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Alan T. Waterman Award

Call for Nominations - 2015 Alan T. Waterman Award

NOTE: The deadline for nominations has been extended through October 31, 2014.

The National Science Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Alan T. Waterman award. Please review the eligibility and selection criteria below and submit your nominations through FastLane. October 31, 2014 is the deadline for accepting nominations.

View the "call for nominations" flyer (PDF format).

2014 Alan T. Waterman Awardee

The National Science Foundation is pleased to announce that Feng Zhang is the winner of the 2014 Alan T. Waterman Award.

Dr. Zhang's research focuses on understanding brain function. He is well known for his pioneering work in optogenetics, which combines genetic and optical techniques to control specific events within specific cells of living tissue. Dr. Zhang is one of 11 core faculty members at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He is also an investigator at MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and the W.M. Keck Career Development Professor at MIT.

For more information about Dr. Zhang, please see the press release at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=131048.


Congress established the Alan T. Waterman Award in August 1975 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation and to honor its first Director. The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social, or other sciences at the institution of the recipient's choice.

The Waterman Award fact sheet, prepared by the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, is available at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=102999.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and must be 35 years of age or younger or not more than 7 years beyond receipt of the Ph.D. degree by December 31 of the year in which they are nominated. For example, candidates eligible for the 2011 award must be born on or after 1975, or received their Ph.D. on or after 2003.

  • Candidates should have demonstrated exceptional individual achievements in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality to place them at the forefront of their peers. Criteria include originality, innovation, and significant impact on the field.

Nomination Requirements

  • Nomination packages consist of a nomination and four letters of reference submitted via FastLane https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/honawards/

  • The names of four references are required for each nomination. The references cannot come from the nominee’s home institution. References must be requested by the nominator and submitted by the established FastLane deadline.

  • Nominations will not be reviewed by the Committee unless all the requirements are met.

  • Institutions may nominate an unlimited number of individuals.


Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page for specific questions about the award criteria or the nomination process. For any other questions, or for additional information, please contact:

Mayra N. Montrose
Office of Integrative Activities
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Rm. 1270
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: 703-292-8040
Fax: 703-292-9040

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