Call for “Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Michael Harpold Dissertation Award”

Call for: “Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Michael Harpold Dissertation Award 2022-2023”

Competition for outstanding PhD theses. Application deadline: February 29th, 2024

Prizes will be awarded for up to 2 outstanding doctoral dissertations. Each recipient will receive an honorarium of Euro 1000. The topic of the dissertation must be in the field of Down syndrome research.


Participation in the 2022-2023 competition is limited to candidates who obtained the PhD during the period January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023. Applicants must be members of T21RS at least six months before the Thesis defense and when the prize is awarded ( Candidates should attend the award ceremony held at the biennial T21RS International Conference and should write a brief essay about their Thesis for the T21RS bulletin.

Required documentation

Documentation must be submitted in English and PDF format exclusively by e-mail to and cc to Fiorenza Stagni ( and Marco Emili (

The candidates must state their current position and provide full mailing address, e-mail, and telephone number.

Candidates must also include in the application:

  1. Dissertation Summary Page
  2. A short description of the dissertation research and its conclusions, written by the nominee. Format requirements: up to 2 double-spaced pages with 12-point font, each page bearing the nominee’s name and page number. Minimal appendices containing non textual material, such as charts or tables, may be included in addition to the 2 pages.
  3. Brief (3-page) curriculum vitae highlighting:
  4. education
  5. honors and publications
  6. PhD Certificate issued by the University
  7. A reference letter from the dissertation advisor. The dissertation advisor must be member of T21RS at the time of submission ( The letter should comment on:
  8. the originality and importance of the research
  9. the potential for significant contribution to the field of Down syndrome research.
  10. A copy of the full dissertation (PDF format).

Evaluation committee

Members of the Evaluation Committee will be members of T21RS. In compliance with the Trisomy 21 Research Society’s conflict of interest policy, participation in the Evaluation Committee is forbidden for members whose collaborators will apply for this competition.

The decision of the Committee shall be final, with no possible appeal. The Evaluation Committee reserves the right to assign a number of prizes lower than the number foreseen, or no prizes if the applications received will not be considered worthy of this Award. Applicants will be notified by 15 April, 2024. Registration will be waived for the 5th T21RS International Conference (Rome, Italy, June 5-8 2024) following the award and the winners will be asked to present their main findings at this meeting.

Evaluation criteria

The following aspects will be considered for the evaluation of PhD theses:

Originality and innovative character: The doctoral dissertation must present novel and original data in the field of Down syndrome and demonstrate the use of innovative approaches. The rationale and the aims of the dissertation must be clearly defined and conceptualized in relation to the state-of-the-art.

Research methodology: The methodology including experimental methods, techniques and statistical analyses must be rigorous, properly motivated and appropriate in relation to the objectives of the research work.

Presentation of the results: the results obtained must be clearly and logically presented and they must be impactful in the field of Down syndrome.

Presentation of the conclusions: the conclusions must be complete, clear, and consistent with the state-of-the-art and the results obtained.

The publication of the PhD thesis work in peer-reviewed scientific journals will be considered an additional value.