NIH Employee Award Categories

This is an honor award granted by the Department and is conferred by the Secretary for service that significantly advanced the Department's mission and goals. It represents a display(s) of leadership, skill, ability, and customer service performed in such a manner that the team and/or the employee performed significantly above those with similar duties, and that the results of these efforts were distinctly beneficial to the Department. This award is an appropriately inscribed plaque.

NIH Director's Award

The purpose of the NIH Director's Award is to recognize employees who exhibited superior performance or special efforts significantly beyond their regular duty requirements, but directly related to fulfilling the NIH mission.

Coordinated by the NIH Office of Human Resources (OHR), the NIH 2018 Director’s Awards program honors employees through their work in the following categories:

  • NIH Director's Awards
    • Scientific/Medical
    • Administrative
    • Technical/Clerical/Support
  • Common Fund Leadership
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein Mentoring Awards
  • Alan S. Rabson Award for Clinical Care
  • NIH Work/Life and Well-Being Champion Award

Award Categories, Eligibility, and Criteria

Submit nominations for the 2019 NIH Director’s Awards by Friday, February 15, 2019. Contact your IC Awards Coordinator for deadlines within each Institute.

The 2018 NIH Director's Awards ceremony was held on August 29, 2018, at 2:00pm in the Ruth L. Kirschstein auditorium in the Natcher facility. All NIH employees are encouraged to congratulate their colleagues and view the ceremony through the NIH Videocast. Photos from the ceremony are provided below: 

2018 NIH Director's Awards

Contact the NIH Awards Team by email at if you have questions or need additional information.

NIH Employee Recognition Award

NIH employee recognition awards include, Special Act, On-the-Spot, Performance, Time Off, QSI, Referral, Suggestion & Invention.

  • NIH Awards Handbook
  • NIH Employee Awards Program
    • Appendix A: Eligibility for Monetary Recognition
    • Appendix B: Eligibility for Non-Monetary Recognition
    • Appendix C: Monetary Awards Categories
    • Appendix D: Non-Monetary Award Categories
    • Appendix E: Tangible Benefits and Intangible Benefits Scales
    • Appendix F: Other Awards

NIH Employee Referral Award Program

HHS Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service Nomination Deadline: Usually January 5th each year, or the first regular workday following January 5th, if the 5th is a weekend or holiday

IC Merit/Director’s Awards

IC Merit/Director's Awards are awarded by IC Directors and NIH Deputy and Associate Directors to recognize individuals or groups whose superior service and achievement warrant special appreciation.

Non-HHS Awards

Various organizations outside the Department sponsor awards for which HHS employees may be nominated. The eligibility and criteria requirements for each type of award are described in the OPM's Annual Honor Awards Planning Guide.

OPM Presidential Rank Awards