ABOUT THE GOLDEN GOOSE AWARD
What: The purpose of the “Golden Goose” award is to demonstrate the human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact. Such breakthroughs include development of life-saving medicines and treatments; game-changing social and behavioral insights; and major technological advances related to national security, energy, the environment, communications, and public health. Such breakthroughs may also have resulted in economic growth through the creation of new industries or companies.
Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) originally conceived of the Golden Goose award as a means of educating Members of Congress and the general public about the value of federal funding of basic scientific research. The name of the award is a play on the “Golden Fleece” awards issued between 1975 and 1988 by Senator William Proxmire (D-WI), which targeted specific federally funded research grants as examples of government waste. The name also alludes to the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Researchers who have used federal funding to make their research breakthroughs constitute the “goose,” and the innovations stemming from their work are the “golden eggs.” The Golden Goose Award explicitly links the two.
Who: The Golden Goose Awards will be announced three to four times a year, with an annual awards event in Washington to honor awardees. Honorees will be selected from a pool of potential nominees developed by a partnership of founding universities, think tanks, and businesses led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Breakthrough Institute, the Progressive Policy Institute, The Science Coalition, the Task Force on American Innovation, and United for Medical Research. The criteria for selecting awardees are:
- Nominees must have received a federally funded research grant within the past 60 years that contributed to an important discovery or breakthrough (Grant agencies include, but are not limited to, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Energy.);
- Nominees’ research must already have led to demonstrable, significant human and economic benefits (the Golden Goose Award is not intended to honor current research that might lead to breakthroughs in the future);
- Research teams are eligible to receive a nomination for their work;
- Individuals may be nominated for their work posthumously, but only if an individual or organizational representative is available to accept the award at an event;