PhD Retreat on Pajulahti – Call for Submissions

The ICSOB 2023 PhD Retreat is an exciting one-day event that will happen on the beautiful Pajulahti. The retreat is designed to bring together PhD students who work on research related to software-intensive business. Additional details on the conference and our research topics are available at CfP page. The PhD Retreat provides a friendly and constructive environment for PhD students to present their research proposal as well as intermediate results, and to discuss them with experts and other students in the same field.


09:30-10:30 - Session I

    Improving Software Startup Viability: Addressing Requirements Prioritization Challenges Amid Increasing Interest Rates (Frédéric Pattyn)
    AI Assistant to Improve Experimentation in Software Startups Using Large Language Model and Prompt Engineering (Mario Simaremare)
    Hybrid work in agile software development (Emily Christensen)
    Creating Happier and More Productive Software Engineering Teams through AI and Machine Learning (Wardah Naeem Awan)

10:30-11:00 - Morning Coffee

11:00-12:00 - Session II

    The impact of DevOps critical success factors and organizational practices (Nasreen Azad)
    IT Infrastructure Management: A Future Digital Services Context (Maryam Gulzar)
    Green ICT and Software Business Ecosystem Orchestration: A Catalyst for Economic Growth and Future-sustainable Environment (Larry Abdullai)
    Supporting Finnish ICT companies to uncover their pathways in the green transition: Seeking ways through the lens of DSR (Laura Partanen)

12:00-13:00 - Lunch

13:00-14:00 - Research Dynamics I
(mentors and students discuss on research methods for software business research)

14:00-15:00 - Afternoon Coffee

15:00-16:00 - Research Dynamics II
(mentors and students discuss on implications for theory and practice on their research)
16:00-16:30 - Motivational Talk (Jan Bosch)
16:30 - PhD Retreat Closing

16:45-17:00 - Bus from Pajulahti to City Center


Target Audience 

PhD students should consider participating in this PhD Retreat if they have already identified a topic to focus their PhD thesis on and have a proposed methodological plan (early-stage PhD students). The PhD Retreat also invites PhD students who are in the mid-stage progress of their thesis (mid-stage PhD students). However, the PhD Retreat is NOT suitable for PhD students at the end of their PhD and who have completed all of their research activities.

The main goals of the PhD Retreat are to provide an opportunity for PhD students to:

  • Interact and exchange ideas with researchers, practitioners and other PhD students in the software-business research community;
  • Receive constructive feedback on their current and future research;
  • Develop a critical discussion about their work with experts;     
  • Present their work as a poster at the ICSOB 2023 poster track;
  • Build your research network and have fun!

The PhD Retreat will take place at a beautiful location on the Pajulahti (, which is 20 minutes from the city center. Therefore, in addition to the technical sessions, the PhD Retreat participants will have the opportunity to explore the beautiful forest and lake, and explore the tranquility they have to offer.

Submission Categories 

We welcome two categories of submission:

  • Early-stage PhD submission: This category refers to PhD students who have an initial idea about their research topic and design, and are looking for early feedback on how to proceed with their PhD thesis;
  • Mid-stage PhD submission:  This category refers to  PhD students who have already started the implementation of their research with some preliminary results, and are looking for feedback before completing their PhD thesis.   

Important dates

• Deadline for submission: October 23rd, 2023
• Notification of acceptance: October 30th, 2023
• Camera-ready submission: December 11th, 2023


The PhD Retreat submission must consist of two elements:

  • A letter from the PhD student’s supervisor. The letter should include the current state of the PhD student’s research as well as the expected date to complete the PhD thesis. The letter should be submitted via email, directed to the PhD Retreat chairs (, and; and
  • A short paper that describes the PhD student’s thesis. The short paper should not be anonymous and should meet the following requirements:
    • Be authored only by the student and his/her supervisors;
    • Clearly state the problem to be addressed in the student’s thesis, and why this problem is important to be tackled (motivation);
    • Discuss related work, and the knowledge gap in the literature that has been addressed in the thesis;
    • Describe the research method and the evaluation plan of the results;
    • Include the planned timeline for thesis completion;
    • Present the results achieved so far (requested for the mid-stage PhD submission only);
    • Explain the expected contributions of the thesis.

To address the items above, we suggest the following structure: Problem Definition, Knowledge Gap, Research Method, Timeline, Preliminary Results (if any), and Expected Contributions. All submissions must be written in English.

Students interested in participating in the PhD Retreat must submit a short paper (5-9 pages) using the CEUR-ART one column template which is available here: (LaTeX) or (Word). The accepted PhD Retreat submissions will be offered for publication by (open access) in the ICSOB 2023 Companion Proceedings.

Review Process

All submissions will be peer-reviewed by the Program Committee members. The main evaluation criteria are scope, relevance, originality, soundness, accuracy, and clarity. 


Authors of the accepted submissions will have the opportunity to present their work in the PhD Retreat, and to have camera-ready of their papers published in the post-conference proceedings. The camera-ready versions will be sent after the conference (Deadline: December 11th, 2023), so that participants have the chance to polish their papers based on the feedback they got from the conference. 

Authors will present their research in the conference. Each participant will have 10 to 15 minutes to present plus 10 to 15 minutes for answering questions. There will be networking breaks after blocks of  presentations in which participants can get feedback and comments about their research in a more relaxed Q&A session. After running the presentations, a thesis-design workshop session with experts who will be acting as mentors for the participants during the session is planned.      

In addition, authors will be invited to present their work at the poster track of the main conference to get more feedback from the conference attendees. This poster track will be an additional (optional) choice for the PhD Retreat participants, without the need to submit their research to the poster track. For those participants who are interested in presenting at the poster track, please check details on formatting at CfP page.