For Prize Selection Committees

Guidelines for Prize Committees

Guidelines for Conflict of Interest for Prize Selection Committees

Procedures and Roles

Rules for Multiple Winners

SIAM Prize Portal User Instructions [PDF, 1MB]

Guidelines for Prize Committees

SIAM Prizes are established to highlight the best work in our community. They are intended to recognize individual achievement and to showcase the work of our community to the outside world.

Various SIAM Prizes have been established each with a different purpose or demographic---for senior researchers (lifetime achievement), for mid-career researchers, early career researchers or students.

The following guidelines augment, but do not supersede, existing prize specifications.

  1. Committees should pay careful attention to written nomination packages. Individuals have made considerable effort to generate a nomination package.

  2. Committees should consider carefully the purpose and intent of the prize, and measure the nominations against the purpose listed in the prize specifications. The selection committee should take care to not simply choose from names of nominees known to the committee members.

  3. Competing nominations must be well documented.  A copy of any nomination package received by the chair or another member of the committee should be forwarded to the prize administrators at the SIAM office. The SIAM office will disseminate all packages and archive the nominations for an appropriate period of time.

  4. The prize committee is encouraged to help promote the prize and advertise the open call for nominations. Any nomination must be submitted along with appropriate documentation to the SIAM office. This does not mean that prize committee members may make nominations; prize selection committee members must abide by the Conflict of Interest guidelines.

  5. A committee may conclude that no prize should be awarded if it feels that there is no nomination of sufficiently high quality.

  6. SIAM is working over the next three years or so towards imposing lower bounds on the number of nominations that must be received in order for a prize to be awarded and strongly encourages prize committees to ensure receipt of a sufficient number of nominations representing the best of the field. A rough guide is 6 nominations for major prizes and 3 for SIAG prizes.

  7. Discussions should be open to all selection committee members. Any discussions of prize nominations/selections should preferably be at a meeting set in advance (most likely a teleconference) with all invited to participate, or by email with everyone on the committee included. Exceptions can be made for conflicts of interest [see here].

  8. Previous nominations will roll over for one cycle when it makes sense to do so. For example, it makes sense to roll over a nomination for a lifetime achievement award but not for a best dissertation prize (since there is a small window of eligibility in the latter case). This is a SIAM policy decision and not the decision of the selection committee or its chair. The SIAM office will include the rolled-over nominations in the packages of nominations that it distributes to the committee.

  9. The membership of the prize committee will be made public at the time of the announcement of the call for nominations.  Members of the prize committee are not eligible for nomination but may themselves make nominations.

Guidelines for Conflict of Interest for Prize Selection Committees

It is difficult to draft legal rules regarding conflict of interest for prize committees. Individuals nominated for prizes are often so well known among the community that selection committee members may consider themselves colleagues. Nevertheless, a selection committee should avoid favoritism or the appearance of favoritism. And so some general guidelines on avoiding conflicts of interest are appropriate.

Selection Committee chairs and individual members need to consider the spirit of these guidelines, and members should step down if they feel their participation might create an appearance of a conflict of interest.

Conflicts of interest (or the appearance of such conflicts) would most likely arise if:

  1. the body of work (paper, significant piece of research, or the like) considered in the prize nomination was done by someone while a student or postdoc of the committee member;
  2. the person nominated was a recent former student or postdoc of the committee member; or
  3. the research being judged is in any way a collaborative effort between the committee member and the nominee.
Judging a nomination of a close friend may also create the appearance of a conflict of interest.

It is less clear what to do in cases where the nominee is a colleague --- a co-worker in the same department, for example. In such cases, the member of the selection committee and the chair should consider the circumstances and how they will appear to community.

If the member of the prize selection committee feels there may be a conflict, he or she should consult with either the chair of the selection committee and/or the SIAM Vice President at Large. If after these discussions there does appear to be a conflict, the member should offer to step down from the selection committee. If the possible conflict arises with the chair of the committee, then the Vice President at Large should consult with the SIAM President and reach a consensus decision.


Procedures and Roles

The Role of Selection Committee Chair

  1. The chair sets the rules, reminds members of their obligations, takes the votes. The chair is also a voting member of the selection committee.
  2. The chair ensures that confidentiality is maintained in order to facilitate a free and open discussion.
  3. The voting procedures are left to the discretion of the chair.
  4.  The chair ensures that conflict of interest rules are followed [see above].
  5. The chair is responsible for providing a short report on the committee's deliberations that justifies the recommendation, as well as the citation and any other information needed for the certificate. This task can be delegated by the chair to another member, but the chair retains responsibility.  These will be forwarded to the officers approving the recommendation.
  6. The chair keeps the SIAM office informed.

Role of Committee Members

  1. Committee members should be willing to pro-actively solicit nominations from other members of the scientific community.
  2. Committee members should share all information with the other committee members. It is the responsibility of each committee member to inform chair of any potential conflict of interest.
  3. Each committee member is responsible for providing a fair and informed vote. This requires the member to read the nomination packages assigned by the chair.

Role of SIAM Office

The SIAM HQ is generally responsible for administration procedures related to prizes. It will


Rules for Multiple Winners

RESOLVED, that the SIAM Board of Trustees approves as presented the guidelines for multiple prize winners as recommended by the SIAM Major Awards Committee, said guidelines reading:

SIAM encourages all recipients of SIAM Prizes to attend the meetings at which their prizes will be awarded. When multiple winners are chosen for a single SIAM prize, the monetary award will be divided equally among the recipients. Reimbursement of travel expenses to attend the award ceremony will normally be limited to a maximum of $1,500 for any one prize. Meeting registration for award recipients at the SIAM meeting where the award is presented will be waived.

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