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Category Spotlight: Earth and Environmental Sciences

This category is for students of the natural environment and ecosystems, including students of Earth Science, Agriculture, Geography, Geology, etc.

Students of Human Geography should submit their work to Social Sciences: Anthropology & Cultural Studies.

Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long, and the word count is  2,500 – 12,000 words.


In 2017 the category was won by Bridget Murphy from Western University. Her paper, “Future Climate Conditions Alter Leaf Thermotolerance In Canadian Boreal Trees“, highly impressed the judges.

Bridget sampled seedlings grown under varying CO2 concentrations combined with ambient, ambient +4 C and ambient +8 C growth temperatures and exposed needles to temperatures between 25 C and 60 C from 3 to 30 minutes. She found that elevated temperature increased the needle thermotolerance of both black spruce and tamarack to brief, extreme heat exposure. Her work indicated a potential for species-specific resilience to predicted severe heat waves.




The judges were very impressed with Bridget’s research, with one stating

I thought this paper shows how a student engaged in the scientific process, from a study design through to undertaking laboratory experiments, analysing results, and eventually making a contribution to our understanding of likely plant responses to a changing climate. What set it apart from the other papers in my top three or four was the fact that the student collected the data him/herself, which provided an added dimension not in the others.

In 2016, the category was won by Wayne Egan from the Institute of Technology, Sligo, with his paper, “To assess the impact of the Bellawaddy River on the microbiological quality of the bathing waters of Enniscrone Beach, Co. Sligo, Ireland“.

In his project the Bellawaddy River was assessed to see if it is a source of Short Term Pollution at Enniscrone’s bathing waters. Discharge of the river was measured using an automatic water level data logger in conjunction with an ascertained rating curve. Indicator bacteria levels were measured in the river and the bathing area. Daily rainfall data was obtained from a local rainfall station. The river was seen to produce hydrograph responses to heavy intense rainfall events. Very large concentrations of indicator bacteria were measured in the river after these hydro-meteorological events. These results showed strong correlation to highly elevated levels of bacteria (STP) in the bathing water. It is concluded that the Bellawaddy River is a primary source of bacteria for the STP events.

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of these wonderful academics, submit your work to The Undergraduate awards before June 12th!


Article in The Harvard Crimson About The Undergraduate Awards Programme 2018

We are delighted to have an article about The Undergraduate Awards and the Global Undergraduate Summit 2018 in Harvard’s long-running newspaper The Harvard Crimson this week. The Harvard Crimson, the United States’ oldest continuously published daily college newspaper, is run entirely by undergraduate students. Over 25 Crimson alumni have won the Pulitzer Prize; many of their portraits line the walls of The Crimson.

Over the years we have had a wealth of innovative and outstanding papers from Harvard University students across all 25 categories.

In 2015, Donguen Seo penned a paper titled “A New Kid on the Block: How Food Trucks Evolved from Roach Coaches to Cultural Phenomena” which was Highly Commended in the Social Sciences category. The paper offers an interesting insight into the evolution of food trucks into a prominent source of street revenue in the United States  and the relationship between customers’ social class and the food they choose to consume.

Marissa Suchyta, was Highly Commended in 2015, for her Life Sciences paper ” Finding Factors that Initiate Limb Regeneration”. The research identifies the initiating factors of axolotl limb regeneration.

The Award Winner in the Politics & International Relations category 2013 was Joshua Zoffer with his paper “The Currency of Coercion: The Effect of Currency Pegs on the Success of Economic Sanctions”.

You can read the article on The Crimson here.

To read papers from Harvard students and other past Global Winners and Highly Commended entrants, check out The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Judging Chair Spotlight: Robert M. Mauro, PhD (Politics and International Relations category)

The Undergraduate Awards are pleased to welcome back Robert M.Mauro, PhD. as Judging Chair of Politics and International Relations 2018.

Robert M. Mauro, PhD., is Executive Director of the Irish Institute and founding Director of the Global Leadership Institute at Boston College.

Before coming to Boston College he undertook a post-doctoral research fellowship in the Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) at University College Dublin (UCD). While there he worked on a project, titled Breaking the Patterns of Conflict: The Irish State, the British Dimension, and the Northern Ireland Conflict, a comprehensive oral history of policy makers involved with Northern Ireland peace process from the Sunningdale Agreement to the St. Andrews Agreement.

