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The Video Research Awards (VRA) is a video presentation competition for undergraduate research students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Why should students enter?

  • Students participating in undergraduate research need to be able to communicate effectively about their work, even as they move on from UAB and head out into their careers.
  • Our office wants to help UAB students present their ideas and tell their stories to people in their respective fields and elsewhere.
  • First place: $1,000, second and third place: $500.

Why videos? Short videos are great communication style in today's world of social media, and short presentations are similar to giving a TED talk. Both of these styles are great for talking about your research and why it matters, without overwhelming your audience.

What are the Spring 2024 Deadlines?

  • April 8: Deadline for VRA Interest Form
  • April 15, 2024: Videos must be uploaded to Canvas
  • April 15-17, 2024: Public voting on Canvas
  • April 18-19, 2024: Voting by judges

How it Works

  • Students create two-minute videos summarizing their research.
  • The community votes and the top vote getters move to the second round.
  • The top three students selected by a panel.

Who Can Enter?

Any UAB undergraduate student involved in research in any major. Individual projects or projects you have completed with a professor or inside a lab are eligible. Group projects are also eligible if you follow the group project checklist:

  • Ensure everyone involved with your project agrees to enter the competition.
  • Before entering, students must agree on how the award money will be divided among members of the group.

How to Submit a Video

Submit your initial submission form by April 7. You are responsible for the creation and upload your video to Expo canvas by April 17. There are no format restrictions — you can talk directly to the camera, discuss you work with another person, or even use graphics and animations to make the video visually appealing.

Judging is based on:

  • The hook: Does the student get the audience's attention and make them want to learn more?
  • The narrative: Does the student tell a story of their methods, or where they are going as a researcher?
  • Merit and quality: Do the research methods suggest rigorous or creative work?
  • Accessibility: Is the student targeting a general audience?


Public voting will occur via Canvas from April 17 through 19. Then a panel of judges will score the top six videos and choose winners.

Video Tips and How-Tos

You can gain insight on how to create a winning video by watching the winners of previous VRA competitions, as well as videos from undergraduate researchers at other universities. You can also explore these resources for guidance:

 Past Videos

2021 Winning Videos

Cindy Nguyen

FIRST PLACE: Cindy Nguyen, "The Epigenetic Effects of Exercise on a Rodent Model of TLE"

Dante James

SECOND PLACE: Dante James, "Entropy Production of a Single Driven Qubit"

Ryleigh Flemming

THIRD PLACE: Ryleigh Flemming, "Breaking the Barries of Traditional Service Learning in a Pandemic"

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