PhD Dissertation Award


Each year, UCOWR recognizes two outstanding Ph.D. dissertations on water issues, one in each of the following categories: (1) Water Policy and SocioEconomics, and (2) Natural Science and Engineering. 


Dissertation awardees will receive a $750 cash award, reimbursement up to $1,000 for travel expenses to the annual UCOWR conference and a waived conference registration fee.  Recipients will be asked to present their research during one of the concurrent sessions.  This is a total award package of up to $2,300.  


Ph.D. dissertations completed between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017, from a UCOWR member university will be considered.  Each member university can submit only one application in each category through their lead UCOWR delegate. A list of member universities and their lead UCOWR delegates is available here.  

Nominations Requirements

Nominations are to be made by a faculty member.  The nominator submits a letter of endorsement from the PhD advisor along with a digital copy of the dissertation to his or her Lead Delegate.  The letter must include the PhD advisor's mailing address, email address, and phone number. In cases where journal articles or other documents were accepted in lieu of a dissertation, digital copies of those documents that constituted the dissertation requirements must be submitted.

The Lead Delegate then writes and submits a nominating letter including 1) Nominee’s email address, postal address, and phone number, 2) the category of the nomination, and 3) dissertation title.  The dissertation and scanned copies of the support letters should be emailed to the attention of Karl Williard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

Review Process & Criteria

The review process consists of the following two steps:

On-Campus Screening. The UCOWR Lead Delegate will coordinate an on-campus screening process for nominated dissertations and select no more than one dissertation in each category for submission to UCOWR.

Review Panel. The UCOWR Awards Chair will appoint reviewers to rate the submitted applications and make recommendations to the UCOWR Board of Directors.

Submissions will be rated on:

  • Quality and clarity of writing
  • Originality and innovation
  • Scientific merit, technical quality; soundness of research
  • Understanding of previous related research
  • Contribution to and impact on water resources research 


The deadline to submit materials to UCOWR is Friday, February 2, 2018.

May 2018: Winners Announced

Formal recognition will be given at the UCOWR Awards Luncheon, held at the Annual Conference, scheduled for June 26-28, 2018, at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, PA.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 21:46