Honorific Awards Nominator guidelines

These guidelines apply to all Academy Honorific awards.

In addition to completing the online nomination form and uploading all the required documents, please take care with the written aspects of the nomination as award committees have observed that the quality of nominations can vary considerably and may have an effect on which candidates are short-listed.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria for individual awards are listed on the Award’s website: www.science.org.au/supporting-science/awards-and-opportunities

Please ensure that your nominee meets the eligibility criteria at the time of nomination. 

Serving members of the Council of the Australian Academy of Science and members of the Award Committee dealing with the award in question are not eligible to be nominated for Academy awards except in the case of outgoing members of Council who may be nominated in their outgoing year for all awards except the Macfarlane Burnet, the Ruby Payne-Scott  and the Matthew Flinders Medals.  If a proposed candidate is already the recipient of an Academy early-career honorific award, they will not be eligible for nomination for another early-career award or a mid-career honorific award. A mid-career honorific award recipient will also not be eligible for nomination for another mid-career award. Candidates who are Fellows of the Academy at the time of nomination, are ineligible to be nominated for early and mid-career honorific awards (accordingly newly elected Fellows cannot be carried forward to subsequent rounds).  The Dorothy Hill, Nancy Millis and Ruby Payne-Scott Medals are for women only with all other awards being open to nominations for candidates from all genders.

The Dorothy Hill, Nancy Millis and Ruby Payne-Scott Medals are open to nominees who self-identify as a woman in the award nomination form. The Academy does not require any statement beyond a nominee’s self-identification in the nomination form.

This practice is consistent with the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, which has recognised the non-binary nature of gender identify since 2013, and gives effect to Australia’s international human rights obligations. The Academy remains committed to the fundamental human-rights principles of equality, freedom from discrimination and harassment, and privacy as well as the prevention of discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity.

Nominees who indicate that they identify their gender as neither male or female (ie, those that select ‘other’) will have their nominations referred to the Chair of the Academy’s Equity and Diversity Reference Group to determine whether they have detailed any other gender category that would identify them as a woman (as per the Sex Discrimination Act 1984).

Nominators must receive permission from the nominee to nominate them and nominees should be asked to ensure that only one nomination is put forward for them per eligible award per round. Nominees can be put forward for more than one eligible honorific award but will only be eligible to be awarded one award as decided by Council.

Eligible shortlisted nominations will be invited to be carried forward for a total of three award rounds.

For all Career Honorific awards, a candidate may not be put forward for nomination for the same award in the two subsequent award rounds if either of the following apply: they have been nominated and not shortlisted for three subsequent years; or have completed their three year shortlisting carry over period. At the Award Committee’s discretion, very highly ranked candidates who would otherwise not be eligible for consideration in subsequent rounds due to the Post PhD or other eligibility criteria may be invited to be considered in the subsequent award round.


Australian Residency

Winners of all awards except the Haddon Forrester King Medal should be mainly resident and/or have a substantive position in Australia at the time of the nomination deadline. Unless explicitly stated in the awarding conditions, the research being put forward for the award should have been undertaken mainly in Australia. Some awards have more specific conditions that the relevant selection committee must apply and nominators are advised to read the conditions associated with each award very carefully.


Career-Stage/Award Categories

  1. Early-Career Honorific Awards are directed at researchers who are still establishing their reputations but have done work of international significance.  The Awards are open to persons up to 10 years post the letter advising that their PhD* has been passed  (or equivalent first research doctorate e.g., PhD, D.Phil., D.Psych.).
  2. Mid-Career Honorific Awards are directed at independent researchers who have established and are leading their own research groups.  The Award is open to persons 8 to 15 years post the letter advising that their ‑ PhD* has been passed (or equivalent first higher degree eg., D.Phil., D.Psych.).
  3. Career Honorific Awards recognise achievement over the whole career.  

Fellows and non-Fellows of the Academy can provide nominations for either Fellows or non-Fellows for all awards except the Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture, the Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture and the Ruby Payne-Scott Medal and Lecture. The Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture,the Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture and the Ruby Payne Scott Medal and Lecture can only be nominated by Fellows of the Academy and can be awarded to either Fellows or non-Fellows.

* The Australian Academy of Science is committed to ensuring that all eligible researchers can be considered for awards and collects career interruption information to assess their opportunity to demonstrate scientific excellence. Accordingly, extensions to the post research doctorate eligibility requirements for Early and Mid-Career awards will be provided for qualifying career disruptions.

