NSB Honorary Awards

The National Science Board presents two awards each year during a spring ceremony and dinner. The awards are the Vannevar Bush Award and NSB Public Service Award.

The National Science Board is now accepting nominations for its 2019 Honorary Awards. Nominations for both awards will close on September 28, 2018.


Vannevar Bush Award

Vannevar Bush Award


Honoring Exceptional Service to the Nation in Science and Technology

Background. The National Science Board (NSB) established the Vannevar Bush Award in February 1980 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is presented to a person who, through public service activities in science and technology, makes outstanding contributions toward the nation and humanity.


History. Vannevar Bush was an American engineer, inventor and science administrator, and headed the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II. Almost all wartime military R&D was carried out through OSRD, including initiation and early administration of the Manhattan Project. He is also known in engineering for his work on analog computers, for founding Raytheon, and as the chief creator behind the establishment of the NSF.


Responding to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for guidance, Vannevar Bush, recommended to the President in his 1945 report, Science, The Endless Frontier that a foundation be established by Congress to support research and education in science and to develop national science policy. Five years later, Congress implemented many of Bush's recommendations by passing a bill creating NSF. President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law on May 10, 1950. Establishing the Vannevar Bush Award was the NSB's way to honor Bush's unique contributions to public service.


Recipients. The Vannevar Bush Award is presented annually to a senior statesperson in science or technology. The award is signified by a medal in Bush’s likeness and recognizes the recipient’s public service contributions in addition to calling attention to the important role science and technology play in improving our way of life.


Candidates for the award are typically nominated by their peers.


For additional information on the eligibility criteria and nomination requirements, please visit the nominations page: Vannevar Bush Award Nominations


To view previous recipients of the award, visit: Past Recipients of the Vannevar Bush Award



Public service Award

NSB Public Service Award


Honoring Service in Public Understanding of Science and Engineering

Background. The National Science Board established the Public Service Award in November 1996. The annual award recognizes individuals and groups (company, corporation, organization) that have increased the public understanding of science or engineering in the United States.


Recipients. The NSB Public Service Award is presented to individuals and/or organizations that have contributed to scientific discovery and its communication to the public, promoted the engagement of scientists and engineers in public outreach and scientific literacy, aided in the development of broad science and engineering policy, influenced and encouraged the next generation of scientists and engineers, and fostered awareness of science and engineering among broad segments of the population. The NSB may choose to give the award to one or more groups and/or individuals each year.


Candidates for the award are typically nominated by their peers.


For additional information on the eligibility criteria and nomination requirements, please visit the nominations page: NSB Public Service Award Nominations


To view previous recipients of the award, visit:Past Recipients of the NSB Public Service Award


For questions concerning the awards, please contact Kim Silverman at ksilverm@nsf.gov, 703-292-4515.