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2015 NIH Director’s Awards Program Guidelines and Criteria

NIH Director’s Awards

General Guidelines

  • All nominations must be entered by the nominator through the electronic honorary awards and ranking system, e-HARTS.  Hard copies are not required. (However, it is strongly recommended you keep a hard copy for your records.)  Detailed database instructions are available upon request.
  • Individuals or groups may be nominated for awards. 
  • All nominations must contain a majority of Federal employees in a single submission.
  • Group Nominations are limited to 20 individual names, including contractors.  If exceptional circumstances exist to call for an award to include more than 20 people, an exception request may be submitted with the nomination and is limited to a 200 word narrative justification.  The Awards Committee will determine whether or not to grant the exception.
  • Nominations may be initiated by IC management staff, or by individuals with knowledge of the accomplishments of the individual being nominated.
  • All nominations must be approved by the individual’s supervisor and the IC Director.
  • Narrative Justification is limited to 6,000 characters.
  • The narrative of accomplishments must focus on the nominee’s distinct contributions, including how they exceeded what was normally expected and the specific impact of their contributions.  Routine responsibilities should be mentioned only as they establish a context for the accomplishment cited.
  • Award Citation is limited to 25 words and 255 characters.

Categories and Criteria

Purpose:

The Director’s Award is intended to recognize exceptional performance or special efforts significantly beyond the regular duty requirements, and is directly related to fulfilling the NIH mission. Nominations are submitted for one of the four specific categories according to the nature of the act, service or work performance.  The categories and specific eligibility criteria are:

Category 1: Scientific/Medical

Eligibility:

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

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 principle, process or device of a scientific nature resulting in substantial benefits.
  • Remarkable competence, compassion, or heroism in an emergency situation at 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.
  • Superior skill and leadership in science.

Category 2: Administrative

Eligibility:

All NIH employees or groups of NIH employees performing administrative functions such as Budget, Human Resources, Grants Management, Contracts, Accounting, Information Technology, Public Affairs and Communication, etc., to support the scientific mission of the NIH.

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 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.

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 NIH.
  • Sustained and exceptional performance beyond regular duty requirements in carrying out a difficult task.

Category 4:  Common Fund Leadership

Purpose:

The Common Fund Leadership component of the NIH Director’s Awards is intended to recognize superior performance or special efforts significantly beyond the regular duty requirements, and 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 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. Hard copies are not required. (It is strongly recommended that you keep a hard copy 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.
  • All nominations must be approved by the nominee’s supervisor and IC Director.
  • The Justification Narrative 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 these contributions on the career development of others. Routine responsibilities should be included only as they establish a context for the accomplishment cited.
  • 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 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, creative thinking, etc.

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. Hard copies are not required. (It is strongly recommended you keep a hard copy 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.
  • All nominations must be approved by the nominee’s supervisor and IC Director.
  • The Justification Narrative 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.
  • 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.
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