A career disruption involves prolonged interruption to a nominee’s capacity to conduct Full Time Equivalent (FTE) high-level research since the award of their first research doctorate either due to part-time employment or absence (for periods of one month or greater) and/or long-term partial return to work, to accommodate carer’s responsibilities, illness or other interruption.

Achievement will be judged relative to opportunity. An assessment of a candidate’s opportunity to demonstrate scientific excellence will take into account the factors below, based on the Research Opportunity and Performance Evidence (ROPE) guidelines of the Australian Research Council (ARC).


  • Mentoring, research support and funding available to the candidate.
  • Career interruptions, including those due to employment outside academia, unemployment, part-time employment, childbirth, parental leave, carers’ responsibilities, misadventure, or illness.
  • Total number of years of career interruption/s, and an estimate of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) available for scientific pursuits.


Where career disruptions are due to primary caring responsibilities for dependent children, exemptions should be applied at up to two years Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for a dependent child and up to a maximum of four years (FTE) for two or more dependent children.

An additional 6 months (pro rata) can be applied per year of eligible career disruption to take into account the fact that it can take some time to get back up to speed after a period of extended leave.

The Academy Vice Presidents have oversight of the process.

Nomination process

Closing Date – Nomination submissions are due by 9:00am (AEST) 25 May (this has been extended from 1 May to acknowledge the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic).


  1. Nomination Form
  2. Brief Citation (Up to 2 pages for Career Award Nominations and up to 1 page for Early-Mid Career Nominations)
    • The citation should:
      • Describe the candidate’s key discoveries and/or achievements in a clear, concise and sufficiently technical way to allow committee members to make a confident assessment of the candidate’s work; and
      • Describe the nature, impact, and importance of the candidate’s discoveries and achievements in relation to their scientific discipline. 
  3. Full Curriculum Vitae
    •  Include a full publications list here and any evidence of international standing, major awards, fellowships and invited, keynote or plenary talks, where appropriate to the award.
  4. List of 10 Publications
    • A list of up to 10 most significant publications (of most relevance to the award for which you are nominating), each including up to 50-words on why they are significant.  Outline the candidate’s specific role in the research and indicate percentage contribution.
    • Where an award states that the research must have been mainly conducted in Australia, it should be clearly stated which of the candidate’s most significant publications resulted from their research carried out in Australia
  5. Non-Technical Description of the Work (Around 150 words)
    • The non-technical description of the candidate’s work should be directed to a non-scientific audience and cover the significance of the candidate's research and its broader implications.  This description may be used by the Academy for publicity purposes, if the candidate is successful.
  6. Referees
    • The nominator is responsible for ensuring that the minimum required references are received by the Academy by the 22 June referee report deadline (this has been extended from 1 June to ackowledge the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic).
      • (Except the Macfarlane Burnet, the Matthew Flinders and the Ruby Payne-Scott Medals which do not require referee reports and so only have the 25 May Nomination deadline). When nominations are submitted the referees listed on the nomination will be emailed by the online award nomination submission system and will be sent the guidelines for referees which can also be downloaded from the award webpage for reference. Please therefore ensure that the referee emails listed are correct and working and that referees are alerted to look for this email when the nomination is submitted.
    • Please log into your account on the Academy’s webpage and navigate to the Award submission section to view the progress of your nomination, details of referees along with an indication as to when the minimum number of required references have been received will be posted alongside your submission.
    • Nominators should choose referees based on their standing in the relevant scientific field. There is a minimum requirement of three referees. At least one of the referees is required to be based internationally and at least two should be independent (i.e., not have/have had a significant professional or personal relationship with the candidate).  It is also preferable that not all referees are from the same institution or have strong collaborative ties with the candidate.
    • Referees may be deemed to be non-independent for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, if they:
      1. have or have had a close personal relationship (including enmity) with the candidate;
      2. have been a supervisor of the candidate within the past 15 years;
      3. have a professional research relationship with the candidate including:
        • are negotiating/hold/have held within the past two years a research proposal conjointly with the candidate;
        • have been a collaborator or co-author with the candidate on a research output within the past four years (except in cases of large multi-authorship where there is no direct collaboration between referee and candidate) ;
        • have been a co-editor with the candidate of a book, journal, compendium, or conference proceedings within the past two years;
      4. have been in the same division/department/section of the organisation employing the candidate or the same research centre as the candidate and in the same research field or a closely related research field as the candidate.



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