Student Paper Contest

SPE coordinates 14 regional student paper contests at the undergraduate, master's, and PhD level. Students compete against other students from their region for the opportunity to advance to the International Student Paper Contest, held during the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE). Contestants enter with an abstract of their paper, of which they perform a presentation on the day of the competition, and then the victors who proceed to the International contest at ATCE have their papers published in the conference proceedings and on OnePetro.

Currently, the 14 regional contests recognized by the Society are: Africa, Asia Pacific, Canadian, Eastern North America, Europe, Gulf Coast North America, Middle East, Mid-Continent North America, Rocky Mountain North America, Russia and Caspian, Western North America, South America and Caribbean, South Asia, and Southwestern North America

To enter a Regional Contest

You must first submit a paper to the contest in your Region. After the Regional contests, SPE will send the winners of each region to the International Student Paper Contest held at ATCE.

  • You must be SPE member in good standing at the time of application.
  • You must be enrolled as full-time student (according to your University's rules)
  • Check the upcoming contest schedule for a chapter in your region and contact the host chapter.
  • Current Sanction Laws apply to the Student Paper Contest Program. If you are unsure if you are eligible to participate as a result of the sanctions, please email
  • Please note you may only participate in the contest category that equates to your current or most recent level of education. Please see the Student Paper Contest Manual for more details or email
  • Presentation policy for the International Student Paper Contest at ATCE 2015: Contestants must present their paper in person and presentation by other communication channels including but not exclusive to telephone and video link will not be permitted.

Prepare for the Contest


Contact your Faculty Advisor or Chapter President for additional information. If you are not a member of a student chapter, contact and ask about how you can participate.

Learn About International Paper Contest at ATCE

The SPE International Student Paper Contest takes place during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition. The winners of the 10 regional student paper contests are invited to participate in the international contest by submitting the winning regional paper to be included in the conference proceedings at ATCE. The winners should follow the submission format of the conference and judges will select winners based on the same procedures used in the regional contests.

Traveling to ATCE

We will pay up to USD 3,000 for contest participants to travel to ATCE when you book through the SPE Student Activities office.

The travel allowance includes expenses for transportation, hotel accommodations, and conference registration. Funds will not cover meal expenses and incidentals.

For additional funding, you can also contact:

  • Your student chapter about the SPE travel allowance
  • The petroleum engineering department of your school
  • The sponsoring SPE section of your chapter
  • Your employer

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