About Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

UCAR Awards for Staff Excellence

See all Awards from NCAR & UCAR >

UCAR and NCAR leadership recognizes employees through a system of awards for noteworthy contributions to the organization. Award recipients are announced at the annual staff holiday party each December.

All employees are eligible, and either an individual or a team may be nominated. Visitors and former staff are also eligible as long as the work being recognized was done at UCAR. Non-UCAR employees are eligible only if they were part of a team including UCAR employees who are also being nominated.

Distinguished Achievement Award

The highest recognition UCAR and NCAR can bestow on a staff member, the Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes distinct and extraordinary accomplishments that have provided a significant advance in enabling, understanding, or communicating key scientific issues during the preceding five years. Winners of the Distinguished Achievement Award receive a monetary prize and an engraved plaque or medal. The award was created in 2001.

Nomination process

The UCAR President solicits nominations annually. Nominations must be submitted through the NCAR/UCAR directors or managers specified in UCAR's Employee Recognition Awards: Policy & Procedures.

Outstanding Accomplishment Awards

Notable accomplishments by an individual or staff team are recognized with these awards. Each individual winner of an Outstanding Accomplishment Award receives a monetary prize and an engraved medal. Listings for each category on the Awards from NCAR & UCAR page begin in the first year that particular award was given. The awards began with creation of the first category, Outstanding Publication, in 1967.

Nomination process

Any employee may initiate a nomination. The nomination must be coordinated with and submitted by the directors and managers specified in UCAR's Employee Recognition Awards: Policy & Procedures. Review is by an interdivisional committee.


Historical note: Walt Roberts and the first award

In his desire to recognize scientific excellence, Walter Orr Roberts backed up words with action. The founding director of NCAR put up $500 of his own money in 1967 as the prize for the first Outstanding Publication Award. Walt also laid out many of the broad guidelines that evolved into today's award criteria (though the initial period of eligibility for a paper was only two years, as opposed to today's five years). "It is my sincere hope," wrote Walt in a memo to staff, "that nominations will be made by scientists not only for the works of their colleagues, but also for their own scientific papers. It seems to me entirely appropriate for a scientist to mention one of his own publications, if he deems it to be his outstanding piece of work. . . ."


Quick Facts

NCAR is managed by the nonprofit University Corporation for Atmospheric Research on behalf of NSF and the UCAR university community.

  • NCAR is not a federal agency and its employees are not part of the federal personnel system.
  • Our activities complement those of the federal agencies and we work closely with them.

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