National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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External Technology Awards

Discover Award

Recognizes those individuals and organizations who have made a significant impact on the world through technology. CRITERIA: Any technological innovation, or product incorporating such an innovation, developed, released or launched after January 1 of the year of nomination. The categories are: Aerospace, Automotive, Aviation, Communications, Computers, Emerging Technology, Energy, Environment, Home Entertainment, Imaging, Materials, Medical Diagnostic, Robotics, Sound, Transportation, Video Products, and Other. AWARD: The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation award recognizes one innovation from the pool of nominated technologies to receive a $100,000 fellowship to further work on that innovation. Published in July Issue of Discover Magazine NOMINATIONS DUE: January 1st of each calendar year
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Electrotechnology Transfer Award

Honors individuals whose contributions in key government or civilian roles have led to effective application and/or transfer of federal or state sponsored developments in advanced electrical, electronic, and computer technologies to successful commercial sector opportunities. CRITERIA: Nomination needs to be documented in reports which were prepared under sponsorships by the U.S. federal and/or state governments (sponsorships includes: contracts from collaborations, cooperative R&D agreements (CRADAs) with government or government-owned entity; work within companies supported by government funds; or internally sponsored work within the government organizations). Nominations should be based on developments sponsored by the federal or state government within 10 years of the nomination closing date. Nominations must be submitted by an IEEE member. Endorsements are required by senior management person from the initial research/development origination, and a senior management person from the organization that successfully applied the technology. Endorsements from an IEEE technical society leader is highly desirable, but not a requirement. AWARD: Honorary NOMINATIONS DUE: March 1st of each year
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Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer

Recognizes laboratory employees who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring a technology developed by a federal laboratory. CRITERIA:

  1. Duplicate nominations—whether individual or group—are not allowed.
  2. The nominated team or individual must not have received an FLC award for Excellence in Technology Transfer within the last three years
  3. Awards are specifically for transferring technology—not research effort.
  4. Awards are judged on: (a) Practical commercial or public advancement made by the efforts of the nominees; (b) The technology transfer effort by the nominee beyond normal job scope; (c) The degree and significance of tangible benefits to industry or state/local governments
  5. No propriety information can be contained in the nomination
  6. Technology must be described in layman’s language
  7. The FLC may use the entire submission as a resource document and for media purposes

AWARD: Leading innovators receive a commemorative medallion and certificate in recognition of their achievement and will be honored at a special ceremony. NOMINATIONS DUE: October 1st of each year
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Government Technology Leadership Awards

Recognizes projects—large or small—that have directly aided in the missions of their organizations by boosting efficiency and effectiveness, lowering costs, and/or improving service to the public, through original uses of technology. CRITERIA: Its focus is on the whole team rather than individual contribution, and their emphasis on measurable impact, have combined to garner attention, and multiple nominations, from nearly every agency of government. The success of your nomination depends on the specific, measurable benefits that you present and on the degree to which you show that the project has furthered key objectives laid out for your agency. AWARD: Winners are featured in the December issue of Government Executive magazine and honored at a ceremony held later in the year. NOMINATIONS DUE: May 1st of each year
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Harry Diamond Memorial Award

Recognizes distinguished technical contributions in the field of electrotechnology while in U.S. government service. It was established in 1949 in memory of Mr. Harry Diamond, whose professional life exemplified the highest type of engineering and scientific development effort in Federal service. CRITERIA: Nomination needs to be documented in reports which were prepared under sponsorships by the U.S. federal and/or state governments (sponsorships includes: contracts from collaborations, cooperative R&D agreements (CRADAs) with government or government-owned entity; work within companies supported by government funds; or internally sponsored work within the government organizations). Nominations should be based on developments sponsored by the federal or state government within 10 years of the nomination closing date. Nominations must be submitted by an IEEE member. Endorsements are required by senior management person from the initial research/development origination, and a senior management person from the organization that successfully applied the technology. Endorsements from an IEEE technical society leader is highly desirable, but not a requirement. AWARD: Honorary NOMINATIONS DUE: March 1st of each year
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Innovations in American Government Award

Recognizes creative governmental initiatives that are especially effective in addressing vital public needs by honoring programs that involve a fresh approach to a problem of significant concern to a portion of the U.S. public. CRITERIA: To qualify, the program must be administered under the authority of one or more governmental entities that have played a formative role in designing and initiating the program; be submitted by the government agency responsible for the innovation; has been in operation for at least one year prior to the application deadline; certify and be able to document that one or more government institutions currently provide at least half of its funding; and be able to demonstrate that it has progressed significantly toward the achievement of its stated goals. The selection criteria include is novelty, judged by the degree to which it demonstrates a leap of creativity; its effectiveness, demonstrated by evidence that the program has achieved tangible results; its significance, particularly the degree to which it successfully addresses an important problem of public concern; and its transferability, or degree to which aspects of the program show promise of inspiring successful replication by other governmental units. AWARD: The Ford Foundation will award $100,000 grants to ten government programs and $20,000 grants to an additional 10 programs. NOMINATIONS DUE: May 1st of each year >> Return to Top

