Awards and Scholarships Policy
Adopted by the Board on 23-March-2021
Awards and Scholarships Policy
This policy encourages our community to establish awards or prizes for OWASP competitions and set up scholarships and travel assistance for OWASP events. Awards recognize high impact members, chapters, initiatives, or projects. One purpose of scholarships is to fulfill our mission to underserved and disadvantaged communities and individuals, improving equity and access for those who may need assistance. This policy creates financially responsible funding mechanisms, published eligibility and selection criteria, and a consistent and transparent process to award prizes or recipients.
Overview of Awards, Scholarships, and Travel Assistance Process
Any OWASP Leader, OWASP Foundation, or OWASP Board (“Organizers”) can establish an award, prize, or scholarship and any associated travel assistance.
- Review relevant Awards and Scholarships Guidance (TBA)
- Plan the award or scholarship application, and seek potential funding sources if required
- Submit a request
The OWASP Executive Director and any relevant committee shall evaluate the proposal and decide on approval within 30 days, taking into account published temporary restrictions or travel restrictions imposed by relevant authorities. If the request requires a Board vote or exemption, a decision will occur within 60 days to allow for a committee and subsequent board meeting.
If approved, the organizers shall:
- Publicize the award or scholarship, finalize donors, sponsorships or fundraise necessary funds, and open the award or scholarship to entrants no later than 30 days before the deadline
- Score and select the winner using the selection rubric within seven days of the announced deadline
- Publish the selection result on the owasp.org website and award the prize or scholarship within 30 days of the announced deadline
- Where appropriate, submit for reimbursement within the time alloted according to the expense policy
Organizers can create awards to recognize high impact contributions towards OWASP’s mission or prizes for competitions. Awards cannot offer memberships, donations to other organizations, or cash prizes to individuals. In many countries, raffles, games of chance, and so on may be regulated. Organizers are responsible for ensuring a competition with a prize has appropriate permits and observes all legal requirements within their jurisdiction.
Scholarships waive registration or attendance fees to paid OWASP events, activities, or training. Scholarships should not exceed 20% of all paid attendees in any class, event, or activity. Scholarships should be either zero cost to the event or fully funded before approval.
Trainers are encouraged, but not required, to waive their training fee for scholarships. If a trainer does not waive their fee, organizers must secure sponsorship or funding to cover the expense. Trainers may limit the number of scholarships.
Scholarships assisting underserved or underrepresented communities may offer travel assistance to OWASP events, with a preference to serve local and regional events over costly international travel. Travel assistance can only be provided as part of a scholarship and should be on an as needs basis.
Organizers should name the award or scholarships to include OWASP within the name, consistent with the OWASP branding guidelines. Examples might include: “OWASP Lifetime Achievement Award”, “OWASP Ottawa CTF Champion”, “OWASP AppSec Manchester Scholarship”, and so on.
Award names that are confusing with existing OWASP trademarks, awards, or scholarships may not be approved.
Awards, scholarships, and travel assistance should be fully funded, including by:
- Individual or corporate donations, sponsorships, or fundraising
- Chapters, projects, events, or committees using local donations, sponsorships, or fundraising
- An approved grant under the grants policy
- An approved annual Foundation budget line item
- An affirmative board vote
All sponsorships, fundraising, and donations are subject to standard OWASP policies, procedures, and associated administration fees.
Transparent Selection Criteria, Processes, and Approvals
Award or Scholarship proposals are more likely to be approved if selection criteria include equity for disadvantaged, underrepresented, or underserved groups. Awards should be directed towards genuinely long term or meritorious service to OWASP and our mission, or as an encouragement to new projects, chapters, initiatives, or as a reward for OWASP competitions that fulfill our mission.
After approval, organizers must publish the selection criteria on the OWASP website for public transparency. Organizers should coordinate with the Foundation to ensure that all nominees or entrants are eligible per the selection criteria.
Organizers must publish results on the OWASP website, including the selection rubric and scores, and are encouraged to promote the accolade. As privacy permits, organizers should publish recipients’ names (with their permission) to allow members, donors, and the public to determine that the prize was transparently and fairly selected. Organizers must make recipients’ details available to the OWASP Foundation to process the award, scholarship, or travel assistance.
Transparency, Integrity, and Oversight
The OWASP Executive Director shall report to the OWASP Board quarterly on all awards, scholarships, and travel assistance awarded and received, along with improvements to this policy.
All prizes are subject to being audited by the OWASP Foundation, including validating that the selection criteria were followed, recipients received their award, scholarships, or travel assistance.
Awards, scholarships, and travel assistance are not transferable, cannot be passed on, or resold to others. If organizers cannot reach a recipient within 30 days to claim their prize, or the recipient declines the prize, organizers shall choose the subsequent highest scoring winner.
Exemptions to Policy
Exemptions to this policy can be granted by the OWASP Executive Director and documented in the application. Exemptions requiring funding exceeding $1000 require an affirmative Board vote.
Conflicts of Interest
Awards and scholarships are subject to the conflict of interest policy. To prevent perceived or actual conflicts of interest, if an award or scholarship is potentially open to:
- Organizers who created or assisted with the submission or selection criteria
- Members of the selection panel
- Involved chapter, project, or event leaders, or relevant committee members
- Foundation staff or Board members
an ethical barrier is required, such as recusal from decision making. Ethical barriers will be reviewed and approved by the Executive Director during the application process.
Organizers must report applicable ethical barriers used in deciding the award or scholarship.
Appeal or Dispute Resolution
The relevant committee is the first point of contact for any disputes, followed by the Compliance Committee or OWASP Whistleblower process, the OWASP Executive Director, and the OWASP Board.
Abuse of this policy may be grounds for not being able to award future prizes or scholarships. In severe cases, as determined by the Executive Director, sanctions could include revocation of OWASP membership, loss of leadership, or referral to law enforcement authorities.