Nomination and Selection Guidelines

Jump to: Nomination Guidelines | Assessment Criteria, Merit Review and Selection | Preparation of Nomination Materials - Instructions & Guidance | FAQs | Additional Information


NOTICE: The deadline to submit nominations for the 2022 SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows Opportunity has passed. Award selections will be announced in a Press Release and posted on this website once available. Nominators will also receive a notification email when selections are made public. Nomination and Selection Guidelines Nomination and Selection Guidelines for Distinguished Fellow Opportunities.

The Office of Science 2022 Distinguished Scientist Fellows Opportunity Nomination Guidelines

The Department of Energy Office of Science (SC) welcomes nominations for the 2022 SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows. Nomination teams should carefully review the updated description of Nomination and Selection Guidelines and FAQs in their entirety (below).

The America COMPETES Act authorized the establishment of a Distinguished Scientist opportunity to develop, sustain, and promote scientific and academic excellence in SC research through collaborations between institutions of higher education and national laboratories. One or more awards are made from among the six SC programs: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Basic Energy Sciences (BES), Biological and Environmental Research (BER), Fusion Energy Science (FES), High Energy Physics (HEP) and Nuclear Physics (NP). A list of the current fellows is available at Office of Science Distinguished Scientist Fellows. Laboratories may nominate a maximum (total) of two (2) individuals.

Successful nominees will receive a one-time total award of $1,000,000 in direct funding, intended to be spent over three years, contingent upon the awardee's continued employment at the National Laboratory at which they received the award. Awards are intended to support activities that develop, sustain, and promote scientific and academic excellence in SC research through collaborations between institutions of higher education and national laboratories. They cannot be used to augment current sponsored research projects.

The selection process for this program is highly competitive. Nomination packages are reviewed by eminent senior scientists who are experts in relevant subject matter areas and together, represent the entire SC research portfolio. Given the prestigious nature of the awards, the quality and detail of the nomination packages should be comparable to those prepared for similar high-level awards from professional societies.


Eligibility Requirements
  • Nominees must be full time employees of any DOE National Laboratory at the time of nomination.
  • Nominees must have been permanent employees for a minimum of 10 (cumulative) years within the DOE National Laboratory system.
  • Nominees must show sustained scientific excellence in research that is supported by DOE and is relevant to SC programs.
  • Nominees must be either Citizens of the United States or Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States.

Jump to Eligibility FAQs.


Nominations
  • Nominations must be made by National Laboratory employees of the nominee’s current institution. Nominations may be initiated by prospective nominees, colleagues, supervisors, or laboratory management. Nomination packages prepared solely by the nominee are discouraged.
  • Nominations must also be endorsed by the Laboratory Director of the nominee’s current institution.
  • The SC encourages nominations of individuals from underrepresented groups. Read the SC’s Statement of Commitment to foster safe, diverse, equitable, and inclusive work, research, and funding environments.

Nomination packages must include the following materials, submitted via PeerNet.

  • A letter of nomination and justification. (Limit 9000 characters; about 1,200 words.)
  • A nomination endorsement statement from the nominee’s Laboratory Director. (Limit 375 characters; about 50 words.)
  • Selection of a primary (required) and secondary (optional) program office award category for the nominee (Advanced Scientific Computing Research; Basic Energy Sciences; Biological and Environmental Research; Fusion Energy Sciences; High Energy Physics; Nuclear Physics).
  • A statement explaining the nominee’s connection to DOE support and its relevancy to SC programs. (Limit 6,000 characters; about 800 words.)
  • Letters of recommendation (4 to 6) from individuals who are familiar with the nominee’s work. (Limit 9,000 characters each; about 1,200 words.)
  • A suggested citation summarizing and highlighting the nominee’s relevant research, technical, leadership, and service achievements. The citation should make clear the specific reason(s) for making this award to the nominee and provide a holistic summary of achievements. (Limit 275 characters; about 35 words.)
  • Biographical Sketch (curriculum vitae) of the nominee. (Limit 15,000 characters; about 2,000 words.) The biographical sketch must include several elements described in the Preparation of Nomination Materials - Instructions & Guidance, Biographical Sketch subsection.

Jump to: Preparation of Nomination Materials - Instructions & Guidance and/or Nomination Submission FAQs for additional requirements and guidance for nominators and letter of recommendation authors.


