Research Excellence Prize

 The 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 in each of the following categories:

  • Community-engaged research, offered in partnership with the Samuels ’63 Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT). Community-engaged research typically addresses the questions, issues, and/or needs of a community partner — whether at the local, state, regional, national, or global level.

  • 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.
  • Climate change-related research. This award is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. Dissertations are not eligible for this award.
  • Research completed in a University Writing Seminar (UWS).
  • Research completed by an undergraduate student outside of UWS.
  • Research completed for an undergraduate senior thesis.
  • Research completed by a graduate student. Dissertations are not eligible for this award.
  • Research that 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.
  • Digital research project. Examples include research presented through data visualization, mapping, story maps, digital storytelling tools, or multimedia. Both standalone digital projects and those that accompany a research paper will be considered. 

The application deadline is May 14, 2024.

Students, submit your 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 17, 2023, and May 14, 2024.

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
  • Grant applications, program evaluations, or reports produced for a community partner

Team Projects

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 letter reflecting on their research process as part of the application.

The letter 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 these resources positively impact the outcome of your project?
  • 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, please 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 letter.

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 2024 prizes will include library staff members, as well as Megan Ross, Associate Director of Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT).

Library Research Award Recipients