Background and Eligibility
National Medals of Science are awarded by the President of the United States to individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding cumulative contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or behavioral or social sciences, in service to the Nation.
Many more nominations are received than awards may be given. Ideal nominations make a strong case for scientific or engineering achievement as well as broader impacts in promoting the progress of science; advancing the national health, prosperity, and welfare; securing the national defense; and other purposes.
Please note the following eligibility guidelines:
- Self-nominations are not eligible, nor are nominations from immediate family members. Teams are not eligible for consideration.
- Deceased nominees are eligible for the award until the fifth anniversary of the day of death.
- Nobel Prize winners are eligible for awards and are evaluated according to the same considerations as those applied to nominees who have not received a Nobel Prize.
- Nominations will be carried over for a period of three years, including the year of nomination. After that time, it is possible to re-nominate the candidate for later consideration, if he or she is still eligible.
The President's Committee on the National Medal of Science is comprised of experts from a variety of disciplines. Please ensure that the nomination clearly conveys cumulative scientific achievement and broader impacts to a Committee with a wide spectrum of expertise.
Award Selection Considerations
The Committee has established the following considerations for selection of candidates:
- The impact of an individual's body of work on the current state of his or her field of science or engineering;
- Whether the individual's achievements are of an unusually significant nature in relation to the potential effects on the development of thought in his or her field of science or engineering;
- Whether the nominee has demonstrated unusually distinguished service in the general advancement of science and/or engineering for the Nation, especially when accompanied by substantial contributions to the content of science;
- The recognition of the nominee by peers within his or her community, and whether s/he is recognized for substantial impact in fields in addition to his/her discipline;
- If the nominee has made contributions to innovation and industry;
- Whether the nominee has demonstrated sustained influence on education through publications, teaching activities, outreach, mentoring, etc. and;
- Whether the nominee's contributions have created significant positive impact for the Nation.
Nominations and Letters of Support Requirements
The nomination process is completely electronic and must be accessed via the FastLane honorary awards module. There is no paper equivalent of the nomination form. A complete description of the nomination form is available at nomination-form-description.jsp.
- A complete nomination consists of a nomination form and three to five letters of support. Nominations with fewer than three letters of support will not be forwarded to the committee to review, and no more than five letters of support will be accepted. Please be aware that the nomination will allow for only 3 references. Additional references should send the letters directly to Sherrie Green, Medal of Science Program Officer (contact information below), for processing.
- The nomination package should also include a list of no more than ten publications and patents, each accompanied by a brief explanation of their significance. Please do not submit full publications or patents. Please submit materials in PDF format only.
- Nominations and letters are to be submitted electronically — in PDF format only — via the FastLane website. Letters of support must be uploaded by the letter writers, not by the nominator. The nominator and each of the letter writers will need to create a user id and password if new to the system. Please contact Sherrie Green, Medal of Science Program Officer (contact information below), for assistance. Please ensure that letters of support and all other materials are uploaded in PDF format.
- Under exceptional circumstances, letters may also be sent separately via regular mail or e-mail as an attachment.
- All letters of support should be addressed to the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science.
- Nominators are responsible for ensuring that letter writers submit their information references in a timely fashion. Please inform letter writers of the exact spelling of the nominee's name and the designated primary discipline. This will allow the system to automatically link the letters to the nomination.
- Institutions may submit an unlimited number of nominations.
NEW IN 2014: As clear distinctions between traditional research disciplines are blurred by technology, we have added a new, "secondary discipline" option to the form. Identifying a secondary research discipline is optional.
For further information concerning the Award program or nomination process, contact:
Office of International and Integrative Activities
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Rm. 935
Arlington, VA 22230