Nomination Deadline

SC welcomes up to two nominations from each of the 17 DOE National Laboratories for the 2022 SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows Opportunity by the submission deadline, Monday, March 14, 2022, 5:00 PM Eastern.

All nomination materials and letters of recommendation for the SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows Opportunity must be submitted via the online nomination system by the deadline. No materials will be accepted after the submission deadline has passed.


Nomination Submission System

Nominations are made online using PeerNet. Access is via a limited distribution URL, available upon request made to SC.Fellows@science.doe.gov. All requests must originate from a DOE laboratory email address and can only be made by National Laboratory employees from the institution that employs the nominee. 

It is strongly suggested that lead nominators read this website in its entirety for additional FAQs related to PeerNet. During an open nomination solicitation, the online system requires nominators to input all required elements comprising a nomination package as text input fields, including letter of recommendation author information and letter text.

Jump to: Nomination Submission FAQs.


Assessment Criteria, Merit Review, and Selection

Assessment Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows nominees:

  • Evidence of scientific leadership and engagement with academic and university research community.
  • Evidence of sustained scientific excellence and significant scientific achievement.
  • Honors and awards.
  • Quality of high impact peer-reviewed publications, or equivalent.1
  • Research relevance to programmatic goals in ASCR, BES, BER, FES, HEP, or NP.
  • Service to the research community through agency, professional society, or advisory work.
  • Significant mentoring of early career scientists or engineers.
  • Evidence of a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

1 Issued patents, copyrights, and software systems developed may be substituted for publications.

Merit Review

To be considered, a nominee must meet all eligibility criteria and have a nomination package comprising all required materials. To assess eligibility, and prior to the comprehensive merit evaluation, an initial review of all nomination packages will be conducted. Only those nominees meeting all requirements will be advanced for merit review. The nomination materials uploaded and received via PeerNet will provide the sole basis for the review and selection of nominees.

Eligible nominees will be evaluated by an independent peer-review panel of distinguished scientists. The peer review will comprise a thorough, consistent, and objective examination of eligible nominees based on pre-established criteria by persons, selected by Federal Officials, to serve as reviewers. Reviewers must be independent of the nominees and must comply with all applicable DOE rules or directives concerning the use of outside evaluators. Reviewers may not participate in the merit review of a nominee where this is a conflict of interest. The identity of all reviewers shall remain anonymous, and all nomination and review materials shall remain confidential.

Reviewers are expected to provide independent reviews for each nominee they have been assigned to evaluate. Reviewers are not empaneled as a Federal Advisory Committee and therefore will not be asked to form formal consensus opinions regarding nominees under review. All merit reviewers serve as evaluators and their recommendations are not binding.

As part of their evaluation, reviewers will be asked to provide their individual overall assessment of the nominees in the form of an adjective score and a rank ordering. Scores and rankings are only one component of evaluations used to inform selection officials and will be interpreted within the context of full reviewer evaluations.

Selection

In the context of the assessment criteria, Senior SC Federal Officials will review the nomination packages and the peer reviewer’s final evaluations, and analyze each reviewer’s independent evaluation of, and recommendation regarding, the submitted nominations. Selection officials may also consider the balance of nominations among SC programs and the balance of institutional representation. Using this analysis, Federal Officials will prepare a Selection Statement identifying those nominees, if any, being recommended for the award. The Selection Statement will document the rationale supporting the recommendations.


Preparation of Nomination Materials – Instructions and Guidance

The submitted nomination materials will provide the sole basis for the reviews. Materials should convey specific and factual evidence for worthiness in the context of all the assessment criteria Nominators are encouraged to consider the interdisciplinary nature of the SC-wide merit review panel, and to include a succinct, compelling description of the nature, impact, and importance of the nomination.

Letter of Nomination and Justification  

This section, in the context of the assessment criteria, should highlight the nominee’s outstanding scientific, technological, management, and/or policy achievements underpinning the nomination, and fully describe where and how the achievements have provided leadership and impact related to the DOE SC and its components. Examples of information of interest include, but are not limited to, invited and/or public lectures, awards received, scientific program committees, conference or workshop organization, professional society activities, engagement with academic and university research communities, international or industrial partnerships, reviewing or editorship activities, mentoring of early career researchers, efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, or other scientific leadership or service experiences. (Limit 9000 characters; about 1,200 words.)

