ADS Thesis Awards

The ADS Thesis Awards aim to promote excellence in Data Science and AI from students at the Bachelor and Master level in all Amsterdam-based knowledge institutes. The call for nominations is now open! The deadline for nominations is 15th September 2020 22nd September 2020.

Amsterdam Data Science (ADS) is seeking nominations for the inaugural ADS Thesis Award 2020 for the academic year 2019-2020. Winners of the awards will receive a cash prize sponsored by Elsevier, Prosus and ADS, as well as present their thesis work at the ADS Highlight Event in December.

We are looking for thesis nominations that present exciting and innovative work in the area of Data Science and/or AI research. We take a broad view of applicable research, including, but not limited to:

  • computer systems
  • artificial intelligence
  • data management
  • life sciences
  • social sciences
  • digital humanities
  • business intelligence and processes

We specifically encourage nominations for thesis work by women and underrepresented minorities. The work will be evaluated by members of the selection committee who will be affiliated with the ADS Gold Partners (to be announced).

The goals of the ADS Thesis Award are to:

  1. Reward and champion high-quality thesis work;
  2. Promote women and underrepresented minorities and encourage them to continue their education;
  3. Encourage diversity in Data Science and AI research;
  4. Advance Amsterdam and the ADS network as an innovation hub by showcasing excellent theses.

Nominate now!

Important Dates

Submission Deadline: September 15th, 2020 September 22nd, 2020
Award Decision: A minimum of 3 weeks before the ADS Highlights Event (Nov 15th, 2020)
Award Ceremony: ADS Highlights Event, December, 2020

Classes of the Award

The awards for the best theses are given in the two categories, BSc and MSc. Both categories have two awards each (a total of four awards), where at least one of the winners (out of the two) in both, BSc and Msc categories must be a woman or someone from an underrepresented minority. Each award is accompanied by a cash prize sponsored by Elsevier, Prosus and ADS, and a certificate given at the annual ADS Highlight event (held in December). The winners will have the opportunity to present their thesis work at the ADS Highlight event.

Evaluation Criteria

All thesis submissions will be judged on how they advance Data Science and/or AI through:

  1. Innovative scientific and technical contributions;
  2. High societal and economical impact from the findings and results of the thesis;
  3. Promotion of open science via FAIR data principles, and the availability of high-quality open-source code, results, traces, frameworks, etc.

Eligibility and the Selection Process

Eligibility criteria are: 

  1. The thesis work must have been supervised and supported by a faculty member of one of the ADS university partners (AUAS (HvA), UvA, or VU).
  2. The thesis must have been completed in the preceding 18 months before the submission deadline. Hence, for this cycle, it must have been completed between March 16th, 2019 and September 15th 2020.

The thesis supervisor will directly nominate the thesis with an accompanying letter articulating its merits. 

We specifically encourage nominations for thesis work by women and underrepresented minorities. We take a broad and diverse view which includes (but not limited to) race, gender, different abilities, socioeconomic, cultural, and immigration backgrounds.

Should your nominated candidate fall within these groups please provide a paragraph within your nomination letter stating as such.

The required documents for a valid nomination are:

  1. The thesis (PDF), including:
    – name of the student and the supervisor
    – the official date of completion or defense
  2. One page nomination letter (PDF), mentioning:
    – the grade of the thesis
    – the percentile in the course
    – how the thesis meets the evaluation criteria (see above for criteria)
    – if your candidate falls within an underrepresented group

The supervisor of the thesis should upload these two documents as a single PDF in the submission portal.

The selection committee will follow a conference paper-style reviewing process to evaluate the submitted thesis nominations. Each submission will be evaluated and scored by a subset of the members of the selection committee, with at least one or more of them being an expert in the field of the thesis. The selection committee will inform the steering committee and the ADS management of the award winners three weeks before the ADS Highlight event.

If the selection committee lacks expertise in a specific area, they will ask additional external expert members to evaluate the nominations.

If you have any questions or remarks then please contact the chair of the Steering committee, Animesh Trivedi (

Nominate now!

Steering Committee


  • Paola Grosso (IvI, UvA)
  • Evangelos Kanoulas (ABS/IvI, UvA)
  • Animesh Trivedi (CS, VU) – Chair
  • Katrien de Witte (FDMCI/CoE AAI, HvA)

Selection Committee


  • Ana Lucia Varbanescu (IvI, UvA) – Chair
  • Pascal Wiggers (CoE AAI, HvA)
  • Stevan Rudinac (ABS, UvA)
  • Charlotte Gerritsen (CS, VU)
  • Svitlana Vakulenko (IvI, UvA)
  • Ruben Daniël Stam (CoE AAI, HvA)
  • Tobias Kuhn (CS, VU)
  • Lin Wang (CS, VU)
  • Lars Lischke (CS, VU)
  • Jacobijn Sandberg (IvI, UvA)
  • Iris Groen (IvI, UvA)
  • Emma Beauxis-Aussalet (DSS, HvA)
  • Pieter Bon (CoE AAI, HvA)