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Undergraduate Awards

The Rick Riolo Undergraduate Research Prize

The Rick Riolo Undergraduate Research Prize is awarded for an outstanding research project in the field of complex systems in the amount of $1000. All current UM undergraduates are eligible and can self nominate [with faculty sponsor signature] or be nominated by any member of the CSCS community. The project can be a senior thesis, a research paper, a conference paper or poster, a class project, a UROP project, an empirical analysis, or the development of a computational or mathematical model.   

The breadth of criteria aligns with the intellectual openness of Rick Riolo. An expert in evolutionary modeling and genetic programming, Rick authored more than 80 papers in a variety of fields using a range of computational and analytic techniques.

Rick also spent decades teaching complex systems theory and the craft and science of agent-based modeling.  Rick was among the most visible and influential researchers, mentors, and instructors in the interdisciplinary field of complex adaptive systems. Rick made time for everyone and encouraged exploratory research.

Rick’s many friends, colleagues, and students have endowed this prize in his honor with the hope that it will encourage students to ask deep questions, experiment with new tools and methodologies, and be guided by a desire for understanding absent disciplinary constraints.


Award Criteria: recipients must be undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan. 

Application Due Date: Nominations are due the second Monday in October at midnight and can be emailed to The award is decided by the Complex Systems Voting Faculty and the award winner will be announced the second Monday in November. 

Award Amount: $1,000

Number Awarded: One award per year to an individual or a group

Application Format: Nominations take the form of a one paragraph description of the project's origin and contribution to knowledge along with a copy of the project for evaluation. All submissions will need a faculty sponsor signature.

Types of Submissions: Senior thesis, research paper, conference paper or poster,  class project, UROP project, empirical analysis, or the development of a computational or mathematical model. Include the date and title of the work.