Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In
The Institute of Internal Auditors North AmericaBreadcrumb SeparatorAbout UsBreadcrumb SeparatorEsther R Sawyer Research Award

​Esther R. Sawyer Research Award

The annual Esther R. Sawyer Research Award from The IIA Research Foundation is granted to an individual currently enrolled by September 1 in an undergraduate or graduate level program in internal auditing at an Internal Auditing Education Partnership (IAEP) university. Individuals who have completed their course work in an internal auditing program at an IAEP university by March 30 of the submission year are also welcome to participate. The award is based on submission of an original manuscript on a specific topic related to modern internal auditing. The award includes:

  • Up to US $5,000 to the recipient.
  • Up to US $3,000 to the IIA-endorsed school with which the student is affiliated.
  • Registration and travel expenses for the recipient to attend The IIA International Conference.

Submissions are due by March 1 of each year. The Award Committee notifies IAEP universities of the selected essay topic by September 1 of each year.

2014 Competition Topic

Defining Success of the Chief Audit Executive (CAE)
Describe the primary organizational stakeholders (for example, the audit committee), and the likely expectations and measurement criteria of each for the CAE, in which success is essential for the CAE. Define a successful CAE and discuss the primary knowledge, skills, abilities, and traits that the CAE must possess in order to be not only qualified for success, but also to have a high probability of success. What are the controls that could help mitigate risk and ensure success for the CAE in working with each of the stakeholders and considering organization/industry impact?


The IIA Research Foundation Board of Trustees established this award in June 2000 as a tribute to the memory of Esther R. Sawyer and her contributions to and support of the profession of internal auditing. The award was funded through a generous contribution to The IIA Research Foundation by the Sawyer family. Although Esther Sawyer was not an internal auditor, she was a gracious ambassador who enjoyed explaining the role of modern internal auditing to those she met. She also edited manuscripts, speeches, and textbooks on the subject. She was an advocate for internal audit curricula in colleges and universities and promoted internal auditing as a lifetime career.


The Award will be granted to an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • Participation in an IIA IAEP school:
    • The candidate is taking internal audit courses at the undergraduate level at an IIA IAEP university, or
    • The candidate is enrolled in a graduate program in internal auditing, accounting or business and taking courses in internal auditing at an IIA IAEP university, or
    • The candidate has completed his/her course work in an internal auditing program at an IAEP university before March 30 of the submission year.
  • The candidate has written and submitted an original manuscript of 3,000 to 5,000 words on a specific topic related to modern internal auditing. This topic will be announced annually by the Award Committee.
  • Prior recipients of the award are not eligible.

Award Committee

  • The Award Committee will consist of a chairman and three members. The chairman will be the chairman of The IIA Academic Relations Committee. The members will be one each from the Academic Relations Committee, the Communications Advisory Committee, and the IIARF Committee of Research and Education Advisors. Members will be selected by the chairman of each committee.
  • The Award Committee will select the essay topic by September each year and publicize it to the IAEP schools and other interested parties.
  • Committee members and the chairman must not be involved in any capacity with any IAEP school from which submissions have been received. In the event of a conflict involving the committee chairman, the president of the Board of Trustees will appoint a replacement.
  • The IIARF Board of Trustees will be responsible for overseeing the administration of the award fund, and will work with the Award Committee.

Selection Process

Submissions will be due on March 1 of each year, in a format to be established by the committee. An e-mail from the IAEP coordinator must accompany the submission. One e-mail per university verifying student eligibility of all students submitting papers is acceptable.

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Responsiveness to the assigned research topic
    • Relevance to readers who are familiar with internal audit issues
    • Originality
    • Coherent organization and clarity
    • Conciseness and focus
    • Appropriate application of English
  • Entries must follow the style and formatting requirements outlined in The IIARF's Guide for Writers. Work of other authors must be cited appropriately in the manuscript or footnotes and/or written permissions acquired to use copyrighted material. Failure to appropriately cite sources will result in disqualification of the submission.
  • There is no obligation to make the award in any year.

Nature of the Award

The award will be presented at The IIA's annual International Conference.
  • The recipient will receive the sum of up to US $5,000 and a suitably inscribed plaque. The winner's name will also be inscribed on a permanent plaque at IIA Global Headquarters.
  • Up to US $3,000 will be awarded to the IAEP program with which the student is or was affiliated. The funds must be used in the IAEP program or for the purchase of materials related to internal auditing.
  • Reasonable travel expenses incurred by the student to attend and registration to the International Conference will be paid to the recipient. No monetary compensation other than the award will be offered to the recipient should he/she be unable to attend the International Conference.
  • The chosen manuscript will be published on The IIA Research Foundation website and may be submitted to Internal Auditor magazine to be considered for publication.


The award will be funded through distributions from a restricted fund of The IIA Research Foundation. At a minimum, US $5,000 will be granted to the student, plus reimbursement of reasonable travel and registration expenses to the conference at which the award is presented. The amount to the school will be based on the earnings of the fund, up to a maximum of US $3,000.

Please submit applications to be received by IIARF by March 1 of each year to

For more information, please e-mail or fax +1-407-937-1101.

Previous Award Winners

​View previous award winners and their papers