Mahowald Early Career Award

The Mahowald Early Career Award (MECA) recognizes an exceptionally talented individual student, as Misha Mahowald was. 

The Award will be made for an innovative project that addresses a significant problem in the domain of neuromorphic engineering or related problems in neuroscience or neural computation. In their submission, candidates must make a convincing case for why their project fulfills this criterion.

The winner receives a framed certificate, USD 2000 for their private use, and a guaranteed participation seat at their choice of either the CapoCaccia or Telluride neuromorphic engineering workshop (Note that costs of participation in these workshops are not covered by the Award, but are expected to be covered by the student's home lab. ).

How to Submit



A description of the project achievements of maximum 2 A4/Letter sized pages using minimum 9 point font, including all bibliographic or other references. Include the following information:

Send the document as a hyperlinked PDF file (max. size 4 MB) to Please include "MECA" in the subject line.

Submissions that do not conform to the eligibility criteria and submission instructions will not be considered. 

When to submit

Submission is always open. The deadline for the MECA is the same as for the Misha Mahowald Prize; and the presentation of the MECA will coincide with that of the MMP. However, in order to be eligible, you may submit your application anytime before the deadline. If you have completed your PhD, then the last possible submission date is 365 days after the award date of your PhD.

Frequently asked questions about the MECA

How are MECA submissions evaluated?

See Jury & Evaluation.

What is the maximum size of the team?

Strictly One. The submission must be individual. The MECA cannot guarantee participation in the neuromorphic workshop for more than one person. You are encouraged to credit supervisors, collaborators, and other contributors in your submission and prize acceptance, and we will list them as such in the prize award page.

Applicants presenting work performed as part of a team must clearly outline their individual contribution, or alternatively, apply as a team for the Misha Mahowald award

Can I self-nominate?

You must. All submissions must come from the individual.

Can I nominate someone else’s work?

No, see above.

What is the cutoff date for my submission?

In case you have completed your PhD, you must submit your MECA application within one year (365 days) of the award date (not thesis submission date) of your PhD degree. The award date is the date you officially passed your PhD examination according to your institution. Your submission will rest with us until the MMP deadline, after which the evaluation will begin. Students who have not yet completed a PhD are not subject to this time limit.

Is this a career achievement award?

No. The MECA prize will be given for the best single project submitted by an individual.

What types of entries can be submitted?

Entries are most likely to fall into one or more of the following categories:

The entry may be a summary of one or a body of related published or unpublished paper(s), or a description of a project, product or service. The submission is not a proposal for work to be done, it is a description of the achievements of work already completed.

My project is “small” – do I have a chance of winning?

Every project will be considered on its own merits, regardless of the development budget.

My project is not completed – can I submit?

Projects can be submitted even if they are still in progress. They will be judged according to the results achieved at the time of submission.

What is the maximum submission length?

See instructions above. You are free to include external references.  The jury members are busy people, so it is in your interests to make your entry as readable and easy to evaluate as possible.

Are re-submissions allowed?

If a submission is not selected for the MECA, it may be resubmitted in updated form in any future year, providing you still meet the eligibility criteria. Any submission that wins the prize once will not be eligible for future prizes, in either original or updated form. However, it is possible for a student to win the MECA more than once with a different project. If the applicant is resubmitting a previous application, it must be pointed out either at the start or end of the application how the application differs from the previous one.