Connection to DOE Support and Relevance to SC Programs Statement

This section, in the context of the assessment criteria and eligibility requirements, should explain the nominee’s connection to DOE support and relevancy to SC programs and mission. Eligibly requires sustained scientific excellence in research that is supported by DOE and is relevant to SC programs. To fulfill this requirement, nominators must select at least one, and up to two, SC program offices for their nominee(s), also making clear how and why there is relevancy to the selected program(s). Available resources describing SC’s research mission include, but are not limited to, the archives of its budget narratives, its Funding Opportunity Announcements, and its program office descriptions. Information should provide clear and compelling evidence of sustained excellence and relevancy to DOE SC programs.  (Limit 6,000 characters; about 800 words.)

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation, in the context of the assessment criteria, should highlight the nominee’s outstanding scientific, technological, management, and/or policy achievement(s) underpinning the nomination, provide evidence of a commitment to leadership and engagement with academic and university research communities, provide evidence of a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and fully describe where and how the achievements have provided leadership and impact related to the DOE/SC and its components. Examples of information of interest include, but are not limited to, invited and/or public lectures, awards received, scientific program committees, conference or workshop organization, professional society activities, special international or industrial partnerships, reviewing or editorship activities, mentoring of early career researchers, or other scientific leadership or service experiences. Briefly identifying how you are aware of the nominee and their work is also beneficial. Required information includes the reference’s name, position, affiliation, and letter text.  (Limit 9000 characters for the letter text; about 1,200 words.)

Citation

The suggested citation should summarize and highlight the nominee’s relevant research, technical, leadership, and service achievement(s) and impact(s). The citation should be well-supported by the research and synergistic accomplishments and impacts described in the Letter of Nomination and Justification. Citations may be revised based on recommendations from reviewers or SC staff. (Limit 275 characters; about 35 words.)

Endorsement Statement by Laboratory Director

Nominations must be endorsed by the Laboratory Director of the nominee’s current institution. (Limit 375 characters; about 50 words.)

Biographical Sketch

The biographical sketch must include the following elements, but is not limited to these elements:

  • Education and Training: Undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training, provide institution, major/area, degree, and year.
  • Research and Professional Experience: Beginning with the current position list, in chronological order, professional/academic positions with a brief description. The total number of years employed at the DOE national laboratories should be specified.
  • Publications: Provide a list of up to 10 high-impact publications. For each publication, identify the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article title, book or journal title, volume number, page numbers, year of publication, and website address if available electronically. Issued patents, copyrights, and software systems developed may be substituted for publications. Brief explanation(s) of authorship practice(s) or contributions to the published work by the nominee may be included.   
  • Synergistic Activities: List no more than 5 professional and scholarly activities that demonstrate the nominee’s service to the research community through agency, professional society, or advisory work.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Activities: List no more than 5 professional or scholarly activities that demonstrate a commitment to DEI. Activities here should have a clear DEI link or relevance.

As part of the sketch, provide information that can be used by reviewers to evaluate the nominee’s demonstrated and potential leadership and service within the scientific community. Examples of information of interest are invited and/or public lectures, awards received, scientific program committees, conference or workshop organization, professional society activities, special international or industrial partnerships, reviewing or editorship activities, or other scientific leadership experiences. Nominee activities that demonstrate significant mentoring of early career scientists or engineers, demonstrate a commitment to DEI, increase awareness of careers in science, mathematics, and engineering, add recognition to the scientific missions of SC and DOE, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, or highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation's future are of interest and should be included. (Limit 15,000 characters; about 2,000 words.)

Materials to Omit

Nomination packages should not include preliminary proposals or information regarding how funds may be used if the nominee is selected for award.  

Nomination packages should not include personally identifiable information (PII) such as date of birth, social security number, etc.

Omit any secondary publications and non-archival materials from the nominee’s biographical sketch and do not include complete articles as part of the nomination.

