Social Design Award by AACS

Description of the AACS Social Design Award
The Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS) Social Design Award is bestowed upon a recipient for an implemented project with an outstanding social design methodology.

Rationale of the AACS Social Design Award
AACS promotes a pragmatic, evidence-based, and rational approach to accomplish social change. AACS sponsors the Social Design Award to recognize outstanding contributions of this type for and to foster recognition for social design as a field, encourage the sharing of practice methodologies, and advance methodological reflection and peer learning in sociological practice.

Which Social Design Projects are Eligible for the AACS Social Design Award?
Projects eligible for the AACS Social Design Award will incorporate a “blueprint for action” or a “plan for change.” This requirement is intended to reward a social design rather than a research project or the research portion of a practice project. A social design project may be a program, an organizational design, a service, an activity system, a social intervention, a community development project including a social issue project at the community-level.

Applied research, action research, research projects that serve external decision-makes, and evaluation projects for themselves and by themselves are not eligible for the AACS Social Design Award. Similarly, when a material artifact is designed to change social entities and processes, it is considered material design, and is outside the scope of the AACS Social Design Award.

Eligibility Criteria
o The AACS Social Design Award is open to practitioners and practicing academics from social- science-based disciplines and professions. Individuals, teams, and firms are eligible to participate.
o There is no nomination for this award. Rather, candidates enter the competition by submitting a project.
o All submissions will remain in the competition queue and automatically considered for three successive years, unless withdrawn by the submitting party.
o The winners assume the responsibility to attend the AACS Annual Meeting (conference) and present the project (see below, Winners) unless external conditions warrant an exception, in which case AACS may agree to a virtual presentation during our conference.

Submission Requirements
o The social design project will have been successfully implemented.
o The design methodology should be explicit.
o The social design project should not be a solution for an everyday problem or endeavor. It should be complex, unique, and necessitate sociological and social scientific thinking. In most cases, the social design project will be implemented at the micro (individual or small group) or meso (community or organizational) level-of-analysis or scale. Macro (institutional or societal) scale projects may be considered if they are well-structured programs designed and implemented by foundations or government agencies.
o A typical service-learning course project is not eligible as a social design project for the AACS Social Design Award. A large-scale project involving extensive community participation may be considered.
o Social design project presentations should be structured for a 75-minutes workshop timeslot for conference attendees.

Submission Stages
The submission and adjudication of a social design project occurs in two stages:

First Stage:
The applicant submits of a brief, online submission (300-word abstract) to the Chair of the AACS Social Design Award Committee, describing the social design project and the preliminary action plan or blueprint. Submissions that do not include a preliminary action plan or blueprint will be rejected. The Chair will notify the applicant of the jury decision no later than two weeks after submission.
Second Stage:
The applicant submits a three-page single-spaced overview of the social design project describing the design process in steps. Most of the three-page overview should describe the project tasks and steps rather than applied research.

The Social Design Award Committee (jury) shall review all social design projects submitted by applicants and shall bestow awards. There will be first, second, and third place awards, and two honorable mentions.

Submission and Adjudication Timeline
All referenced dates, below, apply to the year of the AACS Annual Meeting (conference) in which the applicant submitted a social design project for eligibility and adjudication of an award by the AACS Social Design Award Committee (jury).
o May 15: Call for proposals.
o June 15: First Stage materials are due.
o July 01: The jury will notify applicants about their eligibility for the Second Stage.
o August 01: Second Stage materials are due.
o August 31: Adjudication. The jury will notify winners of the awards and provide instructions for conference registration.

Social Design Award Winners (recipients) assume the responsibility to present their social design projects at the AACS Annual Meeting (conference), as scheduled by the conference Program Committee.

The AACS Social Design Award Committee reserves the right to withhold bestowing social design awards in any given year if it determines there are not enough quality submissions. Accordingly, there may be years in which social design awards are not presented at an AACS Annual Meeting.

Submission Address
This year, please submit your Social Design Award proposal by email to AACS Social Design Committee Chairperson, Lubomir Popov at If you have questions, please email Dr. Popov.