Thomas Say Award

This ESA* award acknowledges significant and outstanding work in the fields of insect systematics, morphology, or evolution. "Insect" is defined here to include insect allies. This award consists of a  plaque and cash award based on the interest earned from the Thomas Say Award endowment. The recipient is presented with the award at the ESA Annual Meeting.  

*Prior to 2014, this award was offered and administered by the Entomological Foundation.

Please select below to find out more on the award:


Submit a Nominee

Nomination Requirements

Evaluation Criteria




Previous Winners

Eligibility -
Terms of the endowment state that the criteria below are required:

  • The nomination is based on a published work (either single-author or first-author work) considered to be significant and outstanding in one or more of the fields of insect systematics, morphology, or evolution.
  • Nominee must either be North American, or the publication must focus on New World insects and allies. 

Submit a Nominee-
All nomination packages must be submitted electronically to the Thomas Say Award Submission Site according to the following specifications:

  • Page Limits – The entire nomination package must not exceed 20 pages total. This include letters of nomination or recommendation and publication lists. This includes anonymous letters of support sent to ESA separately, please factor in these letters into the package length. Packages over 20 pages will not be considered.
  • Letters of nomination must be included in the electronic package, letter of recommendation may be included in the package or submitted *anonymously via e-mail electronically to Printed letters will not be accepted.
  • Only the following file formats will be accepted: PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format), RTF (Rich Text Format), TIF graphic files, or JPG graphic files. Files created on either PC or Mac platforms will be accepted. Please make sure scanned images can be clearly read on a computer screen.
  • Font size for text may not be smaller than 10 point.
  • The nomination site requires a single nomination packet via one PDF file. If you do not have software to merge the documents, please send all of your files to for assistance.

Nomination Requirements -
Nominations may be submitted by any person. Please note there is a maximum of two self-nominations allowed per year.  Nominations packages for this award must include:

  1. CV-Related Items - Nominators must provide a CV which includes the following sections.  For a full listing of what should be included in each of the sections click here.
    • Section 1 - Background Information
    • Section 2 - Research
  2. Other Items -
    • Letter of nomination
    • Copy of the table of contents or title pages along with a selection of text pages of the representative published work (maximum of ten pages).  These items do not count towards the 20 page limit.
    • Brief, two-page description of the work, including an objective assessment of its impact by two specialists familiar with its subject matter (not to exceed a total of four pages).
    • Two published papers citing the published work.  Each document should include the cover page of the published paper and the reference page that shows the citation (not to exceed a total of four pages).
    • Up to two letters of recommendation*.  These letters may be written by the same individuals who wrote the two page description of the work.

*Anonymous Letter of Support: Follow the below instructions to submit an anonymous letter.

  1. Once the award application has been initiated, contact with the Award Nomination ID # (found at the top left-hand corner of the nomination submission page), Nominee name and the letter in PDF format.
  2. Once the letter has been uploaded by the ESA Awards Administrator, the nominator will receive an email notification.
  3. Please note, ESA is not responsible for individuals that do not contact the awards administration by the deadline date. It is up to the nominator to make sure that the individuals email the letter(s) by the deadline date. If an anonymous letter is not received by the deadline this will impact the score of the nominee.

Evaluation Criteria -
Nominees/candidates will be judged using the following criteria for a total of 60 points:

  1. The Submitted Published Work (30 points total)
    1. The work is well-presented (10)
    2. Provides thoughtful and significant insights to the field (10)
    3. Originality of work (10)
  2. Impact of Published Work (select one, maximum of 30 points)
    1. Minor (5)
    2. Moderate (10)
    3. Important (20)
    4. Outstanding (30)

Nomination packages must be received by ESA headquarters by June 1. This deadline refers to receipt by the awards administrator of a complete package in a readable format. Therefore, early submission is highly recommended. Nomination packets will not be able to be changed after June 1.

Re-nomination -
Any candidate nominated, but not selected, may be renominated no more than two times within the two-year period after his/her initial submission. Re-nomination packages will be retained for two years by the awards administrator. Nominators must send a letter of re-nomination to the awards administrator by the award deadline above. Previously submitted documentation will be used for the evaluation process unless the nominator submits new or updated documents. The re-nomination e-mail must contain this additional documentation. New or updated documents must follow the electronic submission requirements noted above.

Notification -
The awards administrator will notify all candidates and their nominators, where applicable, with the results of their application approximately two months after the application/nomination submission deadline.

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