Frequently Asked Questions

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Awards include money, publication, networking opportunities, and a public showcase

1.     How many awards will be given?

  • Up to 5 prizes of $2000 each will be awarded. 

2.     When are awards made?

  •  Winners will be selected in spring 2017.

3.      Are there any conditions to the prize money?

  • Winners are expected to work with the Center for New York City Affairs to edit their work for publication on the Center’s website and are also expected to present their work at a Spring 2017 public event.  The prize will be paid out in two installments – $1000 upon selection and $1000 after making any required edits to the work and participating in the event.

4.     What does publication mean?

  • The Center for New York City Affairs will publish the work on its website and distribute it to its mailing list.  The work may be published as a video, blog, policy report or other suitable format to be negotiated with the winner.  Please see the Center’s website for samples of its work.  The New School may also elect to publish the work on its platforms. 

5.      What and when is this showcase?

  • The showcase will be an event for the winners to present their projects to an audience of peers, academics, and local experts. This will be a unique opportunity to network and receive feedback from a range of individuals in the field. The event will be held in spring 2017.
  • This will be a two-part event. Winners will participate on a panel through which they will present their work. Winners and finalists will be invited to present their projects through a more informal, expo-like format. 


1.     Can students from any program/school apply?

  • Yes, this contest is open to all current students at the university. We hope to receive work from students from a range of programs such as Parsons, Lang, Milano, NSSR, Media Studies, Mannes, and Jazz.

2.     Can I apply if I plan to graduate in December?

  • Yes, students must be enrolled during fall 2016 to be eligible.  Winners are committing to editing their work and must be available to participate in a spring 2017 showcase at The New School.  

3.     What if my submission is a group project/ collaborative idea?

  • Group projects are eligible for submission. Collaboration is one of the criteria that the judges will use rate the projects.  Awards are per project.  The maximum prize per project is $2000.  Multiple authors would be expected to share any prize awarded.  

Submissions: Types of work/projects

1.     Can I submit a project that was done for a class?

  • Yes, we expect to receive some projects that were generated from class assignments.

2.     Should the project address issues that are only specific to NYC?

  • We are particularly looking for projects that pertain to social/ economic challenges facing the city. The problem may include a broad range of actors within and outside of the city (e.g. environmental issues), but they should aim to address (and counter) the challenges it creates for communities in NYC.

3.     How complete should my project be? What if it is still being worked on?

  • We expect to receive a fully developed project/prototype. Judges will assess your work product – not simply a proposed idea. The project should be in its final stages of development, and should not require many edits for publication/public consideration.

4.     What is the page limitation for research papers/ essays/ reports/ dissertation submissions?

  • Judges will assess your work based on up to 15 pages. If your work is lengthier, you should submit an excerpt from the longer version. We may ask for the full version of your project, if necessary.

5.     Can my project submission be an existing idea that I’ve already completed?

  • Yes. We would like to receive projects that present completed work.

6.     Can I submit my dissertation or a journal article?

  • Yes, we are interested in rigorous research.  Authors must be willing to present their work during the showcase. This may be presented as a powerpoint presentation, a poster, or any other accessible format.

7.     Can I submit a client project?

  • Yes. Criteria include relevance of work to a broader topic or audience – so client-based work is welcome so long as it is not so specific or narrow that it would not benefit a larger audience.  If a specific client is mentioned the author must receive permission to make the work public. 

8.     What are some examples of eligible submissions?

  • We expect to receive a broad range of submissions. They can be research papers or reports. They can also be creative projects such as media projects, photo essays, or poetry collections. The projects should be well-documented ventures that contribute thought-provoking, cutting-edge approaches to social challenges facing NYC.
  • Examples could include:
    •  A research paper evaluating the impact of legal representation for low-income tenants facing eviction in housing court.
    • A documentary or short film portraying the environmental challenges facing low-income communities in the city.
    • A report on the impact of mass incarceration on a community in NYC.
    • A collaboration with a local organization in NYC to design clothing for individuals with physical disabilities.
    • A collection of poems by low-wage hotel workers.

Criteria and judging process

1. What is the evaluation criteria?

  • Each submission will be read by three judges and assigned an average score.  Top scorers will be considered finalists.  The five winning submissions will be selected by an executive committee from the pool of finalists.  The judges will rate the submissions on the following criteria:
    • Problem Identification
    • Research Methodology
    • Quality of Work Product
    • Potential for Social impact
    • Collaboration

2. Who are the judges?

  • Judges are expected to include staff and faculty from The New School, policymakers, nonprofit leaders, and other experts. Judges may or may not have expertise in your specific topic area or craft. 

3. What if my idea is not a research paper? How will I be rated on the research design criterion?

  • The application form or the submission itself should clearly describe a thesis, understanding of the issue, the field, and how the work contributes to our understanding of a topic.

4.    How will you judge creative work?

  • Creative work is expected to contribute to a fresh idea or relevant understanding of a topic. Work must also succeed on a creative, aesthetic, or emotional level. Judges will include those from a variety of backgrounds, so they will be able to evaluate a range of different projects. It is expected that creative works, such as creative writing, music, or short films will be evaluated by experts in those areas.