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Awards for Research Excellence

Recognizing faculty with significant research achievements in basic research and mission-oriented or applied research.


The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech research division established the Award for Research Excellence in 2002 for the purpose of promoting research in the college. The research division gives annual awards to two (2) faculty members who have reached a significant level of research achievement within their disciplines. One award recognizes a single faculty member for excellence in basic research, while the other award recongnizes a single faculty member for excellence in mission-oriented or applied research.

Each award includes $2,500 to the selected individual, plus an additional $2,500 in support of his/her program.

Award for Excellence in Basic Research winner David Schmale
Excellence in Basic Research Award Recipient Boris Vinatzer
Award for Excellence in Applied Research winner Jacob Barney
Excellence in Applied Research Award Recipient Jacob Barney

The research must show evidence of excellence in the performance of diligent research, studious inquiry, and exhaustive investigation. The aim of the research is discovery of new facts and their correct interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in light of newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions, theories, or laws.

  • The CALS associate dean for research shall issue invitations for nominations during the spring semester.
  • Nominations may come from the unit leader or the unit leader’s designee. Unit leaders include department heads, AREC directors, center directors, deans or associate deans.
  • Self-nominations are not permitted.
  • The CALS associate dean for research will designate the form and content of nominating material in keeping with the criteria set forth for these awards.
  • Nominators are urged to prepare the documentation so that peers in unrelated fields can appreciate the significance of the nominee's work. The issues of how the work relates to the state-of-the-art and what impact it has had on the field should be addressed clearly and concisely.
  • A selection committee chaired by the CALS associate dean of research will select the award winners. Reviewers will not provide feedback for applications received.

To be eligible:

  • The recipient must have been an on- or off-campus member of the CALS faculty for at least three years.
  • The research must have been done at Virginia Tech (on- or off-campus). Continuation of research started before becoming a member of the CALS faculty will be considered, but preference will be given to research conducted at Virginia Tech.
  • A recipient will be selected based on his or her research ability as evaluated by peers and major awards, scholarly activities, and peer-refereed publications (refereed journal articles, books, other publications, and patents).
  • Preference should be given to sustained research over a period of three to ten years, although in exceptional cases, the award may be given for a single piece of outstanding work without regard to time.
  • The award may be granted jointly to two or more persons where the research was done jointly.

Applicants will be considered ineligible if they:

  • Previously received this award in past years.
  • Were recognized by Virginia Tech as recipients of the Alumni Award for Research Excellence.
  • Are a Distinguished Professor.
  • Are retired faculty.
  • Are self-nominated.

Please address the following, by number and with the indicated headings, on no more than two (2) pages.

  1. Name of the nominee: Attach curriculum vita, including list of publications, awards, grants, invited lectures, etc. The award may be granted jointly to two or more CALS faculty for collaborative research. In such cases, please submit vitae, etc. for all nominees.
  2. Specific scholarly achievements: A brief description.
  3. Research area: Address the importance of the area of research or scholarship and the impact of the work of the nominee. If quotations from reviews or other papers are given, please supply copies of the complete text. Indicate the significance, frequency, etc. of awards or prizes received. Service in professional societies may be cited as evidence of professional visibility, but please do not cite university or community service, or accomplishments in instruction.
  4. Exemplary contributions: Cite not more than five of the most important refereed papers published by the nominee.
  5. References: Nomination packages should include two letters of reference. One letter should be from an individual who works at Virginia Tech, and the second letter should be from an individual outside the university. Both references should be familiar with the candidate's achievements and their impact and significance.
  6. Proposed citation: No more than 20 words to be used on the plaque and as part of news releases.
  7. Proposed by: If by a committee, please list members. Include date of nomination.

Nominations for Award

  • Each nominee will be considered by the award committee for two additional years, if not selected the first year of consideration, for a total of three years.
  • A certificate will be presented to the selected individuals either at the annual meeting of the CALS Dean or during another appropriate ceremony organized to recognize the accomplishments of CALS faculty.

Submitting your Nominations

All nominations must be submitted via the Submittable link below. For questions regarding the award or submission process, please contact Laura Rasnick, or 540.231.6336.


Past Award Recipients

The first Research Excellence award recipients were awarded in 2003.

"The two awards, which were presented on Feb. 10, are the first awards to be given annually to CALS faculty members in order to promote research in the college."

Read the original VT Daily news article here.