Student Delegate Conference Prize

NB: The call is now open for submissions for the 2024 MSA Student Prize. Submissions should follow the guidelines below and be emailed to MSA Grants and Awards Co-Chair Dr John Phillips (at by 5pm AEDT Tuesday, 18 November 2024.


1.1. Preamble

1.1.1. Where funds are available, up to three cash prizes may be awarded to recognise excellence in the research endeavour as demonstrated by Student Members presenting at the National Conference. The successful submissions and their presentation will exhibit academic merit of a standard that distinguishes them from the submissions of other applicants. The prize/s recognise original contributions to musicological research.

1.1.2. The Prizes shall be entitled: ‘1st/2nd/3rd Prize for a Student Delegate at the [insert appropriate Year] National Conference of the MSA’.

1.1.3. It is recommended that the recipients of these Prizes be listed perpetually in publications of the MSA, for instance the Newsletter and the MSA website.

1.2. Procedures

1.2.1. At least six weeks before the relevant National Conference, the Awards Committee Chairperson will invite student delegates whose proposals have been accepted for the forthcoming National Conference to submit an application.

1.2.2. Submissions considered for the Prize must be received by 5pm on the day that is one week and one day before relevant National Conference commencement date.

1.2.3. Submissions for the Prizes must be provided in Microsoft Word or PDF format. This document must include the following items in the following order title name of the applicant and contact details, institution, course and principal supervisor, abstract of the scholarly work text of presentation (maximum 2500 words – see 1.6 Further Guidance) bibliography of works cited.

1.3. Adjudication Criteria

The criteria for judging submissions are divided into two main components. A sample scoring sheet based on these criteria is given as Appendix C of the MSA Operational Manual. The criteria are as follows:

1.3.1. Scholarly content and argument (75% of assessment; to be assessed before conference) Academic merit shall be determined according to the contribution the submitted piece makes to its field(s) either in terms of new findings or new readings of existing knowledge (50%). The submitted piece shall be assessed for clarity and method. It should be well-structured, factual, make ethical use of sources through appropriate acknowledgement, and employ language in a suitable and effective way (25%). The Awards Committee may refer submissions to expert readers only if it believes it is required for purposes of assessing the submission according to the criterion set out in section 3.1.1.

1.3.2. Presentation (25% of assessment; to be assessed at conference). at least one member from the Committee shall assess each applicant’s presentation and report his or her findings to the committee. The applicant shall deliver her or his presentation in a clear and effective manner. In addition to the manner of delivery, the relevance and substance of audio and visual aids and examples, or performances where appropriate should be considered herein. The presentation shall adhere to the permitted timeframe as set down by the National Conference Organising Committee, e.g. 20 minutes with 10 minutes of questions. The ability of the presenter to adequately address questions at the end of their presentation in an informed and coherent manner shall be considered when appropriate. The Awards Committee shall determine the manner in which components listed in 3.2.2 to 3.2.4 are scored.

1.3.3. To assist in the numerical ranking of all submissions, a scoring sheet should be completed by each Awards Committee Member and used as the basis for the determination of the Prize. Each Awards Committee should agree as to the format of the scoring sheet. An example of such a sheet is provided as Attachment A in the MSA Operations Manual.

1.3.4. In the case of tied scores, a vote by the Awards Committee shall determine the final outcome.

1.3.5. All determinations of the Awards Committee are final. There shall be no recourse to review or appeal on its findings.

1.4. Eligibility

1.4.1. Past recipients of the Prize are ineligible for any subsequent Prize.

1.4.2. The student must be a Student Member at the time their scholarly work is considered and the Prize is awarded.

1.4.3. The Prize is open to candidates enrolled in a program of supervised research at a recognised Australian or New Zealand institution of Higher Education or Australian or New Zealand citizens studying overseas in non-Australian institutions of higher education. Foreign citizens studying at a non-Australian or non-New Zealand institution of Higher Education are ineligible for the Prize.

1.4.4. The submission must be presented at the conference and only the version of the scholarly work that is actually presented at the conference is eligible for consideration.

1.4.5. The submission shall not have already been presented at another national or international conference, and shall not represent research that has already been published by the author.

1.4.6. Providing that the research presented by the Student represents their own work, the Awards Committee may grant an exception to the requirement that the paper contains only the author’s name where convention dictates that additional individuals would normally be credited as co-authors out of ethical or conventional considerations, e.g. supervisors or traditional owners.

1.5. Outcomes and Notification

1.5.1. The Awards Committee reserves the right not to award any or all of the Prizes if submissions lack sufficient overall merit.

1.5.2. The Chair of the Awards Committee or a nominated representative shall announce the winner/s on behalf of the National Executive at the Conference closing ceremony. In years when no Prize is awarded, the non-award of the Prize shall be noted at the Annual General Meeting.

1.5.3. The Winners will be announced via a posting to the News section of the MSA Website and by email to the MSA List.

1.6. Further Guidance for applicants

1.6.1. Total presentation time may not exceed 20 minutes, therefore the text submitted should not exceed 2500 words (i.e. it should be read at 125 words per minute) The total number of words should be adjusted down appropriately if media files are to be played, or musical examples, graphics or tables are to be explained extempore.

1.6.2. The scholarly content (research, argumentation, written style) of the submission is a major component in assessing potential winners. For this reason, a PowerPoint file is not acceptable as the submitted document.

1.6.3. The size of embedded graphic or media files should be minimised, assuming their inclusion is essential. Insert them at the relevant place in the document you upload. Do not include photos (for example, of composers), other graphics or media files unless they are integral to your argument.

1.6.4. While the paper presented at the conference must be essentially the same as the document submitted, minor revisions are permitted; it is also permissible to ‘read to’ the paper submitted by way of your presentation.

Submissions that do not comply with the above requirements will not be considered.