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The Institute of Internal Auditors North AmericaBreadcrumb SeparatorInternal Audit FoundationBreadcrumb SeparatorEsther R Sawyer Research Award

​Esther R. Sawyer Research Award

​The annual Esther R. Sawyer Research Award from the Internal Audit Foundation is granted to an individual currently enrolled as of September 1, 2017 in an undergraduate or graduate level program in internal auditing at an Internal Auditing Education Partnership (IAEP) university. Individuals who were enrolled as of September 1, 2017 but have completed their course work in an internal auditing program at an IAEP university by March 30, 2018 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:

  • US $5,000 to the recipient.
  • 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's International Conference.

Submissions are due by March 1, 2018. The Award Committee notified IAEP universities of the selected essay topic at the IAEP Leadership Retreat in September 2017.

2018 Competition Topic

Assessing Governance – internal audit’s role in reviewing the top of the organization.

  • What happens when the structure or practices of governance are the problem?
  • What ruler should internal audit be using to “assess” and “advise” governance, and can internal audit overstep its role?
  • How does internal audit manage the delicate political balance in proposing, participating in, and reporting on a governance assessment where they are effectively reviewing their boss?

Background

The Internal Audit 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 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.

Eligibility

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

  • Participation in an IIA IAEP school:
    • Is currently enrolled in or has recently completed the IAEP program curricula, or
    • The candidate is taking internal audit courses at the undergraduate level at a school/university in The IIA’s IAEP program, or
    • The candidate is enrolled in a graduate program in internal auditing, accounting, or business and taking courses in internal auditing at a school/university in The IIA’s IAEP program, or
    • The candidate has complete his/her course work in an internal auditing program at school/university in The IIA’s IAEP program 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 chosen by Esther R. Sawyer Research Award Committee and related to the modern practice of internal auditing. New topics are announced annually by the committee.
  • Prior recipients of the award are not eligible.

Nature of the Award

The award will be presented at The IIA's annual International Conference.

The Esther R. Sawyer Research Award includes first, second, and third place winners.

The award is based on submission of an original manuscript on a specific topic related to modern internal auditing.

The first place winner award includes:

  • The first place recipient will receive US $5,000 and an inscribed plaque.
  • 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.
  • Registration and travel expenses for the recipient to attend The IIA's International Conference in the year of the award.
  • No monetary compensation other than the award will be offered to the recipient should he/she be unable to attend the International Conference the year of the award.
  • The chosen manuscript will be published on The IIA's website and may be submitted to Internal Auditor magazine to be considered for publication.

The second place winner award includes:

  • US $1,000 to the recipient.
  • US $500 to the IIA-endorsed school with which the student is affiliated.
  • No travel or other benefits shall be provided.

The third place winner award includes:

  • US $500 to the recipient.
  • US $500 to the IIA-endorsed school with which the student is affiliated.
  • No travel or other benefits shall be provided.

Only one submission per student will be accepted, but students from the same IAEP program can theoretically win first, second, and/or third prize (the papers are blind reviewed).

The IAEP programs with which the second and third place winners are associated will be awarded US $500; however, only one award per university (first, second, or third place) will be made if students are from the same school.

There is no obligation to make these awards. They will be given based on merit.

For any questions, please contact the Internal Audit Foundation directly at foundation@theiia.org.

Funding

The award will be funded through distributions from a restricted fund of the Foundation. 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 US$3,000. Future years awards are based on the earnings of the fund.

Award Committee

  • The Award Committee will consist of a chairman and at least three members. The chairman will be the chairman of The IIA Academic Relations Committee (ARC). The members will be equally divided between the three committees, the Academic Relations Committee, the Communications Advisory Committee (PAC), and the Committee of Research and Education Advisors (CREA). Members will be selected by the chairman of each committee.
  • The Award Committee will select the essay topic by August 15th 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 Internal Audit Foundation Board of Trustees will be responsible for overseeing the administration of the award fund, and will work with the Award Committee.

Submission Requirements and Rules

Submissions are due on March 1 of each year in a format to be established by the committee. An email from the IAEP coordinator of the candidate’s school/university must accompany the submission. One email per university verifying the eligibility of all students submitting papers is acceptable.
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Responsiveness to the assigned research topic.
  • Relevance to readers familiar with internal audit issues.
  • Originality.
  • Coherent organization and clarity.
  • Conciseness and focus.
  • Appropriate application of English.
  • Submissions must not refer to schools or professors unless it is an acknowledgement on the author page.
  • Content cannot be part of or a duplication of required course work.
  • Educators should not provide specific direction on how to research the topic or critique of the research papers. Students must work independently.

Entries must follow the style and formatting requirements outlined in the Internal Audit Foundation 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.

The Internal Audit Foundation is under no obligation to make the award in any year if submissions are deemed to fail to meet the criteria. This is at the sole discretion of the Esther R. Sawyer Research Award Committee.

For complete details, visit www.theiia.org/foundation and select Grants and Awards, or email foundation@theiia.org.

Submission Requirements and Rules: Educator Involvement

  • The level of Educator / IAEP Coordinator involvement with a student researcher should not have direct influence on the researcher’s project. Student researchers must work independently. This is to maintain a level of program independence. Educators should not provide specific direction on how to research the published topic or critique of the research papers.
  • The Award Committee agreed to move forward the date for release of future Award topics to August 15th to coordinate with the beginning of the new school year. To remain consistent with the request that educators should not critique the research papers, the topic should not be included as required coursework.

Please submit applications to be received by the Foundation by March 1 of each year to foundation@theiia.org

For more information, please email foundation@theiia.org or fax +1-407-937-1101.

Previous Award Winners

​View previous award winners and their papers