TAMEST Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards

O'Donnell Awards

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards annually recognize rising Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

The O’Donnell Awards acknowledge outstanding achievements by Texas-based researchers in five categories: medicine, engineering, biological sciences, physical sciences and technology innovation.

Each award includes a $25,000 honorarium and an invitation to present at TAMEST’s Annual Conference each year. Since 2006, 15 O’Donnell Awards recipients have been elected to one of the National Academies and three have been elected to multiple academies.

Thanks to a $1.15 million gift from the O’Donnell Foundation in 2022, the O’Donnell Awards have expanded to include an additional science award. The awards now recognize recipients in the categories of Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Technology Innovation. (Previously, the TAMEST O’Donnell Awards rotated its science award between physical and biological sciences every year.)

Nominations for the 2024 O’Donnell Awards were open February 1, 2023–April 30, 2023. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Shaw at stephanie.shaw@austin.utexas.edu or at (512) 232-8495. 

2025 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards Call for Nominations: February 1–April 30, 2024

For more information on submitting a nomination, visit the Nomination Guidelines and Applications section.

2023 O’Donnell Awards Recipients

2023 O'Donnell Awards Recipients

Understanding the microbiome’s effect on cancer treatment. Building multi-hazard resilience models to protect infrastructure from extreme weather-related events. Identifying new treatment paths for parasitic worms devastating the developing world. Mapping and understanding the architecture of the human genome and its potential for curing disease. Innovating new seismic survey technology for the oil and gas industry that leaves less of an environmental impact and increases efficiency.

These are the discoveries by Texas’ rising stars in research being honored with the 2023 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards by TAMEST. Learn more >

Nomination Guidelines and Application

TAMEST will accept nominations for the 2025 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards from February 1, 2024–April 30, 2024.

Nomination Guides

For more detailed information on submitting a nomination, download the appropriate guide below:

General Guidelines

  • Nominators may only designate one award category. The O’Donnell Awards Selection Committee reserves the right to move a nominee into a different category if they feel the nomination is more suitable for that category.
  • All nominees will be automatically re-nominated for the following two years after the initial nomination — if the nominee meets all eligibility requirements. Although not required, additional or updated information may be submitted for consideration in the 2024 review process. If a nominator would like to withdraw a nominee, they may contact the TAMEST office.
  • Eligible nominators include TAMEST members, university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents for research, deans, department chairs, industry executives as well as former recipients of the award.
  • If the committee elects to recognize more than one individual in a field, the $25,000 honorarium will be divided evenly among the winners.

2024 Science Awards

Introduced for the 2023 O’Donnell Awards, the program has expanded to create a secondary science award. The annual awards will now recognize recipients in medicine, engineering, physical sciences, biological sciences and technology innovation categories. Previously, the TAMEST O’Donnell Awards rotated its science award between physical and biological sciences in alternating years.

Selection Process

A committee of TAMEST members will evaluate nominations and select finalists in consultation with a panel of National Academies members from outside of Texas and a committee of Texas Nobel Laureates. TAMEST’s Board of Directors provides final approval of the award recipients.


The deadline to submit 2024 nomination materials was April 30, 2023.


For questions, contact Stephanie Shaw at stephanie.shaw@austin.utexas.edu or at (512) 232-8495.

Committee Members

Ann Salamone

Oliver Mullins, Ph.D. (NAE)

Awards Committee Chair

Medicine Subcommittee

  • Margaret “Peggy” A. Goodell, Ph.D. (NAM), Baylor College of Medicine
  • David R. Piwnica-Worms, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Kenneth S. Ramos, M.D., Ph.D. (NAM), Texas A&M Health

Engineering Subcommittee

  • Brian A. Korgel, Ph.D. (NAE), The University of Texas at Austin
  • Kaushik Rajashekara, Ph.D. (NAE), University of Houston
  • James Williams, Ph.D. (NAE), University of North Texas

Science Subcommittee – Biological

  • Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella, Ph.D. (NAS), Texas Tech University
  • Mark A. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. (NAS), The University of Texas at Austin
  • Margaret Phillips, Ph.D. (NAS), UT Southwestern Medical Center

Science Subcommittee – Physical

  • Stephen Fuselier, Ph.D. (NAS), Southwest Research Institute
  • Robert C. Kennicutt, Ph.D. (NAS, FRS), Texas A&M University
  • Peter J. Rossky, Ph.D. (NAS), Rice University

Technology Innovation Subcommittee

  • Robert O. Ambrose, Ph.D. (NAE), Texas A&M University
  • Mary Pat Moyer, Ph.D. (NAE), INCELL Corporation LLC
  • Jie Zhang, Ph.D. (NAE), GeoTomo

Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards 10th Anniversary

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the O’Donnell Awards. Over $1 million has been awarded to dozens of recipients in the categories of medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation since the inception of the program. The awards are named in honor of Edith and Peter O’Donnell who are among Texas’ staunchest advocates for excellence in scientific advancement and STEM education.

O’Donnell Awards Supporters

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards Endowment Fund was established in 2005 through the generous contributions of the following individuals and organizations:

  • Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Altshuler
  • Anonymous (2)
  • AT&T Foundation
  • Austin Industries, Inc. and William T. Solomon, Former President, CEO and Chairman
  • Julie and Louis A. Beecherl
  • Melanie and Tim Byrne
  • Mr. and Mrs. W. Plack Carr Jr.
  • William P. and Rita Clements Jr.
  • Collins Family Foundation
  • Mr. and Mrs. Edward A. Copley
  • The Cullen Foundation
  • Cullen Trust for Health Care
  • Cullen Trust for Higher Education
  • Dell Inc.
  • Hunt Consolidated, Inc.
  • Kodosky Foundation
  • The Eugene McDermott Foundation
  • The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation
  • The Rodger Meier Family
  • Joyce and Harvey Mitchell
  • National Instruments
  • Edith and Peter O’Donnell
  • Margot and Ross Perot
  • Caren H. Prothro & The Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation
  • Rowling Foundation
  • Southwestern Medical Foundation
  • Ron and Phyllis Steinhart
  • Susser Family Foundation in Honor of Mr. and Mrs. Ron Steinhart
  • Temple-Inland
  • Texas Instruments Foundation
  • TXU Energy
  • Valero Energy Foundation
  • Dr. and Mrs. Kern Wildenthal
  • Cheryl and Sam Wyly
  • Dee and Charles Wyly
  • Zachry Foundation

TAMEST News and Updates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.