STAC Level Award Information
The Scientific and Technological Activities Commission (STAC) is composed of Committees and Boards, which in the aggregate are made up of hundreds of volunteers primarily from the membership of the Society. STAC helps to advance science and technology by promoting the open exchange of ideas, strengthening our disciplinary communities, enhancing collaboration and dialog among these communities, embracing diversity, celebrating and fostering excellence, and cultivating the next generation of scientists and leaders. As such, STAC plays a critical role in the AMS as it works to build our science community, and part of this building process involves recognizing and celebrating excellence.
Commission Award Purpose and Guidelines: To recognize individuals whose outstanding contributions further the goals of the STAC, the Society has established Scientific and Technological Activities Commission awards. These terms of reference set forth the purpose and process whereby individuals can be nominated and selected for individual STAC Committee/Board recognition. There are three types of awards: Outstanding Early Career, Distinguished Scientific/Technological Accomplishment, and Outstanding Service. Every year, each STAC committee/board may nominate an individual in their discipline to receive one of the three awards. The nominee must be approved by the STAC Commissioners following the procedures described below. The award will be presented at the next conference or symposium sponsored by the Committee/Board, or other arrangement made in agreement between the Committee/Board and the STAC Commissioner. The STAC Committee/Board also may choose not to give an award, recognizing that these awards should only be presented to outstanding individuals in their discipline.
- Outstanding Early Career Award – an individual within 10 years of having earned their highest degree, or are under 40 years of age when nominated, who has made significant contributions to the discipline and is on a path to becoming a science leader in the community. Consideration will also be given, however, to those who are still in the early stage of their careers but have seen these interrupted for up to 5-10 years by military service, or family and career circumstances.
- Distinguished Scientific/Technological Accomplishment Award – an individual who has made significant contributions to the discipline and is well recognized within the discipline as being a science/technological leader. This award could be for a mid-career or late-career individual.
- Outstanding Service Award – an individual who has made significant contributions to the STAC Committee/Board or in service to the larger community in the Committee/Board discipline.
The STAC awards shall be designated as Committee/Board Awards to clarify these are Commission-level awards, rather than Society awards. They shall not be named for an individual or be accompanied by a monetary prize. Individuals who have received Society awards are not eligible for Commission awards for similar contributions. The recognition shall consist of an AMS provided certificate. Examples of how the awards shall be designated are: Committee on Mesoscale Processes Outstanding Early Career Award, Board on the Urban Environment Distinguished Scientific Accomplishment Award.
The Past STAC Commissioner will use the Committee/Board award nominations to help identify candidates for Society level awards, such that when strong nominations are made that have aspects relevant to a Society level award, the Past Commissioner will encourage the Committee/Board to submit a nomination package for the more prestigious Society level award. All STAC Committees/Boards are strongly encouraged to submit packages for Society level awards as outlined in the STAC responsibilities and our best practices document.
Nomination and Selection Process: STAC committees and boards shall follow a set process for nominating and selecting an individual for a STAC award in order to ensure fairness and uniformity across committees and boards. The process is as follows:
- Every year during the month of January, the STAC Commissioner will announce to all the Committee/Board Chairs a Call for STAC Committee/Board Award nominations.
- STAC Committee/Board chairs will then reach out to their Committee/Board members to ask for the names of individuals who have had a significant impact on their discipline and fit the description of one of the three award types. The nominations should be submitted to the chair. Individuals who have received Society awards are not eligible for Commission awards for similar contributions.
- Once the nomination process is complete, these individuals and their contributions will be discussed by the Committee/Board. The AMS Conflict of Interest Policy (shown below) will first be reviewed and any perceived conflicts discussed. If a Committee/Board member has been nominated, this person should be recused from the discussions. Since these awards are intended to recognize outstanding contributions, it is hoped that the Committee/Board can reach a near unanimous consensus on a nominee. However, if needed due to several strong nominations, voting will take place to determine if any of the nominees receives a majority of the votes. In the instance of ties, the Committee/Board chair makes the final selection. If an awardee is selected, the Committee/Board will write a one-page justification and a proposed citation of no more than 20 words, and will obtain a current CV for the nominee.
- The Committee/Board Chair will submit to the STAC Commissioner the name of the awardee, the award type, the one-page justification and citation (20 words or less), a current CV, a brief description of how the individual was nominated and vetted by the Committee or Board, and a proposal for when the award would be presented. The three STAC Commissioners will review the nominations and approve those that meet the criteria. The Commissioners must approve the award before it can be presented and they have the final determination as to whether or not the award is made. As the Commissioners meet monthly, the goal is for each nomination to be reviewed and a decision made within two months of receipt. The nomination must be received
- by the STAC Commissioner no later than 1 October during the same calendar year as the call for nominations was announced.
- The process as described here does not apply to student best paper awards and similar awards, which may be presented at a particular conference. Such awards are given without a nomination process and may involve monetary awards.
- STAC Boards and Committees are encouraged to recognize members of their communities who receive Society-level awards during their conferences and symposiums, thereby further elevating the prestige of Society awards.
- The Past STAC Commissioner will complete the process by going through the nominations and identifying potential candidates for Society level award nominations. When potential candidates are found, the Past Commissioner will strongly encourage the appropriate Committee/Board to submit a nomination package for the appropriate Society level award in order to obtain greater recognition of the contributions of a member of their community. All STAC awardees will be reported to Council as part of the STAC Commissioner’s report.
AMS CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY: It is recognized that award committee members will often have had relationships of one form or another with at least some of those nominated for awards over the course of their career. It is important for the entire committee to be aware of the nature of those relationships so that it can address any real or perceived conflicts of interest or biases with respect to committee members and award nominees. On the first conference call or meeting at which the award committee reviews nominations, each member of the committee will describe for fellow committee members their current or past relationship to any award nominee. This should include any financial, personal, or professional relationship that might be perceived as representing a conflict of interest or bias on the part of the committee member. The committee as a whole will decide if any of these relationships are strong enough to warrant the committee member recusing him or herself from discussions on a particular nominee. In most cases, the open discussion of relationships will allow the entire committee to move forward with the review and discussion of nominations without anyone needing to recuse themselves.