He completed his PhD (The Practice of Ideology, 2009) in Political Science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York. He is an expert in business and political practices, including leadership and strategy, global engagement and business development, conflict resolution, and Irish and American politics.

Mauro was the Judging Process Chair for the Politics and International Relations category in 2017 and he found the process very enjoyable. In 2017, Tushar Bhargava from Brown Univeristy was the overall winner in this category with his paper titled, “Partners in Crime: Telecommunication Companies and Intelligence Agencies” and commented on the winning assignment“. Tushar’s paper highly impressed Mauro, who stated:

This is a skillfully written essay about the formation of relationships between intelligence agencies in the United States and telecommunication corporations. The author displayed both rigor in their historical research and the reconstruction of the founding relationships between telecommunications companies and intelligence agencies. This allowed the author to generate findings that were more than historical in nature, and, instead, point forward to possible future developments and policy actions. Ultimately, this is the point of good political science writing and is something for which the author thoroughly deserves recognition with this award.

Mauro is past-President of Irish Network Boston, a Director of the Wild Geese Network of Irish Scientists, a board advisor to both The Frederick Douglass- Daniel O’Connell Project the Gaelic Players Association New England. Dr. Mauro received a “Top 40 Under 40” in Irish-America award in 2013.

Category Spotlight: Medical Sciences

We developed our Medical Sciences Category to incorporate other health disciplines, such as dentistry and veterinary science, alongside Medicine and Medical Science. Pre- Med students can also submit to this category. The category was first introduced in 2012.

Entries for this category must be within the 12,000 word limit, and have received a 2.1/A grade.

In 2016 the Global Winner in this category  was Maniragav Manimaran from University College London. His paper, “Developing an Ultrasound Phantom Using 3D Printing for Practicing Minimally Invasive Intracardiac Procedures”, impressed the Judging Panel with its “novelty and flair”. It received particular praise for;

“The ingenuity of the idea, the process that had been applied to realise that idea and then the efforts to validate it”.

Other successful papers in this category have confirmed the validity of MRI as a surveillance tool for renal disease (Conor MacDonald, St Andrews; 2015 Global Winner), and investigated oncolytic virotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer (Milani Sivapragasam, Western University; 2014 Global Winner).

We are looking forward to receiving submissions to this year’s Medical Sciences category and seeing the cutting-edge research that is being conducted around the world by undergraduate students from classes of 2017, 20018 and 2019.

If you would like to submit to this category, or any other, please click here.

Category Spotlight: Law

Law has been a category at The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

This category is for undergraduate students of Law and Pre-Law. Entrants must submit an abstract of between 100-300 words long, and the word count is 2,500 – 5,000 words.

The submitted assignments must have been written during the entrants undergraduate career, and have achieved a grade of 2.1/A- or higher.

In 2017 the category was won by Kathy Liu, from Australian National University, with her paper, “Moral Emotions and Restorative Justice: A Legal-Psychological Analysis of the Role of Shame and Guilt in the Restorative Justice Process in Offender Rehabilitation“.

Her essay highly impressed the judges,  who commented on her assignment stating:

I have read this essay a number of times and I am impressed with its sophistication – both in its research quality and comparative analysis. I believe its is a worthy and novel angle to take on this topic from criminology and the criminal law.

In 2016, Jacqueline Williams from Australian National University won the Law category with her paper, “The Enforcement Regime of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) under Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act: Reform Required“, which is a fascinating read.

With only 4 weeks left until the submission deadline on 12 June, we look forward to reading all the new research in Engineering from undergraduate students around the globe.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.



Category Spotlight: Engineering

Engineering has been a category at The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

This category is open to all students of Engineering, including those of Computer and Systems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Quantity Surveying, Construction, Built Environment and more.

Entries for this category must be within the 12,000-word limit and have received a 2.1/A- grade.

In 2016, Sheng Rong Fang from Nanyang Technological University was the Global Winner of the category. His paper, titled “Development of Shape Memory Zirconia Particles and Powder Compacts“, was unanimously praised by the judges, who said:

It is an excellent and comprehensive piece of work. The submission presents the motivation and context of the work very clearly and the methodological rigour and effort undertaken were well noticed by all judges. The author has made attempts to develop a deep insight into the work and has summarised the findings clearly, while outlinging future works. As a piece of undergraduate research, it will continue to inspired.

