About the Student Research Competition

Program Overview
Participation Requirements
Timeline
Submitting your Work
General Judging Criteria
Open Calls for Submissions

The ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), sponsored by Microsoft Research, offers a unique forum for undergraduate and graduate students to present their original research at well-known ACM sponsored and co-sponsored conferences before a panel of judges and attendees.

The SRC is s a joint venture of the ACM and Microsoft Research. Microsoft Research has provided generous funding of $120,000 per competition year for this event since 2003. The program is administered by Nanette Hernandez at the ACM, Dr. Laurie Ann Williams at North Carolina State University, and Prof. Judith Bishop at Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA.

There are two rounds of competition at each conference hosting an SRC and a grand finals competition:

First Round Competitions
The first round is usually referred to as the Poster Session. This is your opportunity to present your research in the areas specified in the conference’s first Call for Submissions. Judges will review the posters and speak to participants about their research; a group of semi-finalists will be chosen to present at the second round of the competition.

Second Round Competitions
Semi-finalists continue by giving a short presentation of their research before a panel of judges, with a supporting power point presentation. Evaluations are based on the presenter’s knowledge of his/her research area, contribution of the research, and the quality of the oral and visual presentation. Three winners will be chosen in each category, undergraduate and graduate, receiving $500, $300, and $200, respectively.

The SRC Grand Finals

First place undergraduate and graduate student winners from the SRCs held during the year advance to the SRC Grand Finals. A different panel of judges evaluates these winners against each other via the web. Three undergraduates and three graduates will be chosen as the SRC Grand Finals winners. They are invited, along with their advisors, to the annual ACM Awards Banquet, where they receive formal recognition.

Judging
Judges will include professional computer scientists attending the conference activities. Each student will be evaluated by a minimum of three faculty members, none of whom are affiliated with the student's university.

Past Winners
Click here to see winners from past ACM Student Research Competitions


Participation Requirements
1. Participants must be currently enrolled in a university or college and have active ACM student membership
2. Team projects will be accepted from undergrads. One person should be designated by the team to make the oral presentation. However, for graduate students only individual research is accepted for consideration by an SRC. If a graduate student is part of a group research project and wishes to participate in an SRC, they can submit and present their individual contribution to the group research project.
3. Qualifying research areas are those covered by the conference; these are specified in the conference’s call for papers. For the SIGCSE Student Research Competition, qualifying research areas are those areas not already covered by other SIG-based competitions held during the same program year.
4. Students may only participate in one SRC per program year (July 1-June 30). Students that have applied to an SRC, but have not been accepted, may respond to other SRC calls for participation during the program year.

Timeline
1. Call for Submissions
Each conference hosting an SRC will have a Call for SRC Submissions, usually posted about 5 months in advance of the conference. This usually entails an abstract of no more than 800 words, sent directly to the SRC chair for that conference.
2. Selection of Participants
The conference chooses academics and/or industry professionals to review submitted abstracts. These reviewers use an evaluation form that is based upon standard conference reviewer forms. Abstracts receiving the highest reviews will be invited to compete in the first round of the competition at the conference, also known as the Poster Round. See the "For Students" section about travel rewards.
3. First Round of Competition, “The Poster Session”
A special session for the SRC will be announced once students arrive at the conference. Each student will prepare a poster for this round. Specifications on poster size and content are defined by individual SRC chairs. Students are expected to discuss their work with evaluators who visit their presentation areas. Each evaluator will rate the student's visual presentation based on uniqueness of the approach, the significance of the contribution, visual presentation, and format of presentation. See General Judging Criteria for more information. The evaluator's results will determine the semi-finalists for the undergraduate and graduate categories. The list of semifinalists will be posted within an hour of the closing of the first round.
4. Second Round of Competition, “The Presentation Session”
A separate session is scheduled for semifinalists to give a ten minute presentation followed by a five minute question and answer period. This session will be attended by the evaluators and any interested conference attendees. The top three finalists in each category will be chosen based on these presentations.
5. Announcement of Three Finalists in Each Category (undergraduate and graduate)
This usually takes place at a well-attended session of the conference. Each student will receive their monetary prize and their medal after the conference. Winners of the SRC Grand Finals are recognized at the Annual ACM Awards Banquet, usually held in June. ACM will pay the expenses for award winners and their faculty advisors.
6. The Grand Finals
First place undergraduate and graduate student winners from the SRCs held during the year advance to the SRC Grand Finals. Students must submit to ACM headquarters an overview of their research that adheres to the format of problem & motivation, background & related work, uniqueness of the approach, and their results & contributions. This submission must be in PDF format with no external links or external style sheets and should not exceed 4,000 words and 5 printed pages.

Evaluations are conducted online by faculty and/or industry professionals associated with the ACM SRC Committee. Winners are announced in time for ACM’s Awards Banquet, usually held in June. ACM will pay the expenses for award winners and their faculty advisors.

View papers from previous Grand Finals candidates.

Submitting Your Work
The SRC chairs at each SIG conference draft their own calls for submissions/participation. Students must email an abstract of their work to the respective SRC chair, and those who are chosen to attend the conference must create a poster and presentation based on specifications set by the SRC chairs. To see the open calls for submissions and contact information for SRC chairs, please click here.

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