CSL PhD Thesis Award

Nomination Guidelines


CSL seeks to leverage excellence in disciplinary research through interdisciplinary solutions that address major societal problems. The CSL PhD Thesis Award will be given to a researcher whose PhD thesis makes advances in a disciplinary area that has an interdisciplinary angle.

The selection committee will focus on candidates’ contributions, innovative ideas and potential impact resulting from their PhD work. The award includes a $500 honorarium, travel support, award certificate of recognition, and an invitation for the recipient to present his/her work in CSL during the fall semester. A public citation for the award will be placed on the CSL website, in the CSL e-newsletter to alumni, and in the CSL annual report.

Awards Selection Committee

The awards selection committee will consist of CSL members (number will depend on number of PhD theses submissions), one of which will be appointed as the selection committee chair. The CSL Director will appoint the committee members, selecting representatives from different CSL research groups.

Members of the selection committee will serve three-year terms, but they will be reappointed each December for the upcoming cycle by the CSL Director. The invitations to serve on the committee will note that if the invited faculty member foresees that one of his/her students will be nominated, then the faculty member should decline to serve on the committee (so that the director can appoint someone else).

Conflict of Interest Policy

Members of the committee will not be eligible to serve either as a nominator or a reference letter writer for a nomination. In the event that the PhD student of a committee member is nevertheless nominated, then that member will be recused from service on the committee, and the CSL Director will be notified and appoint a replacement. If other situations arise that could be considered a conflict of interest, then determination in such cases will be made by the CSL Director. Ordinarily, service of an awards committee member on the dissertation committee of a student is not considered a conflict of interest.


The award honorarium, travel expenses, and the award certificate of recognition will be funded from the CSL budget.

Nomination Applications

Nominations will be solicited by February 28, 2022, with a decision by July 1, in time to allow the above recognition and award presentation in the upcoming Fall semester. The PhD thesis must be submitted to the nominee’s academic department between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year (e.g., a PhD student who deposits his/her PhD thesis between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, is eligible to be nominated by a CSL faculty member by February 28, 2022, be selected by the CSL Award’s Committee by July 1, 2022, and be awarded the CSL PhD Thesis Award by Fall 2022).

Nominations for the award must include:

  1. A statement summarizing the candidate’s PhD thesis contributions and potential impact, and scientific justification of the nomination (two pages maximum);
  2. A short description of the student’s involvement with CSL, i.e., justification how this student was involved with CSL (e.g., student had an office in CSL, student was funded by CSL funds, student was involved in a CSL student conference or organization);
  3. PhD thesis;
  4. Curriculum Vitae of the nominee with specification which semester(s) the PhD candidate spent in CSL;
  5. Up to three endorsement letters supporting the nomination including the significant PhD thesis contributions of the candidate. Each endorsement should have clear specification of nominee PhD thesis contributions and potential impact on nominee’s field. Members of the selection committee and the nominator are not eligible to write endorsement letters. The letters are due to Erica Kennedy by March 15, 2022.
  6. A concise statement (one sentence) of the PhD thesis contribution for which the award is being given. This statement will appear on the award certificate and on the website.

Upload nominations here

The nomination rules are:

  1. The nominee can be any UIUC PhD student who (1) either has had a CSL office for two years, or (2) did not have a CSL office, but has been supported by a CSL grant for two years of their PhD thesis research, and had at least two or more PhD thesis committee members who are CSL members, or (3) did not have a CSL office, but had at least two or more PhD thesis committee members who are CSL members and had a significant CSL involvement (e.g., involvement with CSL Student Conferences,  CSL Social Hour,  Allerton Conference, involvement in CSL group seminars, etc.).
  2. The nominator must be a CSL faculty member.

The submission process will be preceded by the call for nominations. The call for nominations will be widely publicized on the CSL web site, CSL mailing list, and CSL e-newsletter between September and December of the previous year.