Nikhil Jacob, the European Regional Winner of the Engineering category attended the UA Global Summit in November 2016 in Dublin, and has some inspiring words to say about the experience.

With only 4 weeks left until the submission deadline on 12 June, we look forward to reading all the new research in Engineering from undergraduate students around the globe.

If you are interested in submitting to the category, click here.

Category Spotlight: Computer Sciences

The Computer Sciences category has been in The Undergraduate Awards since its inaugural year.

Students of all Computer Sciences disciplines, including Computer Systems, Coding Languages, Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence and more are eligible to submit works to the category.

Entries for the category must be within the 12,000-word limit and have received at least a 2.1/A- grade.

In 2016, the category was won by Tomas Higgins from the Dublin Institute of Technology. His paper, titled “Identifying Mood by Analysing Keystroke Dynamics”, highly impressed the Judging Panel, who commented:

This paper paves the way for novel societal contribution in the field of Computer Sciences by analysing how IT systems might be able to recognise human moods. It provides an excellent and accessible discourse on the author’s research motivation, hypothesis and evaluation. The judging panel chose this excellent paper, not simply for its own merit, but also because it demonstrates a method through which technology could be put to use to achieve individual and societal benefits.


Dinh Luan Nguyen from Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh, won the award in 2017 for his paper “Deep Convolutional Neural Network In Deformable Part Models For Face Detection”,which is a fascinating read.

We are very excited to receiving submissions for this year’s Computer Sciences category and reading innovative research from undergraduate students around the world.



If you would like to find out how to submit to The Undergraduate Awards 2018 click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Category Spotlight: Architecture & Design

A jewellery design by Chloe Lewis from University of Dundee. Chloe was the Europe Regional Winner of Visual Arts and Design, 2016

The Architecture & Design category was first introduced at The Undergraduate Awards 2017.

Previously, students with work related to design could submit to the Visual Arts & Design category (now Visual Arts) but there was little opportunity for students of Architecture to submit to The Undergraduate Awards. We introduced this category to celebrate the work of students studying courses such as Architecture, Construction, Environmental Design, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, Product Design etc.

Barry Sheehan from Dublin Institute of Technology, Chair of the Visual Arts & Design 2016 has commented that:

Architecture thrives on competitions, it is how most architects establish themselves in the profession. Winning is habit-forming and entering competitions as early as possible is essential.

Architecture & Design is a portfolio-based category. Entrants can submit up to 10 images and an accompanying statement of between 300 and  1,500 words explaining their work. Submissions to this category do not need an abstract.

If you would like to find out how to submit to The Undergraduate Awards 2018 click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.

Judging Chair Spotlight: Danné Ojeda (Visual Arts Category)

This year we are welcoming back Danné Ojeda as Judging Chair of the Visual Arts category.

Danné Ojeda is Associate Professor in the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Danné Ojeda’ s work engages contemporary communication design, art practice and theory. She was a UNESCO research fellow at the Jan van Eyck Academy, Institute for Research and Production in Fine Art, Graphic Design and Theory, Maastricht, NL. In 2003, she founded d-file Graphic Design Studio in Amsterdam, from which she has mainly worked for and collaborated with cultural institutions that include the Singapore Art Museum (SAM), the Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, the National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico, among others. Danné has published, lectured on and curated exhibitions related to contemporary art and design. Her design works have been recognised with the Good Design Award (USA), Red Dot Design Award: Communication Design (DE), A’ Design Award (IT), among others. Her complete publications and exhibition design oeuvre commissioned by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) was awarded with Asia’s Top Designers Award, Singapore Design Award 2014.

Is Your Work Eligible for The Undergraduate Awards 2018?

We here at The Undergraduate Awards(UA) recognise that there are distinct lack of awards programmes for undergraduate students. We know how much blood, sweat and tears go into your assignments and we’re here so that you can have the opportunity to earn global recognition for outstanding coursework that would have fallen by the wayside as you progress into postgraduate studies and your respective careers.

If you are in the undergraduate class of 2017, 2018 or 2019 you are off to a good start! We accept work from recent graduates, penultimate and final year students across no less than 25 categories so you are bound to find one that best suits your coursework!

