Thomas Hilker Early Career Award for Excellence in Biogeosciences

Basic Information

The Thomas Hilker Early Career Award is given annually in recognition of unusually creative work by an early career scientist in the field of Biogeosciences. This award memorializes Thomas Hilker, whose groundbreaking work to quantify global photosynthesis from satellite data was a technical and scientific challenge that required both long-range vision and tremendous diligence and attention to detail. This Early Career Award recognizes a scientist whose research propels any discipline related to the field of Biogeosciences. This new award addresses a need to recognize and reward up-and-coming scientific leaders in the Biogeosciences section, which currently has only one section-level award.

Citation/Scope Statement: In recognition of creative contributions in undertaking research that advances scientific understanding in Biogeosciences by an Early Career Scientist

Award Includes:

  • Award plaque and certificate
  • Announcement in Eos
  • Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • $1000.00 monetary prize (subject to funding availability)
  • One complimentary ticket to the Biogeosciences Luncheon

Frequency: The award is given annually to one individual during the AGU Fall Meeting. No individual may receive the award more than once.

Career Level: Early Career

Nomination Process & Requirements

Nominee Eligibility Requirement(s)

  • Active AGU membership is a requirement
  • No more than 10 years post-Ph.D. degree (or highest equivalent terminal degree) on the first day of the year in which the award is being given
  • Review AGU Conflict of Interest Policy for ineligible nominees
  • Parental Leave: Exceptions to the 10 year requirement due to unusual circumstances; i.e. parental leave, can be considered on a case-by-case basis by the current committee.

Nominator Eligibility Requirement(s)

Supporter Eligibility Requirement(s)

Nomination Package Requirements
*Each document should be no more than 2 pages in length and the entire nomination package should be merged into one pdf file*

By submitting a nomination for this award, the nominator has read and will fully comply with the AGU Conflict of Interest Policy terms as it relates to the nominee, nominator, and all supporters – note that special exceptions apply to early career awards.

Each nomination package should include the following:

  • Nomination letter outlining the nominee’s significant contribution(s)- preferably on letterhead with the author’s signature - stating how the nominee meets the selection criteria: unusual creativity, insight or diligence in a variety of forms, as demonstrated by publication of research in high-impact journals, significant presentations at national or international meetings, leadership of interdisciplinary synthesis publications, etc. The candidate’s individual, novel contribution must be clearly identified and described in the case of collaborative work (not to exceed two pages);
  • The nominee’s curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages);
  • At least two (2) but not more than three (3) letters of support – preferably on letterhead with the author’s signature – which support the nominator’s argument, stating how the nominee meets the selection criteria. Diverse letters of support are encouraged (i.e., individuals not currently or recently associated with the candidate's institution of graduate education or employment) (not to exceed two pages each);
  • A selected bibliography for the nominee, which should begin by briefly stating the candidate’s total number and types of publications and specifying the number published in AGU publications (not to exceed two pages).

Deadline: 15 April 2020


The nomination submission system will open 12:00am 15 January 2020 and will remain open until 12:00am 16 April 2020. Access the nomination submission system »

You can view a tutorial about successfully submitting your nomination package, or you can view Guidelines to a Successful Nomination. Should you have any questions, please contact the AGU Honors Team for assistance.

Award Committee

Chair: Sean Schaeffer

Members: Chris Still, Andrew Richardson, Kim Novick, Rebecca Barnes, 

Staff Liaison:

  • Artesha Moore
  • Antonio Covington

AGU’s Honors Program aligns with AGU’s mission, vision, core values and strategic plan.

Committee Charge
The committee is charged with selecting the recipient(s) of the Thomas Hilker Early Career Award for Excellence in Biogeosciences. Committee members will abide by the AGU Conflict of Interest policy, program policies, procedures and guidelines set by the Union. In partnership with the Honors and Recognition Committee and staff, the committee works to ensure that the program is superior in all respects, recognizes all constituents, and fosters a global network of individuals in the Earth and space sciences who epitomize excellence and cooperation in research, education and outreach. The members of the Thomas Hilker Early Career Award Committee will promote excellence and transparency, allowing broad input and recognition beyond disciplinary awards, promoting diversity and commitment to equity so that the honor is sufficiently representative of underrepresented groups.

Timeline & Commitment
Award committee members and chairs serve a two year commitment. The work of this committee is done primarily through the online submission and review system, by telephone conference calls and email.

Below is the 2020 award year work plan timeline:

15 January 2020 Nominations Open
15 April 2020 Nominations Close
1 May - 3 June 2020 Committee work: review, deliberations and final recommendations
15 June 2020 SFG President approves committee selection
Mid to Late July 2020 Official announcement of AGU Section Award & Lecture Honorees

Past Recipients

Dr. Kimberly Novick


Antonio Covington 
Program Specialist, Section Awards and Lectures
Phone: +1 202 777 7484