Awards Taskforce


Chair: Bill Bement, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Derek Applewhite, Reed College

Andrew Ewald, Johns Hopkins

Tim Fessenden, MIT

Erin Goley, Johns Hopkins

Tama Hasson, UCLA

Elisa Konieczko, Gannon University

Brian Lewis, University of Massachusetts

Samara Reck-Peterson, UC San Diego

Shambaditya Saha Institute of Molecular Biology

Susan Walsh, Soka University

Ora Weisz, University of Pittsburgh

Scott Wilkinson, National Institutes of Health


At its meeting last June the ASCB Council formed a task force to review the Society’s honorific awards portfolio, charged with undertaking a comprehensive review of the ways in which ASCB provides professional recognition to its members and submitting subsequent recommendations back to Council for future improvement. This action was taken in part in response to concerns raised in recent years about the lack of racial and gender diversity in the nominees and the recipients of several of our awards, particularly those that are intended to recognize cell biologists for their body of work over the course of their career.

The Council’s discussion of awards was part of a broader conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusivity issues that resulted in a variety of near- to long-term actionable items to fulfill the Society’s goals to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything it does.

Official Charter

An important function of scientific societies is the recognition of excellence. The ASCB has a wide range of awards that recognize members and nonmembers at a variety of career stages. Most of the awards recognize scientific excellence, but there are also awards for teaching, public service, and inclusivity. Most of the awards provide some financial support and opportunity to speak or be recognized at the Cell Bio annual meeting. Some of the awards are supported by endowments and some have been named after historic figures. The award portfolio has grown organically over the years. There has not been a comprehensive look at the portfolio in many years. The ASCB Council recognizes that the awards portfolio may not reflect the full values of the Society and is forming a taskforce to examine the portfolio and make recommendations of changes that may be considered for the future.

Provisional General Goal:

To have an award process and award structure that aligns with and supports the mission of ASCB.

Provisional Specific Goals:

  1. To have an award structure that covers all of the ways people contribute to cell biology—including mentoring, teaching, outreach, public policy, and research.
  2. To have an award structure that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  3. To have applicant pools which mirror the make-up of the ASCB membership.
  4. To have transparent award criteria.
  5. To have fair award processes.
  6. To acquire support for more awards from external sources (e.g., vendors).