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U.S. National Committee for URSI

Travel Fellowships and Paper Competitions

Encouraging and increasing the involvement of graduate students and young scientists in radio science is a high priority of the USNC-URSI. Every full-time student at a U.S. university who is the primary author and presenter on an accepted paper is eligible to receive a travel award to attend the January National Radio Science Meeting in Boulder, Colorado. Every year, the USNC-URSI provides travel awards to approximately 100 students. The USNC also provides travel fellowships for students at U.S. universities to present papers at the periodic North American Radio Science Meetings (NARS).

The Ernest K. Smith Student Paper Competition is organized at each National Radio Science Meeting. Papers are reviewed by representatives of the 10 USNC-URSI commissions and the top three authors are invited to present their research at a special plenary session. Awards are given for First Prize ($1000), Second Prize ($750), and Third Prize ($500).

Funding for the student travel fellowships is provided by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office, and USNC/URSI meeting funds.  Information on the student travel support program and the student paper competition is available when registering for the National Radio Science Meeting.  Please visit the conference website at

2014 Ernest K. Smith Student Paper Competition Winners

First Prize: Simulating Hypervelocity Impact Plasmas and their Effects on Spacecraft (Commission H)
Alexander Fletcher - Sigrid Close (Advisor)
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University - Stanford, CA

Second Prize: Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of a Novel Wideband Transceiver with On-Site Coding (Commission B)
Elias A. Alwan and Waleed Khalil - John L. Volakis (Advisor)
ElectroScience Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH

Third Prize: A Novel Method to Analyze Ionospheric Measurements Made by a Non-Uniformly Contaminated Langmuir Probe On-board a Sounding Rocket (Commission H)
Padmashri Suresh - Charles M. Swenson (Advisor)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Utah State University - Logan, UT

Photo of 2014 Ernest K. Smith Student Paper Competition (left to right): Steven Reising, Padmashri Suresh, Charles M. Swenson, Elias A. Alwan, John Volakis, Alexander Fletcher, Sigrid Close, and Danilo Erricolo (Chair of Student Paper Competition) 

Young Scientists

The USNC-URSI sponsors several international URSI awards and prizes presented triennially at the URSI General Assembly.  The support for these awards and prizes comes from private funds:

  • The Booker Gold Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to telecommunications or a related discipline.
  • The Booker Fellowship is awarded to an outstanding young American researcher and covers travel to an URSI General Assembly.
  • The Dellinger Gold Medal is awarded for outstanding achievement in any of the branches of radio science covered by the URSI commissions.
  • The Santimay Basu Prize is awarded for a prominent early career in the field.




This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number AST-1265767. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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