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Nomination Criteria and Instructions


2014 NOMINATION DEADLINE:  April 18, 2014

Nominations received after this date will be considered for the 2015 award cycle.


The Award Purpose

The purpose of the Golden Goose Award is to demonstrate the human and/or economic benefits of federally funded scientific research. It is also intended to demonstrate that scientific outcomes build upon each other and that the technological advances that flow from them cannot easily be predicted at the outset of a particular scientific research project. The award highlights and honors examples of scientific studies or research that may have seemed obscure, sounded “funny,” or for which the results were totally unforeseen at the outset, but which ultimately led, often serendipitously, to major breakthroughs that have had significant societal impact.

Nomination Criteria

  • Projects that resulted in transformational scientific or technological changes that were unforeseen at the time the original research was conducted; and/or
  • Projects that may have appeared unusual, obscure or which sounded “funny” or whose value could have been questioned at the time the research was originally conducted; and/or
  • Research discoveries that were serendipitous in nature – where the discovery resulted from observations or research that initially focused in an entirely different direction at the time it was initiated and funded.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The nominee’s research must already have led to demonstrable, significant social or economic benefits (the Golden Goose Award is not intended to honor current research that might lead to breakthroughs in the future).
  • Nominees must have received federally funded research support in the form of grants or other funding mechanisms   that contributed to the discovery or breakthrough that is being nominated. (Granting agencies include, but are not limited to, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Energy.)
  • Individuals or research teams may be nominated 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 on their behalf.


  • All nominations must be typed, fully completed, and emailed before midnight, April 18, 2014 to be considered for the Award in 2014. Nominations received after this date will still be considered for the award in future years.
  • Organizations or individuals are notlimited in the number of nominations they may submit.
  • Self-nominations are not permitted.
  • Prior nomination does not exclude a candidate from consideration in subsequent years.
  • All nominations will be reviewed for completeness and for meeting the basic nomination criteria and eligibility requirements by the Golden Goose Steering Committee.
  • Outstanding nominations that fully meet nomination criteria and eligibility requirements and that are deemed to best exemplify the purpose of the Golden Goose Award will undergo review by the Selection Committee which comprises distinguished scientists and engineers across a range of disciplines.
  • During the Award year, the Golden Goose Steering Committee will ask winners to participate in an Award Ceremony to be held on Capitol Hill, and possibly other outreach and promotional activities related to the Award.


Nomination Procedures

You should provide:


  • Name, position, institution, professional address and, if available, e-mail, professional phone and fax of the individual candidate or research team [in the event that a candidate is deceased, please submit the same information for the individual (may be a family member) that could accept the award on their behalf];
  • A name, position, affiliated institution and/or organization, and professional address and phone number of the nominator (individual or organizational representative).
  • A statement summarizing why/how this nomination exemplifies the purpose of the Golden Goose Award [limit to 250 words];
  • A statement explaining the research grant(s) that form the basis for the nomination; make sure to identify the federal funding agency/ies [limit to 500 words]; and
  • A statement of the societal impact of the research; [limit to 500 words]. 
  • You may include one or two representative samples which illustrate the nominee’s contribution (e.g., books, videotapes, product, magazine articles, or other materials as appropriate).

All materials become the property of the Golden Goose Steering Committee.

Please submit all information by email to:

Subject Line:  Golden Goose Award Nomination


A PDF of this information can be found here.