R&D 100 Award

Recognizes the 100 most technologically significant new products of the year and their inventors. CRITERIA: Any new technical product that was first available for purchase or licensing between January 1st and December 31st of the year of nomination. Physical existence of the product must be shown in a photograph or actual sample. Products and processes that can change people’s lives for the better, improve the standard of living for large numbers of people, save lives, promote good health, clean up the environment, etc. Moreover, these improvements must be attributed to significant breakthroughs in technology. In general, this means your product should exhibit multiple levels of improvement–53 times faster, 103 greater throughput, 503 times more accurate–or, preferably, orders of magnitude improvement over existing technology. Again, we’re looking for “leapfrog” gains in performance, not expected, incremental improvements. Products requiring regulatory approval, such as that from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, generally should not be entered until all trials are completed and final approval is granted. The exception would be a medical device or drug that has been licensed or used outside the United States, or in a nonregulated application (such as for veterinary purposes). If your product doesn’t win, you can, under certain conditions, resubmit it another year – provided there has been a major change related to your product. Winning products will be selected on the basis of their importance, uniqueness, and usefulness by a panel of technical experts. AWARD: Reports of winners will be published in the September issue of R&D Magazine. NOMINATIONS DUE: March 1st of each year
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The Service to America Medals

The Partnership for Public Service bestows its Service to America Medals to recognize the accomplishments of America’s public servants. The awards pay tribute to America’s dedicated federal workforce, highlighting those who have made significant contributions to our country. Honorees are chosen based on their commitment and innovation as well as the impact of their work on addressing the needs of the nation. Medals are bestowed in nine categories:

  • Federal Employee of the Year
  • Career Achievement
  • Call to Service
  • Homeland Security
  • International Affairs
  • Justice and Law Enforcement
  • National Security
  • Science and Environment
  • Citizen Services

CRITERIA: Open to all career civilian federal employees of the Executive Branch of the United States Government, similar employees of the Library of Congress, Government Accountability Office, Office of the Capitol Architect, Government Printing Office, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Smithsonian Institution and Botanical Gardens, plus commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Former federal employees who separated from government service after September 28 of the preceding year may also be nominated. All medal categories will be open to both individual and team nominations. Team nominations must be submitted under one person identified as the “team lead.” Team members may be listed within the essay portion of the nomination. For all award categories, the nominee must have shown a strong commitment to public service as a federal civil servant and demonstrated significant accomplishments within his or her particular government field. Award-specific criteria available on the govexec.com Web site (see nomination link below) AWARD: Finalists are announced in June. Award recipient announced in September. NOMINATIONS DUE: February 15th of each year + Nomination information (link opens new browser window)
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U.S Space Foundation Space Technology Hall of Fame

Honors the innovators who have significantly impacted American industry and society through the technology originally developed for space use into commercial products. CRITERIA: Each organization may nominate up to 3 aerospace spin-off technologies. Renomination of previously nominated technologies is permitted. One page write-up descriptive of the space an spin-off development. Selection criteria include economic benefit, public/private/partnership/investment, public awareness factor, societal benefit factor, application diversity, and longevity. AWARD: Induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame during a special ceremony at the United States Foundation’s National Space Symposium, the premier annual gathering of space policy leaders. Leading innovators receive a commemorative medallion in recognition of their achievement. NOMINATIONS DUE: August 1st of each year
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The Tech Museum of Innovations Award

Technology Benefiting Humanity is a unique new awards program designed to recognize People, companies or organizations, which develop or use technology in creative ways to solve global challenges and have a high potential of yielding lasting, beneficial impact. The awards honor innovators from around the world in the categories of health, education, environment, economic development and equality. CRITERIA: Individuals, for-profit companies, and public and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. Applicants need to demonstrate:

  • The use of technology to significantly improve the human condition in one of the five areas
  • Evidence of a serious problem or challenge with broad significance is addressed by this use of technology
  • A noteworthy contribution that surpasses previous or current solutions
  • A novel application that represents a breakthrough
  • The potential for this use of technology to serve as inspiration or model for others

AWARD: The Tech Museum of Innovations will Award $50,000 NOMINATIONS DUE: March 1st each year
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