in the area of Digital Humanities, Language Resources and Research infrastructures, dating back to 2010. Her research interests include: Building Language Resources, Natural Language Processing, Corpus Linguistics and Stylistics.
Francesca started activities at ILC-CNR as a postdoc. Since the beginning, she was involved in several European projects in Language Resources and Technology, such as PANACEA, KYOTO, and OpeNER where she was responsible for building language resources and developing tools and services, thus being in contact with users from the various domains of the projects (namely, labour legislation, the environment, tourism, etc.).
She was the winner of a FMSH "F. Braudel" postdoctoral scholarship at Labex OBVIL, Paris, as a FMHS grantholder. She became involved in the development of digital literary analysis tools, where she developed algorithms for stylistic analysis and for Named Entity Linking. The REDEN tool, which she continues to develop with Carmen Brando, has been used since then for various applications, in various domains. This shows since the beginning of her career a natural talent and capability to engage with different communities, make their needs her own and develop digital solutions to address key challenges in various scientific disciplines.
In 2015 she was back in Pisa at the Institute of Computational Linguistics “A. Zampolli”, where she participated in the first series of cluster projects PARTHENOS and crucially in the first phases of the implementation of the CLARIN-IT consortium and the ILC4CLARIN national data center, thus facilitating user involvement and knowledge sharing.
Since 2016, she has been associate professor at the Laboratoire Praxiling & Université Paul-Valéry in Montpellier, where she teaches Linguistique Informatique, Lexicographie and Analyse de données textuelles (Computational Linguistics, Lexicography, and Textual Data Analysis) and is involved in a range of projects and activities, aimed at building Language Resources and publishing them according to the recent paradigm of Linked Open Data (LOD). In particular, the project Nénufar aiming to build LOD lexical resources, and the AcTo project ("Acolhir e Tornar" – Ressorsas numericas per l'occitan medieval) aiming to boost research in the sector of Ancient Languages, namely Medieval Occitan. These activities, aimed to spread awareness and knowledge about Digital Humanities methods and concepts among scholars of Ancient Languages, are scientifically linked to the CLARIN mission and have a strong impact on the CLARIN objectives.
She can boast of a wide range of high quality publications and membership of various conference organising committees. She recently co-edited with Jean-Gabriel Ganascia the special issue of the French journal on Digital Humanities (https://www.atala.org/content/tal-et-humanit%C3%A9s-num%C3%A9riques).
She is a founding member and part of the steering committee of the ADHO SIG-DLS (since 2016). She is a member of ISO TC37/SC4, the ISO technical committee developing standards for Language Resource management, where she is responsible for the new updated version and revision of the ISO 24613 (2008) standard Lexical Markup Framework ( ), in particular the syntactic-semantic layers. She has also been very active in the Linked Data for Linguistics community, with the organisation of events and participation in W3C of the Ontolex working group.
She is a very brilliant and passionate researcher, with excellent interpersonal skills. As regards aspects such as communication abilities, she has a special talent for giving focused presentations to disseminate her ideas and discuss them with others, within the most varied communities.
Since early 2019, she has been an associate researcher of ILC at CNR, collaborating in the infrastructural projects of the LARI group, INFRAIA-ELEXIS, INFRAEOSC-SSHOC, and INFRAEOSC-TRIPLE. Francesca has been particularly active in spreading the CLARIN word and helping CLARIN grow, first in Italy, and then in different communities and countries.
She brought her knowledge and expertise to CLARIN, in which she was involved from the very start. She participated in the preparatory phase of CLARIN-IT, where she acted as deputy of the NC and has been active in various CLARIN committees and task forces, the CLARIN Centre Committee, and CLARIN Standardization taskforce, where she was the Italian representative until she left for France. She is a permanent reviewer for the CLARIN Annual Conference. She played a role on some other technical infrastructural aspects, in particular concerning standards and metadata ( ). She started one of the promising directions within CLARIN-IT, the long-term preservation and valorization of audio archives and their inclusion in the CLARIN national repository (which is now one of the CLARIN-IT projects supported by the Tuscany Region). She also facilitated the adoption of technological solutions, Semantic Web paradigms and digital methods in the sector of Classics in Italy, thus promoting the availability, visibility and accessibility of the relevant data in the CLARIN Infrastructure.
Since she moved to France, she has been a key person in the construction of the CLARIN-FR consortium, notably thanks to her knowledge of different bodies of CLARIN. Furthermore, she was very active in this process by participating in various initiatives such as workshops and presentations of CLARIN services (e.g. switchboard) and other activities (e.g. PARLACLARIN), disseminating the ideas and discussing them with others, both inside and outside the CLARIN community. She was also active in involving various communities and projects in CLARIN activities. Furthermore, she is deeply involved in the activities of the group CORLI funded by Huma-Num (https://corli.humanum.fr/en): the CORLI group leads the French CLARIN consortium and will be the foundation of the first CLARIN K-Center. She was also a driving force for the integration of the French NLP community in CLARIN activities.
She is now part of the Steering Committee of CLARIN France, and is currently involved in the organisation of two CLARIN tutorials at the LREC (see https://clarin-fr.fr/lrec-tutorial) and a French NLP conferences (see https://jep-taln2020.loria.fr/). She liaised with the COST Actions on “Distant Reading” and “PARLANT COST“. She increased the visibility of French regional languages and their resources, by associating programs funded by the French Ministry of Culture to CLARIN-FR activities.
She is a driving force, both at the scientific level and at the research structuring level, in involving people from different disciplines and keeping the involvement of the CLARIN research communities at a high-level; capitalizing on the existing investments in data, software and expertise made over the past years over different organizations and promoting their further use and uptake by others; making the providers and other research infrastructure providers realize the wealth of ideas and expertise available in the research communities. For all these reasons, she has been recently nominated CLARIN Ambassador.
With all these activities and involvements, we are convinced that it can truly be stated that Francesca Frontini has made outstanding contributions towards CLARIN goals in the areas of language resource building, tool or service development, exemplary use cases, user involvement or knowledge sharing.
Interview with Francesca Frontini
Watch the interview with Francesca Frontini on the occasion of the Steven Krauwer Award.
The Award Ceremony
The 6th edition of the award ceremony took place during the virtual CLARIN Annual Conference of 2020.
The Steven Krauwer Award for CLARIN Achievements was initiated in 2017. As of this year multiple awards can be awarded. This year there were no nominations for the Steven Krauwer Award for Young Scientist Award.
The awards, named in honor of Steven Krauwer (the first executive director of CLARIN ERIC) are given annually to outstanding scientists or engineers in recognition of outstanding contributions toward CLARIN goals in the areas of language resource building, tool or service.