New Focus Awards

Rise Awards Logo Shrunk

RISE can be described in a multitude of ways: it is a breeding ground for research and innovation, a collider of academia and industry, a soothsayer peeking the future of tech, science, art and health. As Socrates once theorized about the state of matter, RISE can be whittled down into smaller, singularly identifiable components of which its whole is comprised. There are students, sponsors, professors, companies, organizations and interested passers-by, speakers and staff and futurists alike, interacting and presenting and trading ideas, innovations, and so the list goes.  

As it has been in previous years, the RISE Awards ceremony is a component of particular interest. It is here that judges in each category will determine which student projects were the most successful with respect to specific criteria. Winners are recognized in front of an audience of their peers, professors, and potential employers, and then presented an award coupled with prize money that they can use to continue to fund their endeavors 

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A New Focus

This year, RISE:2020 will be adding six new Focus Awards sponsored by various colleges within Northeastern. The College of Art, Media and Design, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, College and Professional Studies, and Bouvé College of Health Sciences will be introducing awards that reflect their shared and exclusive academic and research goals.  

CPS Resiliency and Sustainability Awards

Cps LogoThe College of Professional Studies is offering $500 to one graduate awardee and $500 to one undergraduate awardee that spotlights important ideas, problems, or challenges in resiliency and sustainability. The College of Professional Studies offers a wide variety of degrees from a Bachelors to a Masters to a Doctorate in fields like Biological Science, Biotechnology, Digital Communication and Project Management. Meant to cover important topics across each specialty, this award seeks to reflect the diversity of these areas of study. Those seeking to pursue an award in this category can target leadership and regulatory on a local or global scale, environmental concerns or sustainable technological advancements, leaving a wide open field for student presenters to develop creative and innovative solutions in a world plagued by the caveats of frequent large-scale growth. 

Design Awards

Camd LogoThe College of Art, Media and Design is offering two $1000 awards to one graduate and one undergraduate awardee whose project best exemplifies how design principles and the design process conceive of and shape innovative ideas and solutions to challenging, multi-disciplinary problems. The College of Art, Media and Design puts forth a mission statement that adopts a holistic approach to design that aims to improve the quality of the human experience, taking into account human goals, needs and desires. Faculty and students within the college employ and are exposed to advanced design methodologies and cutting edge tools intended to enhance creativity, communication and collaboration across disciplines and industries while investigating the human experience through form, function, emotion and behavior. With programs dedicated to Architecture, Art and Design, Communication Studies, Journalism, Music and Theater, projects in this category can be expected to cover a wide range of topics. 

Ethically Informed Research Awards

Humanities LogoThe College of Social Sciences and Humanities is offering a $1000 first place prize and a $500 second place prize to two undergraduate awardees whose projects best incorporate attention to ethical considerations in research design and implementation. Projects in this category might address a significant ethical challenge using value-sensitive project design, or demonstrate designing and implementing effective human research protocols. Research centers within the College of Social Sciences and Humanities such as The Ethics Institute and the Institute of Security and Public Policy would emulate the kind of work that might compose a successful project in this category. Other topics regarding ethics can be seen in the college’s news feed: articles covering the display of political ads on social media, interviews with experts on the intersection of technology and democracy, or the representation of data regarding crime statistics. Research is only as good as the good it provides, and so it is important to recognize the ethics of any and all research. 

Health Communication Awards

Bouve LogoThe College of Art, Media and Design and Bouvé College of Health Sciences are jointly offering two $1000 prizes to one graduate and one undergraduate awardee whose projects best examine contemporary health communication challenges paired with viable solutions. While it might seem a strange couple, the College of Art, Media and Design and Bouvé College of Health Sciences, one very much needs the other in the professional world. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and all the innovation and genius in the galaxy wouldn’t mean a thing if it never reached the public. Bouvé prides itself on its researchers and the work that is being done by both faculty and students within and outside of Boston, but it’s the communicators between the scientist and the general public that let revolutionary technologies change the world. Scientists need speakers as much as the public needs scientists, or else either might suffer as it has the knowledge to help, but not the means. In short, one hand washes the other. The College of Art, Media and Design has paired with Bouvé to highlight the work of communicators and the health scientists behind them to show the importance of every aspect of the medical pipeline. 

Data and Digital Storytelling Awards

The College of Art, Media and Design and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities are jointly sponsoring two $1000 awards to one graduate and one undergraduate awardee whose projects deftly apply tools of design, data visualization, text mining or mapping, journalistic investigation, or creative storytelling that draws attention to important ideas, problems or challenges. The angle of this award can be seen in the programs and research centers between both sponsoring schools. The College of Art, Media and Design exhibits programs, labs and initiatives aimed at developing creative ways of portraying information and telling stores, such as the Co-Lab for Data Impact, whose focus is on developing narrative data strategies to advance civic-oriented and impactful visual storytelling, or Storybench, a publication dedicated to describing new techniques and best practices in data storytelling within Journalism.

At another part of the spectrum, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities contains eighteen departments and programs dedicated to producing cutting-edge solutions to the political and social problems of our contemporary world. With research centers such as the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures and the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, it is evident that the goals of the college aim to foster ethical reasoning and critical thought with attention to the enduring significance of history, literature, and culture.

In tandem, the combined research goals observed within both schools serves to highlight not only the importance of accuracy and purpose in storytelling, but accessibility and effectiveness as well. The projects in this category will echo the diverse yet dedicated fields of study that overlap both colleges. 

Illuminating Complex Problems Awards

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities is offering two $750 prizes to one graduate awardee and one undergraduate awardee  for projects rooted in values of social justice that illuminate causes of or suggest strategies for addressing complex and persistent social problems.  It is no secret that we live in an ethically tumultuous era. While the state of modern societies in many places across the world have drastically improved, they have only become better by the conscious effort of countless dedicated individuals, and there is still a need for even more of these individuals if culture is to continue improving. This category seeks to recognize those projects that highlight methodologies for bettering society as a whole, or exposing the perpetuators of those malicious pillars upholding values which prevent our world from moving forward. The first step to solving any problem is realizing there is one, and presenters in this category will be among those bringing these problems and solutions to light. 

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Focus From The Past

As in the past, there are awards for each of the letters in the RISE acronym, Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Entrepreneurship, as well as a People’s Choice award alongside awards for outstanding research in Computer and Information Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Health Sciences, Humanities and Arts, Interdisciplinary Topics, Centers and Institutes, Physical and Life Sciences, and Social Sciences, Business and Law.  

RISE:2020 also includes Focus Awards introduced at last year’s expo. Information on the COE Solution Awards, SAIL Award, DATA Award, Grand Impact Award, and Sharing Economy Award can be found here 

Student presenters that wish to be considered for a Focus Award must take an additional step when submitting their projects. Students should review the descriptions of the Focus Award category they wish to enter and fill out the registration form along with answers to the prompts for each award which they feel their work is suited. Students may apply for more than one Focus Award should they deem their project to have effectively met the criteria of each category. Students can register for Focus Awards here.


Written by Joseph Burns

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