BioEM2009 Student Awards Process

Editor’s note: The Awards Committee of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, in conjunction with the European Bioelectromagnetics Association, will be awarding student presentations at the upcoming joint meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The following text describes the process on which they have reached an agreement in principle. It is approved by the Awards Committee of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and is expected to be officially approved by EBEA following their Council meeting on 6 November 2008. Sample score sheets are included as an insert between pages 6 and 7 of this newsletter.

Since 1984, The Bioelectromagnetics Society has presented awards to its student researchers who gave the top scientific presentations at the Society’s Annual Meeting. This tradition is mantained at the joint meetings of the two societies, BEMS and EBEA. The Student Awards are an essential part in defining who we are as scientific societies. Every year the awards are supported generously by donations and dues from our membership. The awards also show that the societies are committed to supporting student members.

The BEMS Student Competition Awards include:

  • Curtis Carl Johnson Memorial Award (1st place)
  • Memorial Award (2nd place)
  • 3rd and 4th place awards

In each case, an award is presented to a student in both the oral (platform) and poster categories. In recent years, the Board of Directors of BEMS and the Scientific Council of EBEA have taken steps to ensure that the Student Awards are managed in a fair and transparent manner. That is, after revisiting the topic of the Student Awards, the BEMS Board and EBEA Council want to ensure that all students understand the rules so they know what is expected of them, and therefore have the same opportunities afforded to them as their peers.

At BIOEM 05, a scoring system was implemented that provided judges with a clear set of criteria to evaluate poster and oral presentations. Results were tallied numerically on the last day of the meeting and the winners were declared based on the ranked list of scores. This system was also used at the BEMS Annual Meeting in 2006. In 2007, to ensure that every student presentation was evaluated critically, senior members of the BEMS community from a wide variety of backgrounds were recruited as judges. This ensured that every student presentation was evaluated by a minimum of five judges. In 2008, following the recommendation of BEMS then vice-president Dr. Niels Kuster, conflict of interest rules were implemented in order to make the judging process as fair as possible for every student.

This year, under the recommendation from the BEMS Board and the EBEA Council, additional steps have been taken to ensure that all participants understand the expectations of the judges, along with how the top posters and oral presentations are chosen. In this issue of the newsletter, you will find the official score sheets that will be used by both BEMS and EBEA judges to evaluate every student presentation at BioEM 2009. It is our sincere belief that these efforts at improving transparency and objectivity will inspire every student to submit their best paper, dedicate their best efforts when presenting their work, and feel proud of their contribution at the joint meeting no matter what the outcome.