The Innovation in Laboratory Safety Award celebrates exceptional and ground-breaking innovations that advance safety in academic research laboratories.


All current permanent non-contract Merit Supervisory Exempt/Confidential and Professional and Scientific staff, tenure-track, research-track, or clinical-track faculty members with a 50 percent or greater appointment, and who direct/manage a research laboratory are eligible for this award. A research laboratory is defined as a facility or room where the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, biological agents, or sources of energy (i.e. lasers, high voltage, radiation, etc.) are used for scientific research. Self-nominations are not allowed. Deans, DEOs, department chairs/heads, supervisors, and other senior faculty or staff may serve as nominators. 

The successful nominee will:

  • Have developed and/or implemented an innovative program or process to significantly improve UI Laboratory safety culture. The innovative program or process should demonstrate a creative change in laboratory safety operation, have the potential for sustainability, and be educational.
  • Demonstrate the shared commitment to the safe and responsible conduct of research in a laboratory setting.

Nomination and Selection Process

Required Documentation:

  • Letter of Nomination: Attach a brief statement no more than one page in length describing the nominee’s safety innovation, the applicability of the innovation to the broader campus, and its effectiveness.
  • One confidential letter of endorsement from either a UI or non-UI (e.g., experts in the field) source.  The letter of support should be no more than one page in length and address the nominee’s safety innovation, the applicability of the innovation to the broader campus, and its effectiveness.
  • Description of the safety innovation (up to 3 pages), prepared by the nominee. Include details of the innovation safety plan that has been implemented, demonstrate the efficacy of the plan or program, and include how the innovative safety program or process was or can be shared with other UI community members to improve the culture of safety.
  • CV or Resume (up to 10 pages).

A selection committee comprised of leaders from within the Office of the Vice President for Research, Environmental Health & Safety, and UI faculty will be appointed to evaluate nominations.

Submission Process and Deadline

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, February 4, 2020. Recipients will be announced in April.

CLICK HERE to begin the submission process. Click "Apply" and sign-in with your Hawk ID and password through the blue "University of Iowa Login" button.  If you have problems or questions, contact Cheryl Ridgeway ( / 319-384-3332) in the OVPR well ahead of the deadline.

Award Details

  • 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.
  • All recipients will be recognized on our Dare to Discover - Research Awards & Recognition page to highlight their accomplishments.