This award honors in terminal degree programs conducting research and scholarly activity that is recognized as highly original work and makes a significant contribution to the field. Eligible students shall have completed a minimum of two years of graduate work in the current program of study and doctoral programs must be post comp. 


  1. Research accomplishments during the applicant’s current program of study,
  2. Quality of research and scholarly activity, and
  3. Quality of a research presentation to the selection committee. The top three candidates in each broad discipline area are required to give a research presentation to the selection committee. 

Two awards, one in each broad discipline area, will be made each year; one in biology, life, mathematical and physical sciences, and one in fine arts, humanities and social sciences.

Nomination, selection, and announcement process

  1. This award process is conducted annually in partnership with the Research Council and the Graduate College.
  2. Nomination process:
    1. A letter of nomination.  Attach a brief letter of nomination – NO MORE THAN 750 WORDS IN LENGTH – describing the nominee’s qualifications and accomplishments.
    2. A statement from the nominee – NO MORE THAN 750 WORDS IN LENGTH – describing their qualifications and accomplishments.
    3. up to two confidential letters of support.  Letters of support from various constituents, UI and non-UI (e.g., experts in the field), will have a greater impact.  Limit to one page in length. 
    4. CV (maximum 10 pages).

A selection committee will evaluate nominations with respect to the award criteria. The selection committee will comprise leaders from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Research Council and the Graduate College.

Nomination Form

Each recipient will receive:

  • A prize of $1,000 and a commemorative gift.
  • Recipients will be recognized formally at the Celebrating Excellence: The University of Iowa Discovery & Innovation Awards Ceremony that highlights research and innovation achievements (April 28, 2015, at the Sheraton).
  • All recipients will be recognized on the Dare to Discover - Research Awards & Recognition page to highlight their accomplishments.