2023 NIH Director’s Awards Guidelines

NIH Director's Awards Nominations

The NIH Director’s Awards are intended to recognize exceptional performance or special efforts significantly beyond regular duty requirements and is directly related to fulfilling the NIH mission. Nominations are submitted for specific categories according to the nature of the act, service, or work performance. Please contact your IC Award Coordinator for details on how to submit a nomination.

NIH Director's Awards Improvements Initiative Outcomes

The section will explain all the improvements that were made for the NIH Director's Awards for the award year 2023. Please review this section to understand the changes that have been made to various sections of the program. 

Initiative Outcomes

General Guidelines

These guidelines apply to the award categories for the NIH Director's Awards.

General guidelines

Scientific/Medical Award - Research

All NIH employees, staff, or groups of staff (which can also include contractors) performing research, administering clinical/scientific disciplines, or working in scientific research professions.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Scientific/Medical Award - Clinical Care

All NIH employees, staff, or groups of staff (which can include contractors) who provide exceptional patient care.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Administrative Award

All NIH employees, staff, and groups of staff (which can also include contractors) performing, administering, or working in administrative functions.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Common Fund Leadership

All NIH employees promoting the advancement of the NIH Common Fund Program initiatives and/or their underlying processes.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Common Fund Unsung Heroes Award

All NIH employees who are involved with the management of Common Fund programs.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Customer Service Award (New Award)

The purpose of this award is to recognize NIH employees who deliver exceptional customer service. The award recognizes those individuals or groups whose professionalism, and commitment to customer service make them role models for customer service delivery.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Emerging Leaders Award (New Award)

The award recognizes NIH employees who show exemplary promise as future leaders, who may not necessarily be in a formal leadership role (i.e., supervisor or manager). 

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Mission Support

All NIH employees, staff, and groups of staff (which can also include contractors) in grades GS-1 through GS-12 or equivalent performing activities that support ongoing maintenance, office support, and infrastructure of NIH. Nominations must not have employees in grades GS-13 or above, with the exception of a single team lead for a group that otherwise meets that grade limit.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award

This award is designed to support and encourage the continuation of mentoring activities within the organization and to establish mentoring as a core value at the NIH. The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, skill, and ability in serving as a high-quality mentor to one or more individuals.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

Alan S. Rabson Award for Clinical Care

This award is to recognize outstanding clinical researchers who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to assisting patients and their families who look to the National Institutes of Health for help. Recipients of this award exemplify Dr. Rabson’s unswerving commitment to scientific and technical excellence, collaboration with colleagues, and provision of excellent, compassionate care for patients and those who love them.

Eligibility and nomination criteria

The NIH Work/Life and Well-Being Champion

This award is intended to recognize one supervisor’s exceptional performance or special efforts in supporting their employees’ work/life and well-being while maintaining or improving productivity in support of the agency’s mission.

Eligibility and nomination criteria