2025 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about the O’Donnell Awards. All nomination materials, including letters of support, for the 2025 O’Donnell Awards must be received in electronic form by April 30, 2024.

For questions not listed below, contact Stephanie Shaw at stephanie.shaw@austin.utexas.edu or (512) 471-3823.

Eligibility Requirements

Who can be a nominator?

For the medicine, engineering, biological and physical sciences award categories, qualified nominators include TAMEST members, chancellors, university presidents, provosts, deans, vice presidents for research, department chairs and former recipients of the award.

For the technology innovation award category, qualified nominators include TAMEST members, industry executives, administrators, managers and supervisors, chancellors, university presidents, provosts, deans, vice presidents for research and department chairs.

Are co-nominators able to submit a joint nomination package for a nominee?

Yes, co-nominators are allowed. Please indicate on the nomination form if there are co-nominators and be prepared to split or share the duties as a nominator in the case the nominee is accepted as a recipient. This includes providing quotes for articles, participating in the recipient’s O’Donnell Awards Video, and introducing them and their work at the Annual Conference.

Can a nominee nominate themselves and submit their own nomination form?

No. A nominee cannot nominate themselves. A nominee can submit the actual nomination form and supporting documents; however, the nomination form must include a different name for the nominator.

Does my institution or company have to be a TAMEST member institution to submit a nomination?

No. All nominations from TAMEST member institutions and non-TAMEST member institutions will be considered and reviewed equally by the respective subcommittee.

For the technology innovation category, the nominations may also be from non-TAMEST member institutions, but the nominee must be currently working in an industry or government organization, NOT in an academic institution.

Is there a limit to the number of nominees an individual institution or organization can nominate each year?

No. However, organizations are encouraged to only submit their top one or two nominees per award cycle.

Are there any exceptions regarding eligibility requirements?

No. It is important for nominators to ensure all eligibility requirements are met before submitting a nomination.

What is the cutoff date for the eligibility requirement of 15 years from first faculty appointment for Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences, and 25 years from first full-time industry affiliated position for Technology innovation?

Nominees must be within 15 years of their first faculty appointment for Medicine, Engineering, Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences, or 25 years from their first full-time industry affiliated position for Technology Innovation by calendar year.

What is the cutoff date for the eligibility requirement of 2 years working in Texas?

The candidate should have worked in Texas for two years at the time the application is submitted.

Nomination Materials

Are paper copies of nomination forms accepted?

No. The nomination application must be submitted through the online application form which is located on the TAMEST website (tamest.org/odonnell-awards).

Who should write letters of support?

Individuals from institutions, organizations or authoritative individuals other than the nominee’s current organization should write the letters of support. Individuals who are members of a National Academy are encouraged to write a letter of support. Letter writers may reside outside of the US.

Note: Letters of support are often submitted before the nomination forms. It is suggested that the nominator’s name be included within the context of the letter of support to help prepare the nomination file upon receipt. Letters of support are highly regarded by the committee and hold more weight when the writers have had a personal connection with the nominee.

Should the nominator wait to submit the nomination form until all of the letters of support are received?

No. The support letters should be emailed independently and directly to TAMEST at tamest@austin.utexas.edu.

What if all three letters of support are not provided by those who agreed to provide them?

It is recommended that nominators ask more than three individuals to write a letter of support in the event that one individual does not submit a letter. All received letters of support will be included in the nomination file.

Regarding the publications needed as part of the required nominations documents, should a PDF of the entire publication be submitted?

No. It is important to include only the pages of the publication pertinent to the nominee’s citations. (i.e., if the nominee’s article/citation is only 10 pages of a 500-page publication, please only send the applicable 10 pages.)

How do you define the award categories for the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards?

Please use the categories below as a guideline for the academic awards:


  • Cardiopulmonary Diseases
  • Oncology
  • Neuropsychiatric Disorders
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Pathology
  • Children’s Health
  • Public Health
  • Oral Health
  • Nutrition
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Other


  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Electronics, Communications, Information Systems and Control Systems
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Biological Sciences

  • Animal Biology
  • Plant Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Ecology and Environmental Science
  • Entomology
  • Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Physical Sciences

  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences
  • Physics
  • Solar and Space Physics

For the Technology Innovation award, there is no limitation to discipline, but the candidate must be in industry or government.


Will a nominee automatically be considered for an O’Donnell Award the following year if they did not receive an award for the year in which they were nominated?

All nominees will be automatically renominated for the following two years after the initial nomination (if the nominee meets all eligibility requirements). TAMEST staff will reach out to nominators regarding the status of their past nominee and provide the option to update or withdraw their nomination.

Note: It is not unusual for a nominee to be nominated more than once before receiving an O’Donnell Award.

If a nominator would like to submit a re-nomination for a previously nominated individual, do they need to re-submit all supporting documents with a new nomination form?

All nominees will be automatically renominated for the following two years after the initial nomination (if the nominee meets all eligibility requirements). If the renomination is outside of the two years of the initial nomination and there are no changes to the information provided in the original nomination form, the nominator can request to use the original nomination documents. The nominator should ensure the nominee is still eligible and also must inform TAMEST of the request to re-nominate using a previous nomination file.

Nominee Selection

Can nominees from the same academic institution receive an O’Donnell Award in different categories (medicine, engineering, biological sciences and physical sciences) in the same year?

Yes. Each subcommittee reviews their separate category’s nominees independently and may choose and recommend finalists from the same institution as another subcommittee.

When will nominees be notified if they will be receiving an O’Donnell

Nominees selected as an O’Donnell Awards recipient will be notified along with their nominators in early September. If a nominee is not selected, only the nominator will be notified.


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