The W. F. Thompson Best Student Paper Award is given by the AIFRB annually to recognize excellence in research as well as to encourage student professionalism in fisheries and aquatic sciences and publication of research results. All scientists are eligible as long as the senior author conducted the research while a student of fish or some aspect of aquatic science and conservation. The award includes a check for up to $1,000.00.


  1. The research must have been conducted while the nominee was a student at an institution of higher learning in the western hemisphere.

  2. Papers that are considered for the award must be concerned with freshwater or marine biological resource problems. They will be judged on the basis of originality, development and organization, and relevance to current problems.

  3. The results of the research must have been published in a recognized scientific journal, or as all or part of a book, within three (3) years of termination of student status. If a paper does not meet this requirement, due to a technically uncontrollable reason, such as military service, etc., it may still be considered.

  4. Authors may nominate their own papers.

  5. Multiple authorship is permissible, provided a student is the senior author.

  6. A résumé, including details of the student author’s employment history in fisheries or fisheries-related science and his status as a student, must accompany the nomination.

  7. The submissions are handled by a committee, consisting of a Chairperson, an AIFRB member or fellow appointed by the President of the AIFRB, and several members, also AIFRB members or fellows, selected by the Chairperson. The papers are judged by scientists, not necessarily AIFRB members or fellows, who are selected by the Committee on the basis of competence in the subjects of the submitted papers.

  8. The award will consist of a congratulatory letter from the president of the AIFRB and a monetary award. A faculty advisor co-author in an award-winning paper will receive a congratulatory letter from the president of the AIFRB, but no money.

  9. If the winning paper is based upon research carried out independently by two or more student co-authors, each will receive a congratulatory letter, and the monetary award will be divided equally among them.

  10. In most cases the award will be given once each year, but if none of the papers nominated for the award is judged to be outstanding the Committee is not obliged to select a winner of the award for that year.

  11. Persons who have won the award are eligible to receive it a second time, provided the two awards are based on two distinctly different pieces of research conducted in support of two different degrees.

  12. If two or more papers based on the same thesis or dissertation are submitted, they will be judged separately.

Nominations are due before May for the W.F. Thompson Award, which will be given by the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (AIFRB) to recognize the best student paper in fisheries science published two years previous. The award will consist of a check for a monetary certificate, and a one-year membership in AIFRB at an appropriate level. The requirements for eligibility are as follows: (1) the paper must be based on research performed while the student was a candidate for a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree at a college or university in the Western Hemisphere; (2) the results of the research must have been submitted to the recognized scientific journal in which it was eventually published, or to the editor of the book in which it was eventually published, within three (3) years of termination of student status; (3) papers that are nominated for the award must be concerned with freshwater or marine biological resources and/or fisheries science; (4) the paper must be in English; and (5) the student must be the senior author of the paper. Nominations may be submitted by professors or other mentors, associates of the students, or by the students themselves. The submission package should include a letter of nomination, the student’s curriculum vitae and a copy of the publication. Submissions in MSWord or as pdf documents are required.

Criteria for Evaluating Papers

Contribution to fisheries science: 50%
Does the paper address an important issue? Are results likely to change how people think about an issue? Will results influence management of a fisheries resource? Does the paper identify an emerging issue? Does the paper have applicability to future work? 

Originality: 25% 
The student developed a new or novel approach. The student used a conventional approach, but interjected some original thinking. The student used conventional approach, with no novel additions. 


Presentation: 25% 

Clarity – is the paper easily read and readily understood? Is the problem well developed? Are the methodologies and analyses sound? Does the discussion provide a good synthesis of new findings with current knowledge? 

Nomination must be accompanied by a copy of the paper (unless it is easily available on the internet) and a resume. Submit nominations to:

Chair: Frank Panek
AIFRB W.F. Thompson Award
Fishery and Aquatic Health Associates, LLC
PO Box 379
Inwood, WV  25428

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