Are you now thinking ‘well I’ve submitted to The Undergraduate Awards before’? Not a problem! As long as you continue to be eligible, you can submit across multiple years. We strongly encourage 2017 graduates to submit again this year, it’s your last opportunity and the process couldn’t be easier. If you’ve entered the competition before, you’ll know that all we ask for is coursework you’ve already completed as part of your degree. You can submit up to three papers or projects into one, two or three of our 25 categories. The only criteria are the word count which can be found for each category here and that the paper received a II.1/A-Grade or higher.

Finally, you need to take several small steps to ensure your work makes it through our screening process so it can be seen by our panel of judges.

  • Write an abstract: Abstracts should be between 100-300 words long and give a brief overview of your work. Check our our UA Library to see examples from past winners.
  • Anonymise your work: Redact all information that reveals your identity (Your Name/Student Number, Your Institution’s Name, Your Lecturer’s Name, Your Module or Course Name, Your Course/Module Code etc).
  • Ensure your work meets the word count requirements: Minimum word count for all categories except Visual Arts and Architecture & Design is 2,500. Maximum word count differs by category with a 10% leeway on the upper limit.

Now all you have to do is submit before our deadline on June 12!


What are the perks?

As a winner, you are recognised as one of the most impressive students in your field; you become part of our alumni network; your winning paper is published in our academic journal; and you receive a ticket to the Global Undergraduate Summit 2018 in Dublin. Shortlisted students who are in the top 10% are also recognised for their excellence. They will receive a certificate for their research and are eligible to purchase a ticket for the summit, along with becoming members of the UA Alumni network.


Judging Chair Spotlight: James S. Etim (Education Category)

We are delighted to have Professor James S. Etim as the Judging Chair for the Education category again this year.


Dr. James S. Etim is a Professor of Education at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, USA.  His research interests are in four broad areas- English Language Arts in the Middle years, gender and education, teaching strategies and education across cultures. He has  authored  one book and  been editor or co-editor of seven books in the fields of education, gender studies and literacy. He has more than 50 journal articles and book chapters in both national and international journals. James is also on the Editorial Board of three journals and a reviewer for several journals.

Professor Etim holds a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wyoming, Laramie. He  has received two Fulbright Senior Specialist Awards that allowed him to travel and work with colleagues at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and the Polytechnic of Namibia. In 2017, he received a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Award that allowed him to work with faculty and doctoral students at the University of Jos, Nigeria. He has also been a Co-PI of a National Science Foundation Grant 2013-2016.

Every year UA invites cross-disciplinary and cross- cultural esteemed academics to the world’s largest virtual academic judging process.
 If you are interested in becoming a judge for UA 2018, please email or complete this form.

Category Spotlight: Education

The Education category has been in The Undergraduate Awards since its first year.

Students of all Education Theory and Practice disciplines, including Early Childhood Education, Adult Education, Philosophy of Education, History of Education and more are eligible to submit to the category.

Entries for this category must be within the 5,000-word limit and have received a 2.1/A grade.

The 2016 Global Winner of the Education category is Angelica Ng from Nanyang Technological University with her paper titled “Comparing Cyberbullying Perpetuation on Social Media Between Primary and Secondary School Students“. The judges commended the paper as “extremely well researched and well written”, saying:

The work was impressively organised, the literature review was both extensive and inclusive of recent studies in the field and the method of investigation was appropriate. The paper explored a major problem in schools – cyberbullying on social media – and reminded us of some strategies that, if implemented, could negatively impact the continued perpetuation of cyberbullying.

The 2014 Global Winner was Megan Turner from St. Mary’s University College Belfast with her paper “”Mind and Memory, Understanding and Delight”. Views of Literature and Memory in Education”. This paper discusses the educational reforms introduced to the UK in 2014 by then Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, and how they have polarised educators, particularly in regards to the topic of memorisation. To develop a deeper understanding of the role of memorisation in education in earlier decades, a range of people were surveyed about their own experiences of rote learning in education in the past 40 -50 years. Finally, individual interviews were conducted to gain deeper insight into those experiences to determine the personal experiences of those who were asked to memorise literary passages.

Don’t forget, the deadline for submission this year is June 12th, and we look forward to reading new research in the fields of education from undergraduate students around the world.

If you would like to find out how to submit to The Undergraduate Awards 2018 click here.

If you would like to read any of the Global Winners or Highly Commended papers go to The Undergraduate Awards Library.

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