Winners of 2012 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards Announced
    December 13, 2012

    Julia Kent
    (202) 223-3791


    Washington, DC The Council of Graduate Schools / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious honor for doctoral dissertations, were presented to Björn B. Brandenburg and Junjie Chen at an awards ceremony during the CGS 52nd Annual Meeting. Dr. Brandenburg completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last year. Dr. Chen earned his doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011.


    Bestowed annually since 1982, the awards recognize recent doctoral recipients who have already made unusually significant and original contributions to their fields. ProQuest, the world’s premier dissertation publisher, sponsors the awards and an independent committee from the Council of Graduate Schools selects the winners. Two awards are given each year, rotating among four general areas of scholarship. The winners receive a certificate, a $2000 honorarium, and travel to the awards ceremony.


    “The work of these two extraordinary scholars represent the highest standards of intellectual rigor and indisputably, represent significant contributions to their respective fields,” said Mary Sauer-Games, ProQuest Vice President of Information Solutions.


    The 2012 Award in mathematics, physical sciences and engineering was presented to Dr. Brandenburg for “Scheduling and Locking in Multiprocessor Real-Time Operating Systems.” His dissertation research addresses real-time and embedded systems that individuals use on an everyday basis, as in cars and computers, often without the awareness that these systems exist. The dissertation addresses questions key to resource-allocation for real-time operating systems (RTOSs), a project that allowed Dr. Brandenburg to develop a new multicore RTOS called LITMUS (LInux Testbed for MUltiprocessor Scheduling in Real-Time Systems).  Dr. Brandenburg is currently a tenure-track faculty member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he is Head of the institute’s real-time systems group.

    [Photo caption: The 2012 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards. From left to right; Mary Sauer-Games, Sheryl Tucker, Bonnie Melhart, Steve Matson, Bjorn Brandenburg, David Holger, Venkat Allada, John Roberts.]


    Dr. Chen received the 2012 Award in social sciences for his dissertation, “When the State Claims the Intimate: Population Control Policy and the Makings of Chinese Modernity.” His research, an ethnographic study, examines the “human experience of China’s post-socialism and associated globalizing efforts as they are reconfigured in the seemingly intimate space of reproduction.” More specifically, Dr. Chen’s work explores the reproductive practices of peasants in northeast China, analyzing the ways in which these practices “intersect with the politics and policies of biomedicine and technology, as well as with those of gender, class, kinship, and ethnic identities.”  Dr. Chen is currently a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University as well as a research affiliate at Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute.


    [Photo caption: The 2012 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards. From left to right; William Buttlar, Larry Lyon, Zhen Chen, Junjie Chen, Isaac Chen, Lynne Pepall, Marlene Coles, Mary Sauer-Games, John Roberts.]


    More information about the CGS / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award is available at or at


    About the Council of Graduate Schools

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 81% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.

    * Based on data from the 2011 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees


    About ProQuest
    ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information.  Key to serious research, the company has forged a 70-year reputation as a gateway to the world’s knowledge – from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives to news, in all its forms.  Its role is essential to libraries and other organizations whose missions depend on the management and delivery of complete, trustworthy information.


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.