Nomination Tips

Nomination Tips

Would you like to nominate someone for one of the three AGU EPSP awards? Here are some tips and tricks from seasoned nominators and awards committee members. 

  • Nominate scientists who fit the award descriptions

  • All three awards require one nominating letter, and up to three support letters. Get three support letters. No letter can be more than 2 pages. Try to get letter writers who have different relationships with the award nominee and can offer different and important perspectives. Make sure you check the conflict of interests rules. They differ for the different awards. Here is a webinar with some helpful tips for writing supporting letters.

  • It can help to have one organizer for an award nomination. The organizer contacts letter writers and collects letters, puts together supporting materials (e.g., 2-page bibliography, 2-page CV), and submits the final package. The organizer does not have to be the nominator, and they do not need to write any support letter. This is not necessary, but it can help to share the load. 

  • Here is a webinar with helpful tips on preparing the 2 page CV and bibliography

  • Start contacting letter writers and putting together materials early. It can take a couple months to find letter writers and collect all the letters.

  • Provide letter writers with up-to-date CVs of the candidate. Ideally you would provide letter writers the other required materials (e.g. 2-page bibliography, 2-page CV) before they write their letters, but that doesn't always happen.

  • Ask for help. Ask experienced folks if you can see sample letters or if they can proof your letter. The canvassing committee can also provide general advice.

  • Write a letter with specifics and details. Every scientist who gets nominated is fabulous. But why? Did they generate a dataset that no one thought was possible? Did they combine tools in a new way? Don't assume the awards committee knows the details of a specific scientific subfield. Even if you provide example publications, the awards committee may not have the context to understand the importance of the contribution.

  • Don't be afraid to include other things that illustrate the magnitude of accomplishment. E.g. did they take care of an ill family member while going through college? Are they first generation? Not everything has to be climbing Mount Everest, but the context of "who is this human" can be very helpful for award committees to understand accomplishment.

  • Mentorship is important for both the Williams and Gilbert award. If the nominee has personally impacted your career in a positive way, share that. Remember, specifics help.

  • Include summarizing sentences, especially in the nomination letter, that hammer home why that person should get the award. Important sentences can be put in bold. Award committees have a lot to read, and they are busy too. Make it easy for them to appreciate the impact of your nominee.

  • Don't give up! Often you must nominate the same person multiple times. Listen to feedback from the awards committee. If an unsuccessful nominator has not received any feedback shortly after the awardees are announced, they can contact the chair of the awards committee to request feedback.