Student Research Competition

Download the CFP in PDF format

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication (SIGDOC) invites you to submit a proposal to this year’s Student Research Competition (SRC), sponsored by Microsoft. The SRC offers a forum for undergraduate and graduate students to present their original research at a well-known ACM-sponsored conference before a panel of judges and attendees. Participants also have the option of preparing an Extended Abstract to be published in the conference proceedings.

Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to submit proposals of up to 800 words on topics related to the design of communication including, but not limited to:

  • Content strategy
  • User experience design and experience architecture
  • Learning systems and environments
  • Open source design solutions
  • Collaborative platforms
  • Design methods and principles
  • Digital humanities and design
  • Project management
  • Information design and architecture
  • International and intercultural communication design
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Social impacts of technical communication

Please submit proposals to the SRC coordinator: Dr. Sonia Stephens ( Up to 15 undergraduate and 15 graduate students will be selected to enter the SRC. This year’s conference is a hybrid online event with local meeting hubs. The SRC will include a first round asynchronous e-poster session on October 12-13 and a live online second presentation round on October 14.

Students will be reimbursed for conference registration fees, but are responsible for SIGDOC membership, which begins at $19/year. There are monetary awards for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place winners.

Important Dates

To participate in the SRC, please observe the following deadlines:

  • Proposals due: May 7th, 2021 (acceptances by May 23rd)
  • Extended Abstracts (optional) due: June 18th, 2021 (reviewer comments back by July 11th)
  • Final version of Extended Abstracts (optional) due: August 6th, 2021
  • E-posters and video introductions due: September 10, 2021

What is the SRC?

The SRC consists of two rounds of competition at the conference, as well as the possibility to move on to a grand finals competition at a later date.

First Round Competition

The first round of competition is an e-poster session plus short video introduction. This is your opportunity to present your research in the areas specified in the Call for Proposals. Judges will review the e-posters and speak to participants about their research via online chat. Five semi-finalists from each division (undergraduate and graduate) will be chosen to present at the second round of the competition.

Second Round Competition

Semi-finalists continue by giving a short oral presentation of their research before a panel of judges, with supporting slides/visual aids. Evaluations are based on the presenter’s knowledge of their research area, contribution of the research, and the quality of the oral and visual presentation. Three winners will be chosen in each division (undergraduate and graduate) and will receive a medal and $500, $300, and $200, respectively.

The SRC Grand Finals

First-place undergraduate and graduate student winners from the SRC will advance to the SRC Grand Finals. A different panel of judges evaluates SIGDOC winners against winners from other ACM Special Interest Groups online. Three undergraduates and three graduates will be chosen as the SRC Grand Finals winners. They are invited, along with their advisors, to the annual ACM Awards Banquet, where they receive formal recognition.

The requirements for participation in the SRC are:

  • You must be a current ACM student member (rates begin at $19/year, though there are special rates for students in developing countries).
  • If selected, you must register for the SIGDOC 2021 conference.
  • You must still be a student at the time of the conference (October 12-14, 2021).
  • You must apply by submitting a proposal of no more than 800 words on a topic of relevance to the host conference, SIGDOC 2021.
  • Undergraduates may propose individual or team-based research. Graduate students must propose individual research projects.
  • For undergraduate teams, one person should be designated by the team to attend the conference and make the oral presentation.
  • If you propose to the SRC, you cannot propose to the main SIGDOC conference as well; you must choose one or the other.

Have more questions?

For common questions about the SRC, designing a poster, and what you should expect, see our Frequently Asked Questions page. For other questions, you can contact the SRC coordinator, Dr. Sonia Stephens (