Fondren Library Research Awards

Upcoming Application Deadline Extended: January 31, 2020

Notification of Winner(s): March 1, 2020


Fondren Library's annual Research Award program is funded by the Friends of Fondren Library and recognizes students who demonstrate extraordinary skill and creativity in the application of library and information resources to original research and scholarship.


Graduate Students

  • $500 winner
  • $300 second place
  • $200 honorable mention

Undergraduate Students

  • $500 winner
  • $300 second place
  • $200 honorable mention


Individuals or teams must be currently enrolled Rice University graduate students or currently enrolled Rice undergraduate students. Work completed in all disciplines is eligible for entry.

Although complete dissertations are excluded from consideration, dissertation chapters or chapters or sections of a Master’s thesis are eligible in the graduate student category.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be a Rice University graduate student or undergraduate student in any discipline
  • have completed the research project for a credit course, fellowship or in submission towards degree requirements offered at Rice University during the past calendar year.

Application Procedure

Applications must include the following:

  1. A 500 word essay describing research strategies and application of library tools and resources in completion of the project
  2. A draft or final version of the research project. Projects in all media are encouraged.
    • Written projects: the product should be a minimum of 3000 words for undergraduates and 5000 words for graduate students, double-spaced and previously unpublished; an abstract of the paper must also be included.
    • Digital projects: electronically submit the project. Multiple files should be zipped together. If your project is over 20mb please contact
  3. Include a list of works or references cited within the paper following a standard style sheet.

Rules of Submission

  1. Electronic submissions are required.
  2. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Late applications will not be considered.
  3. Individuals or teams must agree to contribute their projects to the permanent collections of the Rice Universities Libraries and the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive.
  4. The award winners (first place and honorable mention) will be asked to attend a Friends of Fondren Board meeting to present their projects.

Evaluation Criteria

In order of importance successful projects will:

  1. Demonstrate sophistication, originality, or unusual depth or breadth in the use of library collections, including, but not limited to, printed resources, databases, primary sources, and materials in all media.
  2. Demonstrate originality of thought, mastery of content appropriate to class level, clear writing, and overall quality of presentation.
  3. Demonstrate fluent writing and effective application of information literacy principles:
    1. determining information needs
    2. evaluating and analyzing information
    3. managing, organizing, and synthesizing information
    4. applying information in context of the research project
    5. communicating information in formats appropriate to an academic audience
    6. making responsible use of information by providing appropriate and accurate citations and credits.
  4. Demonstrate use or mastery of an appropriate style sheet (examples include: APA, MLA, AP and Chicago Manual of Style or a software tool such as Zotero).

Evaluation Committee

Submissions will be evaluated by the members of the University Committee on the Library which consists of faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students. A member of the Fondren Library administration and a member of the Friends of Fondren Library Board of Directors will also serve on the Evaluation Committee. Names of Evaluation Committee members will be posted on this site.

Award Notification and Disposition

Winners will be notified by the date listed at the top of this page.  The award will be given as a cash prize. Team awards will be divided equally among all members. Please note that depending on the recipient's enrollment status and income, the Fondren Research Award constitutes taxable income and must be reported to the IRS.


The Fondren Research Award program is funded by the Friends of Fondren Library. We gratefully acknowledge this generous support.

We acknowledge the websites of the University of Oregon, the University of California - Berkeley, and the University of Virginia for serving as models for this program.

Research Awards

1 Contact Info 2 Course Information 3 Project Documents 4 Agreement