Research Excellence Prize

Blue to pink gradient background with cartoon images of stars, a laptop, and a paper and magnifying glass. Brandeis Library logo in bottom left corner. Text: Research Excellence Prize, six $250 prizes, application due May 17, 2022, Brandeis Library's Research Excellence Prize recognizes students who apply sophisticated information literacy skills to the selection, evaluation and synthesis of sources for a research project. In addition to highlighting exemplary student scholarship, the Award serves to encourage students to engage with library resources and make use of library services. Each prize is for $250.

The Library’s Research Excellence Prizes include:

  • An award for student research related to racism and anti-racism. This award is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Dissertations are not eligible for this award.
  • An award for research completed in a University Writing Seminar (UWS).
  • An award for a research paper or project completed by an undergraduate student outside of UWS
  • An award for a research paper or project completed by a graduate student. Dissertations are not eligible for this award.
  • An award for research which makes use of materials in the Brandeis University Archives & Special Collections. This award is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Dissertations are not eligible for this award.
  • An award for a digital research project. For a digital project, a student might present their research through data visualization, mapping, or multi-media. A digital project could be completed alongside a research paper or the project may be independent of a research paper.

The application deadline is May 17, 2022.

Students, submit your work for the Research Excellence Prize

Faculty, recommend a student's work for the Research Excellence Prize

Award Requirements

To be eligible to win a Research Excellence Prize, applicants must be current Brandeis University students. We will accept work that was produced between May 14, 2021, and May 17, 2022.

Types of Research Considered

In addition to research papers, students may submit other types of research projects that make use of library resources and services and demonstrate research skills. These projects can be from any academic discipline and might include:

  • Literature reviews
  • Web pages displaying research findings
  • Audiovisual materials, such as videos
  • Posters
  • Creative writing assignments

Team projects are eligible for the award. If a team project is selected, the award will be split evenly among team members.


To have their work considered for the Research Excellence Prize, students are asked to submit an online application. Students will be asked to upload their research project and to write a research process essay as part of the application.

The research process essay should be between 500-750 words. Please try to address the following questions:

  • Which specific library sources did you consult and why? (For example, the library catalog, WorldCat, an archival collection, specific library databases, etc.) 
  • Did you use library services, such as Research Help, Interlibrary Loan, University Archives & Special Collections, or library instruction? Please give details about your experience with these services. How did using them contribute to your research?
  • From searches with zero results to too much information and no way to refine them, or finding the perfect thing that was unavailable, we all encounter stumbling blocks when we research. What stumbling blocks did you encounter and how did you overcome them? 
  • How did you evaluate the quality of the sources you discovered during the research process? How did you decide which sources to use and which to discard?
  • How has your approach to doing research changed as a result of undertaking this project?

For papers written in a language other than English, students can submit a one-page summary of the paper, written in English.

For digital projects with no bibliography, students are asked to include a list of the sources they used in their research process essay.

Students will also need a recommendation from the instructor who taught the course for which the student completed the research project or from a faculty member who served as an advisor to the research project. 

Process for Selecting Award Winners

Please view our Library Evaluation Rubric below and Faculty Evaluation form for details about how submissions will be reviewed

Wherever possible, submissions will be anonymized prior to the review process. In the case of digital projects, anonymization may not be possible.

Reviewers for the 2022 prizes were Mary Calo, Aimee Slater, Rachel Greenblatt, Lisa Zeidenberg, Maric Kramer. Jennifer Giordano, Zoe Weinstein, Hillary Kativa. Margarita Corral, Thomas Valicenti, Alexis Cooper, Chloe Gerson, Surella Seelig, and Alex Willett.

Library Research Award Recipients