NIH Director’s Awards

The NIH Director’s Award is the most prestigious awards ceremony that recognizes the greatest achievements of all Institutes and Centers (IC) within NIH.

General Guidelines

  • All nominations must be entered by the nominator through the electronic Honorary Awards and Ranking System, e-HARTS. Hardcopies are not required; however, it is recommended that you keep a hardcopy for your records. Detailed database instructions are available upon request.
  • Individuals and groups may be nominated for awards. 
  • Nominations may be initiated by IC management staff or by individuals with knowledge of the accomplishments of the individual or group being nominated.
  • Nominees may consist of current or former federal employees, tenants, fellows, guests, volunteers, and contractors. 
  • The Award Citation is limited to 25 words and 255 characters. 
  • The Narrative Justification is limited to 6,000 characters.
  • The narrative of accomplishments must focus on the nominee’s distinct contributions, including how they exceeded normal expectations and the specific impact of their contributions. Routine responsibilities should be mentioned only as they establish a context for the accomplishment cited.
  • Small Group nominations are limited to 15 individuals, including contractors. Groups of 16 or more individuals will not walk across the stage during the ceremony. Large groups should be rare. Any group nomination should include only those individuals who made a significant contribution to the work of the group.
  • Group nominations must contain a majority of Federal employees.
  • All nominees must be approved by the individual’s supervisor and each nomination approved by the IC Director.
  • All nominations must be ranked by the IC in order of priority for each category.

Category 1: Scientific/Medical

Eligibility

All NIH employees or groups of employees performing research, administering clinical/scientific disciplines, or working in scientific professions, such as Medical Officers, Health Science Administrators, Biologists, Chemists, Veterinarians, Dentists, and Nurses.

Criteria

  • Unusual display of leadership promoting the advancement of the understanding or application of scientific phenomena, processes or problems.
  • Extraordinary achievement in the application of scientific principles and methods to improve the efficiency or extend the benefits of the NIH.
  • Discovery or invention of a new scientific principle, process or device resulting in substantial benefits.
  • Sustained and exceptional performance beyond regular duty requirements in carrying out a difficult task.
  • Outstanding contribution, beyond regular attendance, to a special committee or task force dealing with NIH-wide scientific policies, procedures or operations.
  • Superior skill and leadership in science.

Category 2: Administrative

Eligibility

All NIH employees or groups of NIH employees performing, administering, or working in administrative functions, such as Budget, Human Resources, Grants Management, Contracts, Accounting, Information Technology, and Public Affairs and Communication, to support the scientific mission of the NIH. NOTE: Nominations directly related to science (e.g. discovery or management of scientific initiatives) should be submitted in the scientific category.

Criteria

  • Extraordinary initiative or leadership in carrying out activities to improve NIH program operations or to benefit the NIH environment.
  • Development and improvement of methods, procedures, or equipment resulting in substantial benefits to the NIH or the U.S. Government.
  • Remarkable competence, compassion, or heroism dealing with an emergency situation at the NIH.
  • Sustained and exceptional performance beyond regular duty requirements in carrying out a difficult task.
  • Outstanding contribution, beyond regular attendance, to a special committee or task force dealing with NIH-wide policies, procedures or operations.
  • Significant resourcefulness and competence in improving the administrative management of the NIH.
  • Superior skill and leadership in administration.

Category 3: Technical/Clerical/Support

Eligibility

All NIH employees or groups of employees in grades GS-1 through GS-9 performing various office support and miscellaneous clerical and assistance duties. This category also applies to the performance of Wage Grade-equivalent technical work in trades, crafts, or labor work. NOTE: Nominations containing employees in grades higher than a GS-09 or equivalent will not be considered in the selection process.

Criteria

  • Outstanding efforts in applying technical or clerical support skills to accomplish the NIH mission.
  • Extraordinary initiative in carrying out activities to improve NIH program operations or to benefit the NIH environment.
  • Remarkable competence, compassion, or heroism in an emergency situation at the NIH.
  • Sustained and exceptional performance beyond regular duty requirements in carrying out a difficult task.

Common Fund Leadership

Purpose

The Common Fund Leadership category of the NIH Director’s Awards is intended to recognize superior performance or special efforts significantly beyond the regular duty requirements that are directly related to fulfilling the NIH mission. A limited number of awards (up to 3) will be selected based on Common Fund Program activities. Nominations by IC Directors or Senior Program Staff who serve as Common Fund Working Group chairs will be considered for individual or groups awards. The nominations will be initially reviewed by the Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI) who will provide recommendations to the NIH Awards Committee and the NIH Director. Please be sure to document in the award submission that the nomination is for 'Common Fund Leadership’ activities' consideration.

Eligibility

All NIH employees.

Criteria

  • Remarkable display of leadership promoting the advancement of the NIH Common Fund Program initiatives and/or their underlying processes.
  • Extraordinary achievement in the application of scientific and/or administrative principles and methods to improve the efficiency or extend the benefits of the NIH Common Fund Program.
  • Discovery or invention of a new principle, process or device of a scientific or science administration nature resulting in a new approach or substantial benefits.
  • Sustained and exceptional performance beyond regular duty requirements in carrying out a difficult task.
  • Outstanding contribution, beyond regular attendance, to a special committee or task force dealing with NIH-wide Common Fund Program policies, procedures or operations.
  • Superior skill and leadership in science and/or administrative management.

Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Award

General Guidelines

  • All nominations must be entered by the nominator through the electronic honorary awards and ranking system, e-HARTS. Hardcopies are not required; however, it is recommended that you keep a hardcopy for your records. Detailed database instructions are available upon request.
  • An IC may nominate one individual who has performed in an exemplary manner while providing mentoring functions and support to others.

