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Fact Sheet

National Science Board Vannevar Bush Award

June 11, 2015

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Background. The National Science Board (NSB) established the Vannevar Bush Award in February 1980 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is presented to a person who, through public service activities in science and technology, makes outstanding contributions toward the nation and humanity.

History. Responding to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for guidance, Vannevar Bush, the head of the World War II agency for the mobilization of civilian science, recommended in 1945 that a foundation be established by Congress to support research and education in science and to develop national science policy. Five years later, Congress implemented many of Bush's recommendations by passing a bill creating NSF. President Harry S Truman signed the bill into law on May 10, 1950. Establishing the Vannevar Bush Award was the NSB's way to honor Bush's unique contributions to public service.

Purpose. The Vannevar Bush Award is given annually to a senior statesperson in science or technology. The award is signified by a medal in Bush’s likeness and recognizes the recipient’s public service contributions in addition to calling attention to the important role science and technology play in improving our way of life.

Criteria. Nominees must be U.S. citizens, considered senior statespersons in science and technology, with a distinguished record in public service. Individuals must have been pioneers in a chosen field, displaying leadership and creativity, while inspiring others to distinguished careers, and contributing to the welfare of the nation and humanity.


The names of earlier recipients can be found at


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, email:

Program Contacts
Jennifer L. Richards, NSF, (703) 292-4521, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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