How to Nominate

ACM established the Doctoral Dissertation Award program to recognize and encourage superior research and writing by doctoral candidates in computer science and engineering. The award is presented each June at the ACM Awards Banquet and is accompanied by a prize of $20,000 plus travel expenses to the banquet.  As of January 1, 2014 all winning dissertations are published exclusively in print and electronic formats as part of the ACM Books Series, which includes distribution through the ACM Digital Library.  Honorable Mention(s) may also be awarded, with a prize of $10,000 shared among recipients.  Financial sponsorship of the award is provided by Google.

Eligibility:   Only a Ph.D. student’s advisor may nominate a dissertation.  For each year’s award cycle, a nominated dissertation must have been successfully defended (not deposit date) by the department during the 12 months leading up to September of the nomination year.  Exceptional dissertations completed too late in September for submission in the preceding year also will be considered.  The dissertation submitted should be a finalized version; if a student or advisor thinks a dissertation will be more competitive after revision, the dissertation defense should be postponed if necessary.  Nominations are welcomed from any country, but only English language versions will be accepted.  Only one nomination may be submitted per institution.  If an institution granted more than 10 PhD’s in that year, two dissertations may be nominated.

Next Deadline:  October 31, 2014

Selection Criteria:   Dissertations will be reviewed for technical depth and significance of the research contribution, potential impact on theory and practice, and quality of presentation.

Submissions:  Nominations for the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award should be submitted using the online nomination form.  Submitted materials should explain the contribution in terms understandable to a non-specialist.   Each nomination involves several components:

  • Name, address, phone number, and email address of the nominator (the student’s thesis advisor) 
  • Name, address, and email address of the candidate (person being nominated). 
  • Suggested citation if the candidate is selected.  This should be a concise statement (maximum of 25 words) describing the key technical or professional accomplishment for which the candidate merits this award.  Note that the final wording for awardees will be at the discretion of the Award Committee.
  • Nomination statement (200-300 words in length) addressing why the candidate should receive this award.  This should address the significance of the dissertation, not simply repeat the information in the abstract.
  • Copy of the dissertation, together with a copyright transfer form filled out by the candidate and assigning exclusive publication rights to ACM (select either the copyright or license form).  Copyright will revert to the author if it is not selected for publication.
  • Endorsement letters.  The nomination must include an endorsement letter from the department head.  In addition, at least 3, and not more than 5, supporting letters should be included from experts in the field who can provide additional insights or evidence of the dissertation’s impact.  Each letter should include the name, address, and telephone number of the endorser.  The nominator should collect the letters and bundle them for submission.

For questions on the above, please contact Emily Eng , or acm-awards@acm.org .