Additional Considerations 

Competitive nomination packages often have the following, general qualities:

  • Present a cohesive, compelling case that clearly addresses each of the assessment criteria.
  • Provide delineating descriptions of the nominee’s specific contributions, actions, and impacts.
  • Include clear descriptions and metrics supporting accomplishments underlying the nomination.
  • Statements of impact and significance are supported by evidence and provide contextual information for evaluating how the nominee compares to peers in their field(s), when appropriate.
  • Include high-level summary statements of accomplishments relevant and consistent with the field and professional expectations of the nominee.
  • Letter of support authors include knowledgeable experts and leaders in relevant fields and speak to having direct knowledge of the nominee’s work and/or impacts of achievements, the nominee’s standing in their professional field(s), and/or the impacts of the nominee’s service-leadership roles, including building and/or leading collaborations, mentoring, and advancing DEI.
  • The Laboratory Director’s Endorsement and Suggested Citation are well-justified by other nomination components and provide a holistic summary of nominee’s accomplishments and/or impacts through research, collaborations, leadership, and service activities, in areas relevant to DOE SC mission.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Jump to: Eligibility FAQs | Nomination Content & Definitions FAQs | Nomination Submission FAQsSelections and Funding FAQs


Eligibility FAQs

I want to nominate a DOE Lab employee who maintains a joint appointment at the university and receives salary from the university.  Are they still eligible?

The nominee’s activities should reflect a significant level of engagement at the lab. It should be obvious to the reviewers that the nominee is a lab scientist in more than just name.

May all DOE National Laboratories participate in this opportunity?

Yes. All 17 DOE National Laboratories may participate, but each is limited to no more than two nominations.

Why are nominations from institutions conducting DOE sponsored research, other than DOE labs, excluded from this opportunity?

This is an effort to strengthen support for the National Laboratory system and to provide National Laboratory scientists with access to an opportunity and honor similar to some that are available to scientists outside the National Laboratory structure.

I want to nominate a DOE laboratory employee who also maintains a joint appointment at a university. Are they still eligible?

Yes. SC recognizes that many labs have co-appointed staff.

I understand that eligible nominees must have a minimum of 10 years of employment history at a DOE national laboratory. Does this have to be 10 years at the same DOE laboratory?

No. The 10-years employment history at a DOE lab eligibility requirement is cumulative, and the nominee could have acquired this employment history at one or more DOE national laboratories.

I have an employee who will reach 10 years of employment at my laboratory after the deadline but in its same year, can they still be nominated?

No. Nominees must meet all eligibility requirements at the time of application, which is no later than by the nomination solicitation deadline.

Is there a maximum number of years an employee at a DOE laboratory beyond which they are no longer eligible to be nominated?

No. However, it is recommended that nominators carefully consider the anticipated lasting impact that their nominees will make during and after a Fellowship opportunity appointment.

Must the nominee be, or have been, an Office of Science (SC) sponsored research investigator?

No. However, nominees must show sustained scientific excellence in research that is supported by DOE holding relevancy to SC programs. To fulfill this requirement, nominators must select at least one, and up to two, SC program offices for their nominee(s), also making clear how and why there is relevancy. Available resources describing SC’s research mission include, but are not limited to, the archives of its budget narratives, its Funding Opportunity Announcements, and its program office descriptions.


Nomination Content & Definitions FAQs

Are there additional examples of suitable information to include in the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Activities” section of the Biosketch?

Activities here should have a clear DEI link or relevance. Examples of information of interest include, but are not limited to: honors, awards, memberships, and speaking engagements; leadership and organizational roles at your home institution, professional societies, or similar; history of mentoring scholars and students from underrepresented and underserved communities through formal and informal programs; participation in recruitment and retention activities; service on committees and initiatives focused on advancing DEI; engagement or collaborations with underrepresented and underserved groups or institutions; professional development and training; policy development. This section may contain activities that may also fit within other elements; duplication is acceptable. SC will consider all of the information relevant to this section that is put elsewhere and vice versa, as appropriate.

Are there additional examples of suitable information to include in the “Synergistic Activities” section of the Biosketch?

Examples of information of interest include, but are not limited to: invited and/or public lectures, presentations, awards received, participation on scientific program committees, conference or workshop organization, professional society activities, special international or industrial partnerships, reviewing or editorship activities, generating open source data, tools, and resources, or other scientific leadership experiences; activities that increase awareness of careers in science, mathematics, and engineering, add recognition to the scientific missions of SC and DOE, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, or highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation's future are of interest and should be included.

How does the Office of Science define Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? 

