Well-Being in ML (NeurIPS social)

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Vancouver Convention Centre

1055 Canada Place

West Level 2, Room 202-204

Vancouver, BC V6C 0C3


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Event description


Please note: registration in Eventbrite is not necessary for attending this event. Only NeurIPS ticket holders can attend.

ML researchers are voicing concerns on toxic work culture, hyper-competitiveness, muddled life-work boundaries (notable tweets, #1 #2). Our community lacks a systematic approach to well-being and mental health support. ML scientists and engineers – especially young researchers – often lack that word in their vocabulary because their training precludes it.

The Well-Being in ML (WBiML) event is an opportunity to make the ML community mindful of well-being at the very event that epitomizes its science. Join us for an interactive session exploring what wellbeing can look like for the ML research community. The goal of this session is to:

  • Raise awareness on the importance of well-being and its impact on work.

  • Take the first step to understanding, and then tackling root causes of toxic work culture.

  • Normalise discussions of well-being and mental health in academia and industry.

  • Share best practices for promoting well-being.

The end goal is to provide the ML workforce with a personalized toolkit to maintain their well-being, and to empower us all to be more outspoken about our mental well-being and mental health needs. Institutions can no longer view mental-health as a luxury, but rather as a priority.

The session will include a three part activity, short talk, and storytelling.

Some topics for discussion include:

  • work-life balance

  • prevention & early spotting of burn-out

  • mental health

  • communication / interpersonal skills

  • setting boundaries and preserving them

  • culture hacking

  • self-care

  • honouring your personal growth (mindfulness, meditation, physical activity, socializing)

We hope this event will be part of the start of a very important and overdue discussion. Ultimately, we aim for our attendees to walk away not only with new knowledge about well-being and tips for self-care, but also with a brief experience of the following simple idea:

Well-being can help our journey in our professional and personal growth.


  1. What does a good work day look/feel like to you? We will provide you with a deck of images and feeling cards on your table*. Pick out 3 that best capture the moment. Take 3 minutes to share with your group your thoughts about your choice.

  2. What is it that makes your good work day possible? Take 3 minutes and reflect individually. Use the post-it notes to jot down your ideas. Take 3 minutes to share some context about your choice.

  3. What can you change to have more good work days? Reflect on the question. Take inspiration from the presentation and ideas from the community in envelope 3.

*for the visually impaired, one of our volunteers can describe to you what is on the cards.

  • Invited Talk (20 mins): Emma Pierson: "I asked 700 researchers what they thought would improve their mental health" Abstract: Based on a survey of hundreds of researchers, as well as conversations with dozens of researchers, this talk will offer tips for improving mental health in the research community. While it focuses primarily on mental health among PhD students, the tips are more broadly applicable.

  • Story-telling: anonymized stories, submitted anonymously prior to the event. Vulnerable stories will be shared within smaller groups. Stories will be curated by the motivation for being shared (e.g. looking for help, being heard, etc.)

  • Closing remarks

We hope you enjoy it !

We are grateful to our sponsors

Element AI

Amazon logo

FPT Software

Do you think your company would like to sponsor us in a future event? Let us know in the email below.

alkalait at gmail dot com

We are looking for volunteers

  • Volunteer to hold a safe space corner. Because we invite people to be vulnerable and share their stories, we appreciate that some of the content or conversations might trigger an intense emotional response. It's ok not to be ok. Safe space volunteers should not be fixers, but good listeners.
  • Volunteer your story anonymously. Share with attendees a positive example of a well-being practice in your work, or how the lack thereof has effected your life, or simply how you're coping. Please submit your story in this Google Form (names and emails will not be collected)
  • Volunteers to guide round-table discussions, should the need arise.
  • Volunteer to hold a 5-10 min mindfulness meditation session.
  • Volunteer as a DJ.
  • Volunteer a logo / design for this event.

Apply to the organizer email in the FAQ below.


Can anyone attend?

Only NeurIPS ticket holders can attend unfortunately.

Can I volunteer?

Yass! See the "Volunteering" section above.

Will you provide food and refreshments?

Yes, there will be limited food for 100 people. Drinks will be alcohol-free.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

alkalait at gmail dot com

This event sounds... alternative.

Everyone will want to take away something different from the event. Attendance is free. Your participation is voluntary.

Will I have to hug anyone?

Consent is always the default. All social events adhere to the same rules as the NeurIPS conference. Please speak to the organisers if you notice inappropriate behavior.

I seek professional help. Can you help me?

None of the organizers is a certified mental health professional, therefore no professional advice should be expected.

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Date and Time


Vancouver Convention Centre

1055 Canada Place

West Level 2, Room 202-204

Vancouver, BC V6C 0C3


View Map

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