Submit a nomination for the 2020 Golden Goose Award!



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.


  • Projects that resulted in transformational scientific or technological changes and societal impacts that were unforeseen at the time the original research was conducted;

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Organizations or individuals are not limited 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.


Nominators should provide:

  • Their name, position, affiliated institution and/or organization, and professional address and phone number.

  • The name and title of the individual candidate or research team being nominated for the Golden Goose Award. Additional contact information such as phone number, professional address and e-mail of the nominee(s) should be provided if available

  • A statement, not to exceed 1000 words, summarizes why/how this nomination exemplifies the purpose of the Golden Goose Award. The statement should:

    • Describe the specific nature of the research conducted by the nominated individual(s), including the specific federal agencies that supported their work.

    • Explain how the research appeared unusual, obscure, sounded “funny” and/or could have been viewed as having questionable value at the time it was originally funded;

    • Explain how the results from the particular research were unexpected, unforeseen and/or serendipitous in nature;

    • Describe the economic, societal and/or transformations scientific impact of the research.

  • The inclusion of additional references and web links to articles, videos and other materials that help to describe the ‘story’ behind the research of the nominated individual(s) is encouraged.


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

Name *
Nominee *
Nominee Phone
Nominee Phone
Please provide name, title, affiliation, and contact information for up to 4 additional nominees
Describe how the nominated research meets the Award Criteria
Please provide additional references that help tell the story behind the research