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Canadian Society of Microbiologists Untitled 1

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ANNUAL CONFERENCE  ::  Registrants  ::  Student Symposium Competition

Student Symposium Competition

Attention Students: Benefits of participating in the Student Award competition. If you are one of the 12 students selected for the Student Symposium (Participants will be declared after the competition deadline): 

  • participate in the travel bursary
  • receive a certificate of participation
  • have the opportunity to win a cash prize and a plaque
  • abstracts not scheduled for the student symposium will also be considered for the poster competition

Awards will be presented to the best student oral presentations and extended abstracts.


Award Sponsors
ISME-8 Student Symposium Award
One award of $500 and a certificate presented by the Atlantic Canada Society for Microbial Ecology. The award will be presented for the best student oral presentation in microbial ecology.
Canadian Science Publishing (CSP) Student Symposium Award
The Award is sponsored by CSP in the amount of $500 and a certificate. It will be presented to one of the best student presentations as part of the Student Awards Symposium.
Cedarlane Student Symposium Award
One award of $500 and a plaque. The Award is sponsored by Cedarlane & will be presented to the best student presentation as part of the Student Awards Symposium.
CCM Student Symposium Award
One award of $500 and a certificate. The award will be presented to one of the best student presentations as part of the Student Awards Symposium.



Previous competition winners will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming student competition in the category they previously won. A maximum of twelve (12) oral presentations will be made in a Student Award Symposium. The selection of students for this symposium will be made on the basis of a previously submitted written extended abstract. If more than twelve students apply for the three awards, extended abstracts will be pre-judged by the CSM Education Committee, and the twelve best selected for the symposium. The other abstracts will be scheduled in the poster sessions. The student who is participating in the Student Symposium Competition must be a member of the CSM. Extended abstracts are due on or before March 22nd, 2021.

To Enter

To enter the competition, students must do the following:

  1. To enter this competition, the student must first submit a 300 word abstract online via the 2021 Conference website by March 22, 2021.  At that time of submitting their abstract via the 2021 Conference website, the student should also indicate his/her intention on the online application to enter the competition. A student cannot submit more than 1 abstract as the presenting author in this competition.
  2. In addition to submitting a 300 word abstract, an extended abstract must be submitted in PDF format by March 22, 2021. The online abstract form will prompt you to upload the extended abstract as a PDF single file if Student Competition was selected as the presentation type. 
  3. The extended abstract. The extended abstract must have its own abstract consisting of no more than 50 words. Do not use section headings in the body of the paper. Include a brief introduction, methods, results and discussion in a single section. The text should not exceed 1000 words. A maximum of 4 figures and/or tables is allowed. Materials and methods should be described in the text, not in figure legends or table footnotes. The literature cited section should conform to the format used by the Canadian Journal of Microbiology.
  4. The submitted material will be adjudicated as follows:
    • Extended abstracts submitted for the CSM Student Symposium Award by the March 22, 2021 deadline will be processed and reviewed by the CSM Education & Careers Committee.
    • Extended abstracts received by the Chair of the Education Committee will be distributed to members of the committee for judging.  The extended abstracts will be judged according to their scientific merit (see Competition Guidelines below).  The students will be notified as to whether or not their paper has been retained for the Student Award Symposium.
    • For evaluation of the oral presentations, the Chair of the Education Committee will select a panel of at least three (3) members from the Education Committee, the Graduate Scholarship Committee, or the membership at large to grade the oral presentations.  This panel will not include members of the Education Committee involved in the pre-judging (see Competition Guidelines below) not the symposium chair.
    • The three winners will be selected from the combined assessment of their extended abstract and oral presentation.  The awards will be presented by the Chair of the Education Committee at the CSM banquet.  

Competition Guidelines
  1. Written Submission
    Members of the Education Committee will review each extended abstract submitted for the competition and award a mark out of 40, as follows:
    • Scientific merit (20 marks): Is the work scientifically sound?  Does the work significantly advance knowledge in the discipline?  Are the methods and results reliable?  Do the results support the conclusions?
    • Clearly defined objectives of the research (5 marks).
    • Strict adherence of the abstract in length and format guidelines.  (For example, is the bibliography presented in CJM style?) (10 marks).
    • Suitability of Figures and Tables for presentation (5 marks).
  2. Oral Presentation
    Each presentation will last a maximum of 12 minutes followed by 3 minutes for questions from the audience.  The panel of judges will evaluate the presentations (70 marks).  The judges have no knowledge of the written evaluation and rate each presentation using the following criteria:
    • A brief and lucid introduction to the research (5 marks).  A person unfamiliar with the subject should be able to ascertain what the research is about and what knowledge currently exists on the subject.
    • A clear definition of the objectives of the work (5 marks).
    • A clear, audible speaking style and speed at all times (5 marks).
    • The student addresses the audience rather than the notes, blackboard, slides, or feet (5 marks).
    • Distinctly visible, understandable, and properly labeled graphics (Figures, Tables, etc.) (10 marks).
    • The student specifically indicates to the audience the significant information contained in the graphics (15 marks).
    • The scientific content of the paper is of good quality and the message is clearly imparted to the audience (10 marks).
    • A summary or a list of conclusions is presented at the end of the talk (5 marks).
    • Ending within the allotted time. (5 marks).
    • Ability to respond to questions (5 marks).


Travel Bursary

Due to the virtual conference format, there will be no travel bursaries awarded to students in 2021.

The CSM will be providing some assistance to students competing in the CSM Student Award Competition.  A total of $2,000.00 will be available to help defray the travel costs of students who have been selected to compete in the competition.  This is a bursary, not a prize, and those who have the greatest travel expenses will benefit the most.

The 12 students selected to compete in the CSM Student Award Competition are eligible to receive reimbursement from the CSM for travel costs (or portion thereof) incurred in attending the Annual General Meeting. This travel bursary can be obtained by submitting official receipts (or legible copies thereof) from the commercial carrier (gasoline receipts may be acceptable, if applicable). That portion of travel expense to be supported by the CSM will be determined by dividing the $2,000 by the total amount claimed by all students. Only travel expenses may be submitted. Receipts should be submitted after the meeting and must be received by the CSM Secretariat by July 30 of the meeting year. Cheques will be mailed by September 30 to the person or institution designated by the application.

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CSM-SCM Secretariat
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Ottawa, ON K1G 4S3

Tel: (613) 421-7229

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