Awards Selection

Awards Process

Selection Process

Each year the OSA Board of Directors appoints committees responsible for reviewing the candidates for the awards and medals of the Society. Each selection committee carefully considers the eligible nominations for the award or honor and recommends the recipient(s) and citation to the Awards Committee and the Board of Directors.  Most awards are announced in March of the year following the nomination deadline.


  1. Award recipients are not required to be OSA members. However, in most cases, nominators must be OSA members  (not applicable to co-sponsored awards).
  2. An individual may not receive more than one Society award in a year, nor may an individual receive more than one award for the same body of work.
  3. The Society allows joint recipients of OSA awards when the nomination is for the same project or for joint work extended over a long period.
  4. OSA does not present awards posthumously, except in the case that the recipient's death occurs after the OSA Award Selection Committee approves the nomination. 
  5. Fellow nominees must be OSA members and nominators must be OSA Fellows.
Note:  For awards and medals, a minimum of four eligible nominations are required before a committee may select an award recipient.


Any nominee not chosen for a medal or prize is automatically considered for the award by the next two consecutive committees.  Nominators are encouraged to update or augment the nomination materials, if appropriate, prior to the next year's deadline. After consideration by three selection committees, the nomination is retired.

Award Nomination Requirements

Only complete nomination will be considered by the individual award or medal committee. This includes:

  1. Completed award nomination form.
  2. Brief citation stating the accomplishments that make the nominee deserving of this particular award.
  3. A one-page narrative description of the significant aspects of the nominee's career.
  4. Curriculum vitae or resume listing educational background, positions held, publications, patents, awards, honors, activities and OSA offices held.
  5. Four letters of reference (i.e., 4 is both the minimum and the maximum). Diversity of support is preferred; not all letters of recommendation should come from nominee's institution. The nominator may not serve as a reference. The nominator should request the letters, which should be submitted using the Awards Submission system prior to the deadline.

Nominations should be specific about the achievements for which the award is proposed. Clear, concise information about the accomplishments of the nominee is more useful than extensive materials. Excessive documentation will not be distributed to the selection committee. Only complete nominations will be considered. Incomplete nominations will be returned or held for consideration when complete.

Nomination Deadlines

Award Deadline
OSA Fellows   15 June
Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award    2  July
John Tyndall Award   10 August
Herbert Walther Award 1 October
OSA Awards & Medals   1 October

Additional Information

If you have questions, please contact the OSA Awards Office ( or 1.202.416.1960).