SURA Distinguished Service Awards

In 2006, the Board of Trustees established two SURA 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.)

wanglSURA presented its 2016 Distinguished Scientist Award to Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Tech University on April 13, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (See Press Release.)

[L to R] Jerry P. Draayer, SURA President & CEO; Fred King, SURA Development & Relations Committee Chair and VP for Research, West Virginia University; Wang; Betsy Beise, SURA Board of Trustees Chair and Associate Provost, University of Maryland; James O’Connor, Georgia Tech CIO; Hugh Montgomery, JSA President & Jefferson Lab Director.

The Development & Relations Committee is charged with soliciting, screening and selecting the recipient of the SURA Distinguished Scientist Award to be presented at the Spring 2017 Board Meeting. The nominees, voting process, nomination process, and award description are below:

2017 SURA Distinguished Scientist Award Nomination Process & Timeline

The Development & Relations Committee will solicit and screen nominations, and select the recipient of the award with its $10,000 honorarium for presentation at SURA’s Spring Board of Trustees meeting.  Joining in the award balloting will be past award recipients who will be invited to participate.  The following guidelines will govern the nomination process:

(1) Only SURA Board of Trustees and Council of Presidents members are eligible to submit a nomination (limited to one nomination per SURA member institution.)

(2) All nomination materials must be submitted in electronic form and directed to the SURA Chief Public Affairs Officer, who will support the Committees’ work, at

(3) The nomination period will close on December 2, 2016 at 5 p.m. EST, to insure adequate time for committee deliberation and advance notification of the recipient.

(4) Nomination materials should include:

  • A concise letter of nomination on the qualifications of the nominee from the trustee or president, as well as contact information for the nominee;
  • A comprehensive and up-to-date curriculum vitae or biographical sketch of the nominee; and
  • Up to five additional letters of endorsement, submitted on behalf of a nominee, limited to 2 pages each. (Letters from outside the institution are particularly desirable.)

(5) Preference will be given to a scientist who resides at a SURA member institution or facility and whose activities have also had impact beyond his/her institutional boundaries. The committee encourages broad diversity and will be mindful of both past institutional and gender representation with respect to previous awardees, in considering the 2017 award.

(6) No Board of Trustee member within the past two years, nor previous recipients, will be eligible for the Distinguished Scientist Award. No nomination from a previous year can be considered unless re-nominated.

Spring 2016: GA Tech Nanotech Professor Honored As Distinguished Scientist
Spring 2015: SURA Honors Florida University Pharmacy Dean As Distinguished Scientist
Spring 2014: SURA Honors Georgia Tech Biologist As Distinguished Scientist
Spring 2013: Rice University IT Professor Named SURA Distinguished Scientist
Fall 2012: SURA to Honor Task Force for American Innovation
Spring 2012: SURA Honors University of Georgia Chemist As Distinguished Scientist
Fall 2011: SURA to Honor Former NSF Director, White House Science Advisor
Spring 2011: U of SC Chemist Named SURA Distinguished Scientist
Fall 2010: SURA to Honored Former Governor Robb
Spring 2010: UT Austin Professor Named SURA Distinguished Scientist
Fall 2009: Augustine Honored with Friend of Science Award
Spring 2009: SURA Names U of TX Chemist “Distinguished Scientist”
Spring 2008: U of FL Microbiologist Named SURA Distinguished Scientist
Fall 2007: Senator Warner Awarded “Friend of Science” by SURA
Spring 2007: UGA Biologist, Wessler, Named SURA Distinguished Scientist
Fall 2006: Senator Alexander Honored with “Friend of Science” Award

* SURA Distinguished Friend of Science Award – (To be presented at the Fall 2016 Board of Trustees meeting, selected by the SURA Executive Committee) Presented to an individual whose extraordinary efforts fulfill the SURA mission of strengthening “the scientific and technical capabilities of the Southeast and nation.” This award is to be presented to an individual whose extraordinary efforts in the private sector, or in a federal, state or local governmental capacity serve, or have served, to fulfill the SURA mission. The award comes with a $10,000 honorarium, which can be designated to a higher education charitable cause.

* SURA Distinguished Scientist Award – (To be presented at SURA Spring 2017 Board of Trustees meeting hosted at a SURA member institution campus.) Presented to a research scientist from a SURA member institution whose extraordinary work fulfills the SURA mission of fostering “excellence in scientific research.” (Preference will be given to a scientist who has performed his/her research at a SURA member institution.) No person may be eligible for the Distinguished Scientist Award who is/or has been a Board of Trustees member within the past two years. The award comes with a $10,000 cash honorarium.