Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) Distinguished Scientist Award

In 2006, the SURA Board of Trustees established two Distinguished Service Awards: the Distinguished Scientist Award and the Distinguished Friend of Science Award. These are presented to individuals who have worked to support the SURA mission “to advance collaborative research and to strengthen the scientific capabilities of its members and nation.” (Awards come with a cash honorarium.)

SURA Distinguished Scientist Award Website


Annually, the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) issues a call for nominations for its Distinguished Scientist Award.  Each member university is allowed to submit a single nominee for consideration each year. 

1.  Selection begins with solicitation of internal nominations.

2.  Self nominations are permitted.

3.  No person may be eligible for the Distinguished Scientist Award who is or has been a SURA Board of Trustees member within the past two years.

AU Internal Process

SURA normally distributes a call for nominations for its Distinguished Scientist Award in mid-September, with a deadline of mid-December.  As soon as practical after SURA opens its nomination period, Auburn University OVPRED will put out a call for internal nominations, to be distributed to and disseminated by the Associate Deans for Research.  They or others may make nominations of qualified candidates, and prospective candidates may self-nominate. 

Internal nomination materials should include

  1. A one-page self-assessment of the candidate’s research quality, quantity, and impact in the form of a table that includes, but is not limited to, the following as shown below:

Total number of peer-reviewed journal articles


Total $ amount of extramural funding


Total number of book chapters


Published/edited books




Total number of citations (such as Google Scholar citations)




The most prestigious publications such as those published in Science, Nature etc. (Please list both the number and the journal.)


Significant awards and recognition (List both the source and the number.)


Significant products and creative output


Major economic and/or other impact




  1. A current CV in any format of the candidate’s choosing to follow the summary table.

An internal nomination deadline will be established, to allow sufficient time for evaluation of the nominations, selection of a finalist, and preparation of a full external nomination package by the finalist.  Once the internal nomination period closes, the nomination materials will be sent electronically to a selection committee representing all of Auburn University’s colleges/schools (currently the Creative Research & Scholarship Awards committee) for scoring as detailed below. 


Committee members will be asked to provide a score for each candidate (lowest score is 1 and highest score is 10).  Scores are different from rankings.  For instance, many of the applicants may deserve a minimal score of 5 (as an example), and several people can get the same score if the evaluator feels they are similar.  Evaluators should start with their best candidate, who should receive a 10.  If their top choice is a tie, both receive a 10.  All scores for each candidate will be averaged.

If a clear frontrunner emerges from this process, that person will be Auburn University’s nominee for the external award.  In the event of a tie, the committee will be asked to rank the tied contenders, in the order of first and second choices with the first being the top candidate. 

The selected finalist and those not selected will be notified of the outcome by letter.  The chosen finalist’s Dean, Department Head, Associate Dean for Research (and nominator, if applicable) will also be notified.  The OVPRED will set a deadline by which the finalist must submit a full package of nomination materials electronically, several days in advance of the external deadline set by SURA. The finalist carries the full responsibility to provide the full package to the OVPRED in a timely fashion. Failure to deliver a full application package on time will lead to potential sanctions that may exclude the applicant from seeking significant awards for a period of time.

In the full nomination package, SURA requires the following:

● A concise (1 page) summary of your qualifications for the award;

● Your contact information;

● A comprehensive and up-to-date curriculum vitae or biographical sketch; and

● Up to five letters of endorsement (addressed to SURA), limited to 2 pages each.  (Letters from outside Auburn University are particularly desirable.)

Presentation of Award

SURA presents its Distinguished Scientist Award at its annual Spring Board of Trustees meeting, held at a SURA member institution campus.  The award comes with an honorarium.