Posted by: Jeremy Fox | July 11, 2011

How to win the Braun Award for best student poster at the ESA Annual Meeting

Register to be considered! This of course won’t guarantee that you win–but you can’t win if you don’t register. I help judge the Braun Award every year, and I’m always struck by how few students register to be considered–typically 20 or fewer. That’s surely a small fraction of the many students who give posters at the ESA Annual Meeting, and it’s only a fraction of the number of students who register to be considered for the Buell Award for best student talk. So if you’re a student doing a poster for the ESA meeting, I’d encourage you to register for consideration for the Braun Award. Don’t just assume you won’t win–let the judges decide that.

It’s too late to register for this year, but for next year follow the Braun Award link I provided above to register (deadline is usually around Mar. 1).


  1. There’s a reason so few people register for it: it’s a pain in the neck to do so. Not only do you have to register ridiculously early — around the time of the abstract submission — you have to write up an essay about why your research will advance the field of ecology. And that’s ridiculous; if it’s supposed to be about your poster/presentation, why the superfluous extra essay?! I spent my time making sure I had a really good abstract so I could get a presentation and skipped on the extraneous essay.

    Also, also, the application materials for the Bell/Braun awards were not available as of February 7 — the online link was broken. So you not only had to write a silly essay, you also had to time your visit to the ESA site so as to get there before the deadline but after someone bothered to make sure the application materials were available.

    Too much effort for too little gain. Maybe if ESA makes it a little easier to register, I’ll consider it next year.

    • Dear Margaret,
      Your comments are very much appreciated, and I suspect you’re not the only student to feel this way. Indeed, when I was a student back in the stone age I wondered why the award registration was not better integrated with the registration for the meeting itself. The essay was added sometime after I finished my degree, I’m not sure of the rationale for it (I’m merely a judge, not one of the folks who actually runs the competition and sets the rules). I’d be happy to convey the substance of your comments to the folks who administer the awards, and I’d encourage you and your fellow students to email the administrators yourselves with comments and suggestions for improvement. In the absence of feedback, these things tend to get run the way they’ve always been run.

  2. As a student who has tried (and failed!) to register to be considered, I’m with Margaret 100%.

  3. Just wanted to let you know that the Bell/Braun award self-nomination process requires the superfluous extra essay again this year: “Please attach a copy of your abstract and for the Buell or Braun awards, a 250-word or less description of why/how the research presented will advance the field of ecology.” (Um, shouldn’t your *abstract* do that?!)

    • Yes, I saw this, and was personally disappointed as I don’t believe the extra essay is necessary. I will once again make my views on this known to the powers that be. But I would hope that students wouldn’t let the unfortunately-convoluted application process stop them from applying.

  4. […] statement about how their research will advance the field of ecology. As a student commenter on last year’s post about the Braun award notes, that’s what your abstract is supposed to do. Students are quite […]

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