Poster awards

The poster is an important medium for scientific communication, allowing detailed, nuanced and extensive discussion between the presenter and the viewer.  Since 2006, ISHE has given awards for the best posters at Conferences and Summer Institutes.

The prize consists of:

  • US$100
  • Free 3 year membership in ISHE.
  • Waiving the conference (registration) fee to the next ISHE conference or Summer Institute if the person is presenting a paper or poster as first author.
  • An award certificate

Up to 4 awards will be made at each meeting.


All students who have not yet been awarded their doctorate are eligible to enter.  Entrants must be the first author of the poster.


At the same time as they submit their poster to the conference or summer school programme committee, applicants will indicate whether they wish to opt out of the competition, otherwise it is assumed that they wish to take part in the competition.  Presenters can opt out at any time up to the poster session itself.  Those who have opted out but change their mind must notify the Program Chair no less than three weeks before the poster session.

Once their poster is accepted for presentation, the presenter will be asked to email a copy of their poster to the chair of the awards committee so it arrives no less than 1 week before the beginning of the conference.

The presenter must be present to discuss their work during the poster session.

Criteria for evaluation

Judges appointed by the Officers and Trustees of ISHE will read the abstracts, look at the emailed posters, and discuss the posters with the presenters during the poster session.  If the number of posters is large, every judge may not see every poster, but at least three will.

The posters are judged on the following criteria:

Scientific quality

  • Clear description of the issues being researched.
  • Good knowledge of the relevant scholarly literature.
  • The study design fits the problem well, it reflects an appropriate level of sophistication in design/method.
  • The execution is competent.
  • Conclusion is soundly based on empirical findings.

Ethological relevance

  •  Does this research relate to directly observed behaviour in natural environments?  Research involving direct observation of behaviour in natural environments is particularly valued.
  • Is the research set within an ethological / evolutionary theoretical context?
  • Originality of topic/question, of the method.
  • Contribution to the field.
  • Quality of presentation and discussion.  Mastery of relevant issues: does the presenter really understand the issues in depth, including seeing the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas and methods.  [Allowance is made if the presenter is not a native English speaker.]
  • Clarity of poster and quality of poster appearance.

The judges confer and come to a consensus as to which presentation(s) will be given an award.

Winners are announced towards the end of the conference, usually at the banquet.