Ruska Award Student Competition

The Ruska Award was named in honor of Ernst Ruska, an inventor of the electron microscope, and his brother Helmut, who collaborated in the development of this powerful research instrument. The award recognizes excellence in the biological and physical sciences by student researchers using microscopy as the primary research tool. To qualify for this award, students must follow the Ruska Award Guidelines outlined below and present their work in the form of a PowerPoint presentation at the annual SEMS meeting. The presentation should be 12 minutes in length followed by a 3-minute question and answer period. The Ruska Award Committee will evaluate the scientific merit of the abstract, quality of the writing, quality of the micrographs, and the oral presentation.

For this year’s meeting, all Ruska participants will receive meeting registration and a certificate of participation. The first place Ruska Award winner will receive the Ruska Award plaque and $300.00.

Ruska Award Guidelines

  • Applicant must be a member of SEMS.  Click here: Membership Online Form to apply.
  • Applicants must be, or have been, an undergraduate or graduate student during the academic year of the meeting. The applicant cannot be a previous Ruska Award winner.
  • Students must present original research conducted by the student. The research may be co-authored by the student’s advisor.
  • Applicants must submit an abstract by April 18, 2024. Guidelines are similar to the abstract guidelines in Call for Papers.
  • Contact the Ruska Chairpersons,  Justin White, if there are questions.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • The abstract.
    • Accepted file types: doc, pdf, Max. file size: 32 MB.
      ONLY Microsoft Word (.doc) or Adobe (.pdf) will be accepted as valid formats.
  • A Research Summary (2 pg max for text, 1 pg figures). The Research Summary MUST include Title, Author (s) name and affiliation, Introduction, Methods and Materials, Results, Discussion, and References all within the 2-page limit. An additional page of micrographs or tables/charts related to the project should be included with a figure legend that describes each micrograph or table. The Research Summary must be submitted via e-mail to the Ruska Award Chair before April 18,2024.
  • A signed copy of the Ruska Award Checklist, signed by the student’s advisor, must be emailed or faxed to the Ruska Chairperson by April 18, 2024.

Ruska Award Method of Evaluation
The Ruska Award Committee will evaluate the research summary and oral presentation using the following criteria:

1. Submitted Text Scientific Merit

  • Soundness of research proposal
  • Experimental design and thoroughness of investigation (originality, correlated techniques)
  • Validation of conclusions
  • Application of microscopy and associated methods to answer experimental questions


  • Presentation of specimen (fixation, quality of sectioning and staining)
  • Instrumentation
  • Photographic quality (aesthetics, density, contrast)

Quality of Writing

  • Clarity
  • Grammatical correctness

2. Oral Presentation

  • Clarity
  • Communication
  • Quality of Presentation
  • Response to audience questions
  • Adherence to presentation time limit (12 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for questions)

Ruska Award Chairperson:

Justin White

Ruska Award Co-Chairperson:

Treva Brown

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