Established in 1959 by the U.S. Congress, the National Medal of Science is the highest recognition the nation can bestow on scientists and engineers. The presidential award is given to individuals deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, engineering, or social and behavioral sciences, in service to the Nation. These broad areas include such disciplines as astronomy, chemistry, computer and information science and engineering, geoscience, materials research, and research on STEM education.


Each year, NSF sends out a call to the scientific community for the nomination of new candidates for the National Medal of Science. Individuals are nominated by their peers, with each nomination requiring a completed nomination form and up to five letters of support (three of which must be from individuals at institutions other than that of the nominee). Nominations are encouraged across the science and engineering community inclusive of individuals from the broad range of geographic, institutional, and demographic diversities represented by our Nation.  


  • Only individuals are eligible for a National Medal of Science.
  • You cannot nominate yourself or an immediate family member. 
  • Nominees must be a U.S. citizen or national, or a permanent resident who is applying for U.S. citizenship.
  • Deceased nominees are eligible for the award until the fifth anniversary of the day of their death.
  • Nobel Prize winners are eligible for awards and are evaluated according to the same considerations as nominees who have not received a Nobel Prize.

Nominations must be submitted through the honorary awards portal (link available here during nomination period). As an example of timing: the honorary awards portal for 2023 was open from February 6 to May 26, 2023. 

Detailed information can be found on the website, including a description of the nomination form and a link an informational webinar (held during the nomination period ~mid-March).

Additional Information