The ASA sets the deadlines and general principles http://www.amstat.org/sections/studentpaperawards.cfm for the student paper competitions. Below are the details for SBSS's competition for JSM 2016.
To be eligible for this award, the candidate must have been a full-time student (undergraduate, master's, or Ph.D.) on or after September 1, 2015. The candidate must be first author on the paper, and the advisor (or other co-author) must write a letter stating that the candidate had primary responsibility for the research and write-up. The candidate must be a member of SBSS or ISBA (International Society for Bayesian Analysis). Students who have previously received travel support from SBSS are not eligible to participate.
The deadline for application is Dec. 15, 2015. Formal application consists of sending an e-mail to Professor Tanzy Love using the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org with the following attachments (in PDF format):
1. The curriculum vita of the applicant.
2. A letter from the advisor (or other co-author) verifying the student
status of the candidate and briefly describing the candidate's role in the
research and writing of the paper.
3. The paper, including all tables, figures and appendices, as a single
Selection of winners:
Papers will be reviewed by a committee determined by the officers of the SBSS. Criteria for selection will include, but are not limited to, novelty in theory/methods/applications, significance and potential impact of the research, and clarity of writing and presentation. Decisions of the committee are final.
Applicants will be notified by January 15, 2016. Winners of the SBSS student paper competition must submit abstracts and register for JSM by February 2, 2016 through the official JSM abstract submission system. To receive the award, winners must register for the conference and present a talk under the auspices of the SBSS on the topic of their winning paper. Those who are not selected as winners are encouraged to submit a contributed abstract to the JSM 2016.
SBSS anticipates awarding travel awards to nine students and a $1,000 travel award to the winner of the Laplace Award. All winners will also be presented with a certificate at the SBSS section meeting at JSM 2016. Note that the financial award will likely not cover all of a winner's travel, so winners will need to supplement the SBSS award with other funds.