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Annual Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award Application Guidelines

Superfund Research Program

This page 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
  • 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 meet with senior staff and to learn about NIEHS.
  4. Support for travel to one major national scientific conference (within the U.S. only).

Who can nominate graduate students and postdoctoral researchers?

Center Directors, Project Leaders, and Core Leaders can nominate students and researchers.

What are the steps in the nomination process?

A. 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. A statement from the nominee indicating her or his future aspirations in either research or in hazardous waste management issues (one page maximum).
  3. A letter of support and recognition of the nominee from the Center Director, Project Leader, or Core Leader. The letter should state the outstanding attributes and accomplishments of the nominee and the status of her or his training. If applicable, include her or his involvement in activities that promote the advancement of women in science (one page maximum).
  4. A biographical sketch or curriculum vitae for the nominee. This should include the applicant's email address and mailing address for correspondence with SRP staff.
  5. An unofficial transcript from the nominee's current program (for graduate students) or from the nominee's previous graduate program (for postdoctoral researchers).
  6. Listing of three meetings (U.S. meetings only; in priority order) that the applicant is interested in attending during the following calendar year (Note: this is not a reviewable element, but will be used by NIEHS staff for planning purposes should the applicant receive the Wetterhahn award).

B. 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) to Danielle Carlin (

How many students can each SRP Center or R01 grantee nominate?

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

When is the nomination submittal period?

Nominations will be accepted from July 1st until August 1st each 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 scientific, literate colleagues; 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:

  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 (i.e. mentoring of younger scientists, participating in University organizations or committees, volunteer work).

In recognition of Dr. Wetterhahn's commitment to the advancement of women in science, special consideration will be given to nominees who have demonstrated similar commitment or have been involved in activities that promote the recruitment and/or advancement of women scientists.

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.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

Feel free to contact Danielle Carlin (919-541-1409;