Call for Distinguished Dissertation nominations

The 2016 CPHC/BCS Distinguished Dissertations competition is now open for submissions via the web site

Closing date Friday 1 April 2016.

The Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC), in conjunction with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, annually selects for publication the best British PhD/DPhil dissertations in computer

The scheme aims to make more visible the significant contribution made by the UK – in particular by post-graduate students – to computer science. Publication also serves to provide a model for future
students. The selection panel on behalf of BCS/CPHC consists of experienced computer scientists, not more than one from any institution, each normally serving on the panel for three years.

Any dissertation is eligible which is submitted for a doctorate in the British Isles in what is commonly understood as Computer Science. (Theses which are basically in some other discipline but which make use, even very extensive use, of computing will not be regarded as eligible.)  However, there is a limit of THREE dissertations per year per university, and one per research group within any university.

To be considered, a dissertation should:

  • make a noteworthy contribution to the subject;
  • reach a high standard of exposition;
  • place its results clearly in the context of computer science as a whole; and
  • enable a computer scientist with significantly different interests to grasp its essentials.

It is reasonable to submit a thesis to the scheme if it has all of the above qualities in good measure, and if it is comparable in standard with the top 10% of dissertations in the subject. Long dissertations are not encouraged; if the main text is more than 80,000 words, there should be good justification.

The dissertation should be submitted electronically (as a PDF file) by the author’s examiners, or by the Head of Department with the examiners’ advice. The submitted version of the dissertation must be the final version after any required corrections have been made. The competition period for the 2016 competition is for theses accepted from 1 January 2015 until the closing date of 1 April 2016. A dissertation cannot be submitted to the competition more than once.

The dissertation should be accompanied by a written nomination
comprising the following information:

  • a justification, of about 300 words, by one of the examiners – preferably the external – explaining the dissertation’s claim to distinction (against the criteria listed above);
  • the name of the primary supervisor and the research group within the university to which the student was primarily affiliated;
  • an assurance that within the competition period the examiners have recommended to the author’s institution that the doctorate should be awarded;
  • the names and contact details of three suggested reviewers who are not in the same Department as the nominated thesis and who are independent of the supervision and examining of the thesis; and
  • an indication should be given if the dissertation is being considered for publication elsewhere.

The nominated reviewers must have confirmed that they are willing to provide a review. In addition the author’s written agreement that their thesis may be considered for the Distinguished Dissertation competition should be emailed by the author to

Submissions should be made on-line via

The first author name submitted should be that of the thesis author; the individual submitting the nomination should list themselves as the second author. The title and abstract should be those of the thesis being nominated. The first file uploaded should be the 300 word nomination; the thesis document should be uploaded as an attachment.

If any problems are experienced, or you have any questions, please email for assistance.

The deadline for submission is 1 April 2016.

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