For the purposes of this award, SC defines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as follows:

Diversity: Diversity refers to the dimensions of human differences including, but not limited to, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, culture, language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, family structure, geographic differences, diversity of thought, technical expertise, neurodiversity, and life experiences. Diversity is a property of groups, not individuals. An individual cannot be diverse, but groups of individuals can possess diversity.

Equity: Equity is an approach that ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities and distribution of resources. It is a process, or collection of processes, that acknowledges uneven starting places and continues to correct and address the imbalance.

Inclusion: Inclusion is an outcome of intentional engagement in which all individuals and groups are treated fairly and respectfully, are welcomed and supported, and are made to feel valued as being essential to the mission and success of the institution.


Nomination Submission FAQs

How do I access the PeerNet nomination submission portal?

Access to this portal is via a limited distribution URL. This URL is available upon request made to SC.Fellows@science.doe.gov. All requests must originate from a DOE laboratory email address.

How do I enter nomination information into the PeerNet system?

The nomination system will guide you through the submission process. Lead nominators and invited contributors may enter information into the system.

It is suggested that nominators collect and draft all required nomination package materials before entering text into the PeerNet System. Once collected, these materials can be input to PeerNet by copying and pasting, say from MSWord. When pasting the copied input, it is highly recommended that one uses the paste tool within PeerNet, which should help preserve any special formatting or fonts.

How do I format and submit a letter of recommendation?

Letter of recommendation authors should provide materials to lead nominators in a format that supports copy/paste functions. Required information includes your (reference’s) name, position, affiliation and letter text. Letters of recommendation are entered via text input boxes; document uploading is not supported. Letter of recommendation authors can be designated as contributors by the lead nominator.

To whom should the reference letters be addressed to?

There is no need to include addressee information in any of the materials.

How do I submit a nomination?

Nomination packages must be submitted using a designated PeerNet portal. The lead nominator is the only role that can submit final nomination materials in the PeerNet system. A lead nominator can invite contributors to help edit and enter text into the system only. While contributors may edit a submission, they may not initiate or submit on the lead nominator’s behalf.

What if I miss the nomination submission deadline?

All nomination materials and letters of recommendation must be uploaded into the PeerNet online nomination system and submitted by the nomination deadline. No materials will be accepted after the submission deadline has passed.

How do I save my work in PeerNet?

If a nomination is started, then some placeholder input (e.g., as simple as “TBD”) needs to be in ALL Questions/Sections of a Nomination’s input fields prior to exiting the system or leaving the webpage. Otherwise, nothing will be saved. Preview and Submit are disabled until you save all sections. Once you save all sections, you are directed to generate a compiled pdf of your submission. The system compiles all your responses into one pdf file. Note each nomination is considered one section, therefore you need to enter required information in a Nomination at the same time in order to save it. 

Can I edit a nomination in PeerNet after it has been submitted? If so, how?

Yes. At any time prior to the submission deadline nominators can edit a nomination. To edit a nomination that has been submitted, select “edit nomination”. This will retract your initial submission and allow you to go back and revise the text previously entered. You will not have to re-enter your text if you need to edit your submission. However, you must re-submit the nomination to be considered for review. Unsubmitted nominations will not be considered.

What happens if I “retract” my nomination? Is this the same as “edit”?

When updating a nomination, you will be asked to retract it. Therefore, you will be required to re-submit the nomination after you make changes. You must re-submit the nomination to be considered for review. Unsubmitted nominations will not be considered.

Can I delete a nomination?

Yes. At any time prior to the submission deadline nominators may delete a nomination. This will result in a complete loss of text previously entered in the system.

Who do I contact for technical assistance using PeerNet?

The PeerNet technical point-of-contact at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is Julie Webber (Julie.Webber@orau.org).


Selections and Funding FAQs

When will the Fellows be announced?

Selections are announced following the external peer review and concurrence by SC leadership.

How may Fellows use their award?

These awards are intended to support activities that develop, sustain, and promote scientific and academic excellence in SC research through collaborations between institutions of higher education and national laboratories. They cannot be used to augment current sponsored research projects.


Additional Information

Additional questions about the SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows Opportunity may be addressed to SC.Fellows@science.doe.gov

DOE employees must comply with regulations governing conduct of employees codified in 10 CFR Part 1010 and Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch at 5 CFR Part 2635.