Group nominations in this category will not be accepted.

  • Nominations may be initiated by IC management staff or by individuals with knowledge of the mentoring accomplishments of the individual being nominated.
  • The Narrative Justification is limited to 6,000 characters.
  • The narrative of accomplishments must focus on the nominee’s extraordinary contributions in mentoring others, how they exceeded what was expected, and the impact of their contributions on the career development of others. Routine responsibilities should be mentioned only as they establish a context for the accomplishment cited.
  • All nominations must be approved by the nominee’s supervisor and IC Director.
  • The citation for the mentoring award will read: For exemplary performance while demonstrating significant leadership, skill, and ability in serving as a mentor.

Purpose

The Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring 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

All individual NIH employees who are mentoring others are eligible. Groups cannot be nominated for this award.

Criteria

  • Demonstrating positive relationships with individuals through effective communications, active listening, conflict resolution skills, and providing appropriate feedback.
  • Displaying pride in the NIH and valuing its work; understanding its mission, vision, and values, and supporting its initiatives.
  • Exhibiting patience and willingness to spend and provide adequate time serving in the role of mentor.
  • Serving as a role model—teaching and demonstrating high standards of performance, integrity, and ethical conduct.
  • Providing ongoing technical advice and guidance in the specific subject matter area.
  • Supporting visibility through assistance in securing challenging projects and assignments for mentees and discussing his/her accomplishments with others.
  • Motivating and inspiring the mentee to achieve breakthroughs by challenging his/her potential.
  • Helping the mentee to develop important skills, such as strategic planning, time management, organizational awareness, communication and interpersonal skills, leadership, teamwork, and creative thinking.

Alan S. Rabson Award for Clinical Care

General Guidelines

  • All nominations must be entered by the nominator through the electronic honorary awards and ranking system, e-HARTS. Hardcopies are not required; however, it is recommended that you keep a hardcopy for your records. Detailed database instructions are available upon request.
  • The IC may nominate one clinical researcher who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to assisting patients and their families.

Group nominations in this category will not be accepted.

  • Nominations may be initiated by IC management staff or by individuals with knowledge of the accomplishments of the individual being nominated.
  • The Narrative Justification is limited to 6,000 characters.
  • The narrative of accomplishments must focus on the nominee’s contributions, how they exceeded expected results, and the impact of these contributions. Routine responsibilities should be included only as they establish a context for the accomplishment cited.
  • All nominations must be approved by the nominee’s supervisor and IC Director.
  • The citation for the award will read: For scientific and medical excellence and the outstanding, compassionate care for patients and those who love them.

Purpose

The purpose of the 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

All NIH employees who are clinical researchers are eligible. Groups cannot be nominated for this award.

Criteria

  • Showing willingness to go the extra mile to help patients and families who contact the NIH.
  • Demonstrating excellence and dedication to direct patient care.
  • Providing outstanding care while tending to the needs of patients and their families.
  • Serving as a role model for the clinical research profession.
  • Working effectively as a member of a health care team to promote excellence in the delivery of clinical care.
  • Supporting originality, creativity, and innovation in clinical care.

The NIH Work/Life and Well-Being Champion

General Guidelines

  • All nominations must be entered by the nominator through the electronic Honorary Awards and Ranking System, e-HARTS. Hardcopies are not required; however, it is recommended that you keep a hardcopy for your records. Detailed database instructions are available upon request.
  • Nominations may be initiated by an employee, peer, or leader who has witnessed the nominee demonstrating qualities worthy of the award.
  • The Award Citation is limited to 25 words and 255 characters.
  • The Narrative Justification is limited to 6,000 characters.
  • The narrative of accomplishments must focus on the nominee’s distinct contributions, including how they exceeded normal expectations and the specific impact of their contributions. Routine responsibilities should be mentioned only as they establish a context for the accomplishment cited.
  • All nominations must be approved by the nominee’s supervisor and the IC Director.

Purpose

The NIH Work/Life and Well-Being Champion 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

All NIH employees who are supervisors with at least one year of service at the NIH as of the date of nomination. Groups cannot be nominated for this award.

Criteria

  • Must have demonstrated, over a period of time, consistent commitment to their employees’ work/life and well-being in one or more of the following areas:
    • Physical and mental wellness
  • Work schedule flexibilities
  • Social well-being
  • Financial fitness
  • Community involvement
  • Consideration will be given to the number of examples provided, the number of areas of work/life and well-being the employee has worked in, the uniqueness of their actions, any challenges they have had to overcome, and the impact of their actions.

NOTE: EDI and Commission Corp awards are presented at the NIH Director’s Awards ceremony


2019 NIH Director’s Awards Nominations Closure Timeline

IC Awards Coordinators

  • Rank nominations
  • Submit to Host Review Status
  • Email Awards Team

(by February 15)

Awards Team

  • Emails IC specific nominations review sheet to IC Awards Coordinators

(February 19)

IC Awards Coordinators

  • Review data and update e-HARTS

(February 20 – 21)

IC Awards Coordinators

  • Return updated nominations review sheet to Awards Team
  • Copy IC Director on email to Awards Team

(by February 21)

Awards Team

  • Checks nomination review sheets and e-HARTS
  • May contact IC Awards Coordinator with concerns

(February 22-26)


Ceremony Information:

Congratulations to the 2019 NIH Director’s Awards Honorees.  If you were not able to attend the ceremony, your award materials will be delivered to you from your IC Awards Coordinator by the first full week in August.