John Makepeace Bennett Award

CORE is delighted to present an award for the "best" PhD thesis in our field, finalised during the year.

This award was renamed after 'John Makepeace Bennett Award" in 2011 in recognition of his enormous contribiution to the field. Information on this outstanding Computer Science pioneer can be found here.

Details of the 2020 Application Process are below..

1. We will no longer accept hard copy submissions, and instead require that you submit a soft copy only. Moreover, all correspondence will be by e-mail.  

2. We request a short statement (no more than 2 pages) from the supervisor indicating why the thesis is worthy of best PhD award. You may choose to address issues such as the "originality", "significance", "innovation", "scale of the work", although these are not prescriptive.    Nominators could be reminded that this award is for the best PhD thesis, not the best body of published work or academic performance by a PhD graduate.

The committee welcome information about the quality of applicants' publications and prizes, but the nomination letter should explain clearly why the nominators believe the PhD itself is outstanding.


3. We require copies of ALL commentary and evaluation supplied by ALL of the examiners. The supervisor's letter should warrant that we have been sent all copies of examiners reports and that no material pertinent to the examination has been withheld.  

Please note: it is important that we receive the 

* Full examination reports including the University's cover sheet signed and dated by the examiner stating their institution as well as the examiners' written reports.

* Explicit statement in the nomination letter and a supporting document to show the confirmation or graduation date.

This is in order to confirm that the application meets the CORE dates for eligibility.

It would also assist the committee if the nominating letter could include some background about the PhD examiners, particularly their academic standing as  this might not be known by the committee.

4. All files must be formated as PDF documents (scanned versions of the paper forms are acceptable as long as they are saved in PDF)  

5.  In order to accommodate e-mail size restrictions we request that you place the the thesis on a public web site and send a URL to allow panel members to download it directly. Since the examiners' reports and supervisor statement are likely to be smaller, you can append these as attachments to the e-mail submission.  

6. There will be a limit of at most one candidate per department. Universities with more than one department may submit more than one thesis, but you should clearly indicate the name of the department.  

7. The candidate need not have graduated, but University's Academic Board or equivalent body must have determined during the period 1 May 2018 to 31 July 2019 (inclusive) that the degree be awarded. The date to be used for this purpose is the date that the University issued a letter or email to the candidate that says (broadly speaking) "Dear Dr XXXX, Congratulations, all requirements for your PhD have now been completed. To attend a graduation ceremony, please complete the attached form..."

8. The cut-off date for submissions for the 2020 award is August 15th 2019.  Judging will be finalised by October, and the award winner will be invited to ACSW the following January to receive their award. The nomination cut-off date will be strictly enforced to give the panel sufficient time to read the submissions.  

9.  No thesis may be nominated more than once. In special circumstances, for example, in cases where release of a thesis has been restricted because it contains commercially sensitive results and has been under a formal embargo, the Selection Committee may allow a variation of the eligibility window. Permission for such variations should be sought well in advance of the nominations closing date, and must include clear evidence of the reasons for the dispensation being requested.

As with previous years, there theses are distributed to the panel on a geographical basis, so that judges do not deal with theses from their own institution, or any other nominations where there is a perceived or actual conflict of interest.  

Please note that unless we receive all of the items listed above, the submission will be deemed ineligible.  


The final 2020 panel will be announced shortly.


Please e-mail your submissions to: 

Alison Farr at CORE (admin@core.edu.au) by Friday 2nd August.