Russell L. Agrusa CSE Student Innovation Competition

Russ Agrusa (BS ’76) generously donated $250,000 to establish the Russell L. Agrusa CSE Student Innovation Competition fund in late 2020. 

The annual Agrusa Competition seeks to:

… encourage students to conduct and present research in areas where industry need is greatest in a world and where the demands for automation and connectivity are rapidly increasing; this could include but is not limited to, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile/wireless systems, AI, and cloud computing.

Russell L. Agrusa

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Every year, three or more cash prizes will be awarded to the winning solutions that address real-world problems with potential impacts on technologies and our society. 

The CSE Award Selection Committee will give at least 80% of the annual spendable fund as three or more cash prizes.

The CSE Award Selection Committee will allocate the total prize money among three or more winning teams.  At the time of project submission, each student team will submit an agreement describing how the cash prize will be allocated among team members.

Evaluation Criteria

The CSE Award Selection Committee will judge submissions based on their:

  • novelty;
  • technical contributions;
  • potential impacts on technology and our society.

Competition Dates

  • Submissions are due on November 3, 2023 at 23:59:59.
  • Awards will be announced in late November 2023.


Students and their projects must meet four eligibility criteria:

  1. Individual CSE students or multidisciplinary student teams led by CSE students, with one or more CSE faculty mentors, are eligible to participate in the Agrusa Competition and receive awards.
  2. The project must contain substantially new activities after each January 1st  for submission to the Agrusa Competition in the same year.
  3. The project must have a prototype system/solution, whether it involves any hardware or not.
  4. The same project must have not won any awards from similar competitions at regional or national levels (except research grants and awards received to fund the project activities).

What to Submit

  1. Project information, a summary, and supplemental figures using the Agrusa CSE Student Innovation Submission Form template.  Please convert your form to PDF format before submitting it (required)
  2. Supplemental Video (up to 3 minutes; optional)
  3. Two-page resumes of each student and faculty mentor (required)

How to Submit

Submit all application and project materials via the Agrusa Competition Submission Form.

Publicity Agreement

Student award winners must agree to:

  • Help promote the Agrusa Competition and CSE Department on social media;
  • Share their UB and post-graduation success stories with the donor and CSE.

Previous Competitions

Press Coverage

About Russ Agrusa

Russ Agrusa founded and served as CEO of ICONICS, a leading industrial software automation provider, which was recently acquired by Mitsubishi Electric.

Agrusa is a long-term supporter of UB and CSE.  He has chaired and is currently co-chair of the CSE Departmental Advisory Board (DAB) since its inception.  He also served on the SEAS Dean’s Advisory Council. 

In addition to the fund for the competition, Agrusa has made several other generous donations, one of which is recognized with the naming of Davis 101 as the Agrusa Auditorium.

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