This article is published in the September 2017 issue.

Nominations Open for 2018 CRA Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers


The Computing Research Association is pleased to announce the annual CRA Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers, which recognizes undergraduate students in North American colleges and universities who show outstanding research potential in an area of computing research. The award is a wonderful way to recognize your best student researchers and your department.  

Beginning this year, departments that regularly nominate students for this award will be highlighted on the CRA website.  In addition, a number of students who receive honorable mentions and above will be invited to describe their research in the new monthly “Undergraduate Research Highlights” series on the CRA-E website.

Eligible nominees must be enrolled as undergraduates in a North American college or university throughout the academic year September 2017 to May 2018.  PhD-granting departments may nominate up to four students and other departments may nominate up to two students.  Several changes have been made to the nomination process this year:

  • Nomination materials are no longer required to include information on nominees’ gender identities.
  • Each nomination includes one letter of recommendation rather than two letters.
  • Each nominee must submit a personal statement in addition to a resume and research statement.

Up to four CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards will be made.  Each award recipient will receive financial assistance of up to $1500 to attend a research conference of their choice.   In addition, some nominees will be designated as runners-up, finalists, and honorable mentions.  The award recipients, runners-up, finalists, and honorable mentions will be announced by e-mail in mid-December, will receive certificates of their awards, and will be recognized on CRA’s website.

Everything you need to make a nomination for the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award, including detailed instructions and the nomination form, is available at: http://cra.org/crae/awards/cra-outstanding-undergraduate-researchers/.

Questions and inquiries about the awards should be sent to: undergradawards@cra.org. The deadline for nominations is Monday, October 27, 2017.

Microsoft Research and Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) sponsor the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers Award Program in alternate years. The 2018 award is being sponsored by MERL.

Faculty members nominating a student for the CRA award are encouraged to talk to the student about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The required nomination materials are similar and some can be used for both the CRA-E award and the NSF GRFP application. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for information for applicants, letter writers, how to sign up as a panelist, and the program solicitation (NSF 16-588).  Applications for GRFs are due just before the CRA award nominations, on October 24, 2017.

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