Superfund Research Program

This webpage contains guidelines for nominating a Superfund Research Program-supported graduate student or postdoctoral researcher.

What is the Karen Wetterhahn Award?

Dr. Karen Wetterhahn was a renowned metals researcher and a dedicated teacher and mentor. She was also committed to increasing women's participation in the biological sciences, mathematics, and engineering. As a way of honoring the life and scientific accomplishments of Dr. Wetterhahn, the Superfund Research Program (SRP) has established an award to recognize an outstanding young research scientist.

Who is eligible for the Award?

To be eligible, each nominee must be:

  • A graduate student or postdoctoral researcher supported by a Superfund Research Program Grant (P42, R01) for at least one (1) year (support is defined as either directly supported by the grant (e.g., stipend) or conducting research within scope of the grant)
  • Currently supported by the SRP during the Wetterhahn Award application submission and review
  • Conducting SRP research in any discipline

What does the recipient of the Award receive?

  1. Support for travel to the SRP Annual Meeting.
  2. The honor of presenting her/his research at a plenary session of the Annual Meeting.
  3. Support for travel to NIEHS to present her/his research, meet with staff, and learn about the institute (preferably within one year of award).
  4. Support for travel to one major national scientific conference (within the U.S. only, preferably within one year of award).

Who can nominate graduate students and postdoctoral researchers?

Superfund Center Directors, Project Leaders, Core Leaders, and Principal Investigators can nominate students and post-doctoral researchers.

What are the steps in the nomination process?

  1. The following information should be provided for each nominee:
    1. A brief description, prepared by the nominee, of the research she or he is conducting. This should include how the research is relevant to Superfund or the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. It should also include information on how the nominee best demonstrates the qualities of scientific excellence exhibited by Dr. Wetterhahn (two page maximum).
    2. For P42 grants, letters of support and recognition of the nominee from the applicant’s mentor (i.e., Project or Core Leader) and from the Center Director. For applicants supported by an SRP R01 grant, a letter of support and recognition of the nominee from the Principal Investigator. (If an SRP R01 Co-PI wishes to provide a letter as the mentor of the trainee, an additional letter should be provided by the lead Principal Investigator named on the R01 grant). The letters should state the outstanding attributes and accomplishments of the nominee and the status of her or his training, and his or her involvement in activities that promote the advancement of women, minority, and other new researchers in science (each letter is limited to one page maximum).
    3. An NIH biographical sketch for the nominee. This should include the applicant's email address and mailing address for correspondence with SRP staff. For more information about the NIH Biosketch, please see: Biosketch Format Pages.
    4. An unofficial transcript from the nominee's current program (for graduate students) or from the nominee's previous graduate program (for postdoctoral researchers).
    5. Listing of three meetings (U.S. meetings only; in priority order of interest) that the applicant will participate in during the following calendar year (Note: the winner must have an active role in the meeting (e.g., poster or oral presentation); this is not a reviewable element, but will be used by NIEHS staff for planning purposes should the applicant receive the Wetterhahn award).
  2. All of the above documents should be combined into one PDF and should be submitted by the Center Director (P42 grants) or Principal Investigator (SRP R01 grants).

How many students can each SRP Center or R01 grant recipient nominate?

SRP Centers are limited to two nominations; R01 grant recipients are limited to one nomination.

When is the nomination submittal period?

Nominations are typically accepted from July 1st until August 1st. Please note that the nomination deadline may vary from year to year.

How will the recipient be selected?

It is our intent to bring together a small ad hoc group of reviewers from within the institute to critically evaluate the nominations put forth. It is important that the nominee present her/his material in a manner readily understood by scientifically literate NIEHS staff; however, nominees should not assume that all reviewers are experts in their area of research. Also, it is important to stress the relevance of this work to the Superfund Research Program goals and objectives.

What are the Review Criteria?

Applicants will be reviewed on the following criteria (the following are not necessarily listed in order of importance):

  1. Cutting edge, scientifically relevant research.
  2. Scientific merit of research being conducted in areas supported by SRP.
  3. Ability to present work in a clear, concise, and readily understandable format.
  4. Potential of the nominee to contribute to her/his field of research.
  5. Leadership and extracurricular activities outside of the SRP community (e.g. mentoring of new and early-career scientists, participating in University organizations or committees, volunteer work).

When will the Award Announcement be made?

The announcement of the Wetterhahn Award recipient will be made at the Annual Meeting; however, the recipient will be notified approximately one month prior to the Annual Meeting.


Danielle J. Carlin, Ph.D.
Danielle J. Carlin, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator, Superfund Research Program
Tel 984-287-3244
[email protected]
Superfund Research Program
Center for Risk & Integrated Sciences
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
530 Davis Dr
530 Davis Drive (Keystone Bldg)
Durham, NC 27713