Email Print Share

Alan T. Waterman Award

Photos of the 2021 ATW Awardees

NSF recognizes 3 scientists with the Alan T. Waterman Award

The U.S. National Science Foundation has named its awardees for this year's Alan T. Waterman Award, the nation's highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers: Jessica E. Tierney, a University of Arizona geoscientist; Lara A. Thompson, a University of the District of Columbia biomedical engineer; and Daniel B. Larremore, a computer scientist from the University of Colorado Boulder.

This is the first year NSF has chosen to honor three researchers with the award, which recognizes an outstanding early-career U.S. science or engineering researcher who demonstrates exceptional individual achievements in research in NSF-supported fields. Well over 100 nominations were received for the 2022 Alan T. Waterman Award, increasing the number and diversity of both nominees and the institutions with which they are affiliated compared to prior years. Please read the NSF Press Release for more information.

A list of past recipients can be found here.


Congress established the Alan T. Waterman Award in August 1975 to mark the 25th Anniversary of the National Science Foundation and to honor its first Director. The annual award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition to a medal, the awardee receives a grant of $1,000,000 over a five year period for scientific research or advanced study in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, social, or other sciences at the institution of the recipient's choice.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • A candidate must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

  • They must be 40 years of age or younger, OR not more than 10 years beyond receipt of the Ph.D. degree, by December 31st of the year in which they are nominated.

  • A candidate should have demonstrated exceptional individual achievement in scientific or engineering research of sufficient quality, originality, innovation, and significant impact on the field so as to situate themselves as a leader among peers.

Nomination Requirements

  • Nomination packages consist of a nomination and four letters of reference. NOTE: Reference letters should not exceed two pages.

  • The names of four references are required for each nomination. The references cannot come from the nominee’s home institution. References must be requested by the nominator and submitted by the established FastLane deadline.

  • Nominations will not be reviewed by the Committee unless all the requirements are met.

  • Institutions may nominate an unlimited number of individuals.


Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page for specific questions about the award criteria or the nomination process.

For additional information, e-mail the NSF Waterman Award team at