Students @ IMS


Students are the future of the MTT-S and the IMS. Each year the Steering Committee takes seriously the need to provide a program that encourages the professional growth of its future leaders.

Student Design Competitions: The 2020 Student Design Competition has been postponed to IMS2021.

Student Paper Competition: The purpose of the Student Paper Competition (SPC) is to recognize outstanding technical contributions from individual students. SPC finalists must present their papers at the assigned IMS2020 session, and also at the SPC Interactive Forum (separate from the regular Interactive Forum sessions) for judging by a specially formed SPC committee of experts.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition: This competition is designed for eligible students and Young Professionals, who indicate upon submission of a paper their desire to enter the competition and whose paper is accepted for either oral or interactive forum presentation.

PhD Student Sponsorship Initiative: The 2020 PhD Student Sponsorship Initiative has been postponed to IMS2021.

Project Connect: Provides under-represented minority engineering students the opportunity to attend IMS2020 to interact with practicing engineers, to learn about the exciting new technologies being developed today, and to introduce students to the variety of careers in the area of microwave engineering.

Student Career Fair: Participating IMS exhibitors will be on hand to offer students guidance on careers including internships in our industry, for RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave devices, components, and systems design and development. In addition, the presenting companies will discuss future career opportunities within their companies and offer advice for students to successfully navigate from University to industry. There is no charge for students to attend the Career Counseling Fair; however participants must be registered IMS attendees.


What is Project Connect?
Project Connect, will bring an exceptional group of undergraduate and first-year graduate students to the IEEE conference on a travel grant provided by NSF and IEEE. Students from underrepresented groups will be carefully selected based on their academic credentials and career goals, through a competitive application process.

The long-term goal of this program is to attract a diverse pool of highly motivated students to the field of microwave engineering. The technical planning committee for IMS recognizes that the future of this field depends on attracting the best and brightest from the next generation of increasingly diverse students possessing great aptitude for highly technical and innovative development.

The program is designed to create an opportunity for students to interact with practicing engineers, to learn about the exciting new technologies being developed today, and to introduce students to the variety of careers in the area of microwave engineering.

Project Connect Conference Agenda:
The program will host students at the IMS conference for three days. Specific agenda plans include: (1) Panel sessions where speakers from industry, government and academia will share their experiences in microwave engineering with an emphasis on leveraging collaboration and current state of the art to pursue novel and innovative solutions to challenging problems; (2) A session for IMS Project Connect participants to learn about applying to graduate school and writing effective resumes; (3) Exploring the conference using the Connect Monopoly™ workbook to obtain exciting networking, educational, and industrial experiences of IMS2020; (4) IMS Connect participants will share their experience with a “Through My Eyes” multimedia presentation at the program wrap-up meeting.

Participant Selection Criteria:
Undergraduate students and first-year graduate students in engineering or a closely related discipline (e.g. math, physics, etc.). Candidates should be members of under-represented groups in engineering. For example, in the United States these groups include women, American Indian/Native, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, African American/Black and Hispanic American/Latino.

  • Participants should be over the age of 18 by the start of IMS2020, 21 June 2020
  • Candidates will be selected based on their academic credentials, a recommendation letter, and their career ambitions as expressed in an application video. The selection committee is comprised of both academic and industry professionals.


All eligible students or student teams are invited to participate in the International Microwave Symposium 2021 Student Design Competitions (SDCs). The competition encourages students to employ creative problem solving and gain practical design experience by developing a circuit, or system to address a problem stated in the competition rules while following specified constraints. The students will bring their designs to the competition where they perform measurements and compete against other student teams. The winning teams are awarded cash prizes and recognized at the IMS student luncheon awards. In the IMS2021 SDC we have 5 different competitions spanning a wide range of topics from power amplifier design to spectral sensing radios. Links to descriptions and rules for each competition rules are below. Winning teams are awarded cash prizes and a chance to publish their designs in the IEEE Microwave Magazine.

Design Competition Topics

Click the links below to download the individual competition descriptions and rules:

The student design competitions will take place on Tuesday, 8 June, 2021, with the competition winners recognized at the Student Awards Luncheon on Thursday, 10 June, 2021. Student competitors should be aware that the IMS will not assist participants in getting necessary equipment or designed circuits/systems into the United States.

How to Participate
To participate in a competition, click the link below and follow the instructions. You will be asked to provide contact information for all team members and your academic advisor, and you will also need to upload a short abstract describing your design approach. In addition, your academic advisor must send an email to the organizers of the competition certifying that the work is yours, not theirs. The application deadline is 29 May 2021. Students are advised to contact the individual competition organizers as early as possible, to ensure a full understanding of the design specifications and judging criteria before beginning their projects.

Click here to submit your application

General Rules and Requirements
Note: Some competitions have requirements which are different than those listed below. Where stated, each individual competition’s specific rules and deadlines will supersede these general rules.

  1. Teams may consist of 1-4 people.
  2. All team members must be full-time students while working on the project.
  3. At least one team member must register for IMS2021 and attend the student design competitions on Tuesday, 8 June 2021 in order to assist with measurements (where applicable) and answer questions.
  4. You must notify the student design competition organizers at least one week before the date of the competitions if you plan to withdraw or will not be able to participate in person. Failure to participate in person may prevent you from being accepted for future participation.
  5. Your professors and advisors must certify that this is your work, not theirs.
  6. You must submit a competition application form no later than 30 April 2021, or as indicated in the rules of the competition of interest. You are encouraged to contact the coordinators of the competition of your interest as early as possible to ensure a full understanding of the design specifications and judging criteria before your submission.
  7. Travel visas and shipping your project equipment are your responsibility.

Student Design Competitions are sponsored by the Technical Committees of the MTT. Each committee has been given $2000 in prize money if they choose to sponsor a competition in their technical area. Not all technical committees participate in the competition every year. Each will make their own rules for the competitions that they sponsor.

Contact Information
General questions or comments can be directed to the IMS2021 Student Design Competition Committee Chair, Guoan Wang, via email at

Questions or comments regarding a specific design competition should be directed to the organizers of the competition in question which will be listed on the competition descriptions (links above).


The Student Paper Competition (SPC) is held to identify and recognize outstanding technical contributions from individual students. In general, it is preferred that the submitted paper have only few authors. The first author must be the student; the last author must be the student’s main advisor. Additional student co-authors are acceptable, but will also be subject to verification by the main advisor as detailed below. First, second, and third prizes will be awarded based on content and presentation where the criteria are ranked in the following order:

1.)    Creativity or novelty of the ideas presented in the paper
2.)    Paper quality and technical soundness of the presented work
3.)    Oral presentation of the paper at the conference and response to audience questions.

To be considered for an award, the student must (i) be the lead author, (ii) personally present the paper at IMS2022, and (iii) the advisor must confirm that the paper is mostly the students work. During the paper submission process, the student is required to provide the email address of the main faculty advisor who will be asked, upon the selection of the paper to the SPC, to certify that the work is at least 80% that of the student.

The student paper competition committee will inform all candidates if they are selected as finalists. Student paper finalists will be asked to upload their presentation slides by 6 April 2022.