This article is published in the August 2023 issue.

NSF Accepting Nominations for the 2023 Alan T. Waterman Award

National Science Foundation (NSF)By Maddy Hunter, Program Associate, CCC

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Alan T. Waterman Award. NSF’s highest honor for early-career researchers, the annual award recognizes exceptional individual achievement in any field of science or engineering supported by NSF.

“The Alan T. Waterman Award plays a crucial role in supporting and motivating the next generation of innovators, which is of paramount importance in the computing discipline since computing permeates nearly every aspect of our lives,” said Tracy Camp, Executive Director and CEO of CRA.

In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over five years for scientific research at the institution of the recipient’s choice.

Complete nomination packages are due by September 15, 2023 and may be submitted via the nomination portal on the NSF Waterman website.

Selection criteria and eligibility 

Nominees should have demonstrated “exceptional individual achievements in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality, originality, innovation and significant impact on the field to place them at the forefront of their peers.” NSF seeks nominations from a range of institution types, and that represent the diversity of the nation.

In order to be eligible, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, 40 years of age or younger, and not more than 10 years beyond receipt of the Ph.D. degree by December 31st of the year in which they are nominated.

Past recipients 

The award was established by Congress in August 1975 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the NSF and to honor its first Director.

The 2022 winners were Dr. Daniel B. Larremore (University of Colorado Boulder), for using models to curb the spread and impact of the Covid-19; Dr. Lara A. Thompson, (University of the District of Columbia), for pioneering innovations in rehabilitation engineering; and Dr. Jessica E. Tierney (University of Arizona), for advances in the reconstruction of past climate change and furthering the understanding of future climate change.

Dr. Larremore marks the fifth Computer Scientist to receive the award since it began in 1976. Other recent winners from CS include:

  • Mark Braverman, Princeton University, with NSF Director France Córdova, who was recognized for his manifold contributions to theoretical computer science and mathematics in 2019.
  • Mung Chiang, Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, who was recognized for his fundamental contributions to the analysis, design, and performance optimization of wireless networks in 2013.
  • Scott J. Aaronson, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, who was recognized for numerous fundamental contributions to quantum computing and theoretical computer science and for popularization of quantum information science in 2012.
  • Robert J. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, who was recognized for his development of multi-scale, multi-material fabrication methods for automated monolithic assembly of high performance, innovative robots in 2012.

“Early-career researchers are vital to future visions for computing research,” said Ann Schwartz, Director of CRA’s Computing Community Consortium (CCC). “Nominating these researchers is a great way to ensure advancements in computing are recognized and continue.”

Nomination webinar 

NSF will be hosting an informational webinar on submitting Waterman Award nominations on Thursday, August 10 at 2 pm ET. Visit the NSF Waterman website for additional details on the award’s history, the nomination procedure, and the selection criteria.