Understanding the SfN Awards Nomination Process
If you’ve never nominated someone for an award, the process can be daunting. At SfN, there are multiple categories meant for different achievement types, and each award’s requirements are different. This can make it confusing when you’re trying figure out if someone is eligible and if you can put together a nomination in time.
The first step is to look at the award categories and figure out which ones are applicable to the person you want to nominate. Know a senior researcher who’s made many important discoveries? Look at the Outstanding Career and Research Achievements Awards. Know a promising new PhD? Check the Early Career page.
Once you know which type of award category is the most appropriate, go through the individual awards pages. Read the first few paragraphs to figure out if the potential nominee you’re thinking of fits in the general category and check the eligibility requirements. If you have any questions as to whether someone is eligible, email email@example.com with details. If there’s a gray area, you might be told that the committee will make a decision upon reviewing the nomination.
If your potential nominee looks eligible and suitable for the award, go through the list of required materials. All nominations require a nomination letter and a CV, but some may require additional materials like letters of recommendation or a summary of research. As you read the list of requirements, think about whether you have the time to contact colleagues, and if they would have enough time to write the materials. If the nominee doesn’t have a current CV online, you may need to ask them to provide you with one.
Don’t discard the idea of nominating someone because you aren’t sure if they’re important or famous enough. The committee often wants to hear about new candidates and will make the decision on whether the nominee is qualified. Likewise, if you’re unsure if you should be the one nominating someone, talk to a colleague for guidance.
To start the application, log in through the awards portal and find the award from the drop-down menu. As you go through the application pages, it will break down the materials into individual parts to upload; take note of the required file types and any file size limitations.
Talk to the nominee’s colleagues, prior students, and anyone else who might be able to contribute to the nomination packet. Make sure they know the deadline and whether there are any other people you’ve approached for assistance; some people may decide to write a letter of recommendation as a group.
Write your nomination letter and make sure it aligns with the type of award you’ve selected. A letter in support of an education award will look different from a letter for a research award, both in page length and in content. It may help to think of it like a research proposal: be prepared with statistics and references to back up your case.
You don’t need all the materials in order to start attaching them to the nomination packet; you can add them and save as you go. When all documents are attached, make sure you hit the Submit button. Do not email the nomination materials to SfN staff or contact the committee members.
If you have any further questions about the SfN awards process, please see the Awards and Prizes FAQs.