Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholars Recognition Program

Award at a Glance

DeadlineJuly 18, 2022


To recognize talented graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the chemical sciences who demonstrate leadership in mentoring, promotion of DEIR, and promotion of research safety. 


ACS invites graduate programs in the chemical sciences and departments with postdoctoral appointments to select graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who’ve demonstrated exemplary achievements in any of the three categories: Leadership in Mentoring, Leadership in the Promotion of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect, and Leadership in the Promotion of Research Safety. This recognition enables graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to be formally acknowledged for their contributions by their universities, organizations, and the American Chemical Society. Individuals recognized serve in critical leadership roles as mentors, diversity champions, and promoters of safe practices in the research environment.


To qualify for this recognition, the nominee must be a current graduate student or postdoctoral scholar in the chemical sciences at the time of submission.

Individuals may only be nominated and recognized for one category in a given year.

One graduate student AND postdoctoral scholar may be recognized per certificate category each year. Departments are not required to nominate individuals in all three categories.

*ACS defines a postdoctoral scholar as an individual who has received a doctoral degree (or equivalent) and is engaged in a temporary and defined period of mentored advanced training in academia, industry, government, and non-profit research organizations to enhance the professional skills and research independence needed to pursue their chosen career path. 


The nomination period for 2022 is currently closed. The deadline for submissions was July 18, 2022. 


Departments in the chemical sciences with graduate students and postdoctoral researcher appointments globally may nominate a graduate student and/or postdoctoral scholar who has demonstrated outstanding efforts in any of the three categories:

  • Leadership in Mentoring: This recognition category highlights outstanding efforts and impact in research and safety mentoring, broadly defined. Mentoring may involve peers in their own research group as well as outside groups, undergraduate/high school researchers, and participants in short-term research programs (e.g. summer programs, REUs, international exchanges).
  • Leadership in the Promotion of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect: This recognition category highlights outstanding efforts that promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect in the program. Activities may include participation in recruitment to enhance diversity, engagement in impactful conversations that strengthen the culture of inclusivity, and efforts to identify and eliminate inequities in the department/institution-wide.
  • Leadership in the Promotion of Research Safety: This recognition category highlights outstanding efforts to promote safety in research environments, broadly defined. Activities may include exemplary service as a safety officer, participation in efforts to enhance safety culture and awareness, and leadership in promoting safety in areas outside of the wet laboratory, including safety issues associated with computational and theoretical chemistry.

Departments will be required to establish their specific criteria that expand on those presented above and rely on evidence-based practices regarding mentorship, the promotion of diversity, equity, inclusion and respect, and the promotion and advancement of safety. Departments should also consider effective practices in selection of those to be recognized and will be asked to input these criteria when submitting nominations. 

Recognition Process

The nomination process is handled entirely by the individual academic institution or department and is carried out as follows:

  1. The Department provides nominations for one or more of the recognition categories listed above. Departments may submit nominations for any of the three recognition categories (Maximum one graduate student and/or postdoctoral scholar per recognition category).
  2. In the nomination, Departments will include their own criteria and evidence-based practices used to select the nominee(s). 
  3. ACS will review submissions and department criteria. 
  4. ACS notifies Departments if nomination(s) are approved, and recognition certificate(s) will be emailed to the Departments for distribution to those being recognized. 
  5. The names and institutional affiliations of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars receiving recognition will be highlighted on the ACS website.

*ACS may request additional information from the recognized individuals.


Student and Postdoctoral Scholars Development, Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholars Advisory Board, Society Committee on Education

Contact Information

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