Nomination and Selection Guidelines

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


The Office of Science 2021 Distinguished Scientist Fellows Opportunity Nomination Guidelines

The America COMPETES Act authorized the establishment of a Distinguished Scientist opportunity to develop, sustain, and promote scientific and academic excellence in Office of Science (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 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. 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 be either Citizens of the United States or Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States.
  • Nominees must show sustained scientific excellence in research that is supported by DOE and is relevant to SC programs.

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/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.)
    • No more than two recommendations may be from the nominee’s current Laboratory.
  • A suggested citation summarizing and highlighting the nominee’s achievement. The citation should make clear the specific reason for making this award to the nominee. (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, but is not limited to:
    • 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.
    • 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. (Please omit any secondary publications and non-archival materials from the nominee’s bibliography and do not include complete articles as part of the nomination.)
    • 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.

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


Nomination Deadline

The SC welcomes up to two nominations for the 2021 SC Distinguished Scientist Fellows Program from each of the 17 DOE National Laboratories by the submission deadline, 5:00 PM Eastern, Friday, May 7th, 2021.

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 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 Materials and 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.
  • 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.

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 evaluators. These evaluators must be independent of the nominees and must comply with all applicable DOE rules or directives concerning the use of outside evaluators. Reviewers with a conflict of interest may not participate in the merit review of a nominee. The identity of all reviewers shall remain anonymous, and all nomination and review materials shall remain confidential.

Evaluators are expected to provide independent reviews for each nominee they have been assigned to evaluate. Evaluators 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 overall individual assessment of the nominees in the form of an adjective score and a rank ordering. Scores are only one component of evaluations used to inform selection officials and will be interpreted within the context of full reviewer evaluations.

Selection

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

The submitted nomination materials will provide the sole basis for the reviews. When preparing a nomination, it is suggested that materials convey specific and factual evidence for worthiness in the context of all the assessment criteria.  

Nomination Letter

It is suggested that the Nomination Letter, in the context of the assessment criteria, highlight the nominee’s outstanding scientific, technological, management, and/or policy achievements underpinning this 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.)

Letters of Recommendation

It is suggested that the recommendation letters, in the context of the assessment criteria, highlight the nominee’s outstanding scientific, technological, management, and/or policy achievement(s) underpinning this 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 achievement(s) and should generally be based on the high-level research and synergistic accomplishments and impacts described in the Letter of Justification. (Limit 275 characters; about 35 words.)

Biographical Sketch

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, 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. Please also ensure that the sketch does not contain any personally identifiable information (PII) such as date of birth, social security number, etc. (Limit 15,000 characters; about 2,000 words.)

Required elements of the biographical sketch are listed previously under Nominations Guidelines.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Jump to: Eligibility FAQs | Nomination Materials and Submission FAQs | Selections 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 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 Materials and 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 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 Nomination #1’s input fields prior to exiting. 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 Nomination #1 at the same time in order to save it.  Nomination #2 is optional, but you must select it, scroll to the bottom of page, and save a blank nomination in order to preview and submit required nomination.

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 peer review and concurrence by Office of Science (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.