The US federal government has bestowed its highest honor on 96 outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.
President Barack Obama has named the 96 as this year's recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.
Honorees have only recently started research in their fields, and have, according to NIH, shown potential for assuring the nation’s preeminence in science and engineering, and contributing to the missions of the departments and agencies that nominated them.
The Department of Health and Human Services led among federal agencies with 22 PECASE winners—all but two from NIH—followed by NSF with 20 and the Department of Defense with 16. Other PECASE recipients are employed or funded by the US departments of agriculture, commerce, education, energy, interior, and veterans’ affairs; as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
"These individuals have only recently started research in their fields, and they have the potential for long and productive careers working on discoveries to improve the health of our nation," NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement.
The PECASE awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President.