This 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 author(s) of the work is presented with the award at the SysEB Section Meeting during the ESA Annual Meeting. Prior to 2019, this award was the ESA Thomas Say Award.

Nomination Requirements
Evaluation Criteria
Submission Requirements
Previous Winners
Submit a Nomination


At least one of the authors of the nominated work must be an ESA member of the SysEB Section. Terms of the endowment state that the criteria below are required:

  • The nomination is based on a single published work by the nominee (either as sole or first-author) considered to be significant and outstanding in one or more of the fields of insect systematics, morphology, or evolution.
  • The work being nominated must have been published a minimum of two full years prior to the date of nomination and have at least 15 citations.
  • At least one of the following two criteria must be met:
    • The lead author of the nominated work is based at a US or Canadian, or Mexican institution, or
    • The work on which the nomination is based is focused on Nearctic and/or Neotropical insects and allies

Nomination Requirements

Nominations may be submitted by any member of the Society. Self-nominations are allowed, but no author may self-nominate for more than one of their works per year. Nominations packages must include the following:

  • Letter of nomination (1 page) that includes an objective assessment of the work and its impact on the field.
  • ​Digital (PDF) copy of the work. For works that were initially only issued in hard-copy, a scanned copy may be submitted.
  • One-page assessments of the work (each including a brief description of the work and an objective assessment of its impact) by two specialists familiar with its subject matter. If the work is being self nominated by an author, it must include objective assessments from three individuals who are not authors of the work.

Evaluation Criteria

Nominees will be judged using the following criteria for a total of 60 points. Nominations must receive 45 points to be considered for the award.

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

Submission Requirements

All nomination packages must be submitted electronically to the Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity Award Nomination website according to the following specifications:

  • Page Limits – The entire nomination package must not exceed 20 pages total. This include letters of nomination and evaluation, and publication lists but not the work itself. Packages over 20 pages will not be considered.
  • Letters of nomination must be included in the electronic package.
  • 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.


Nominations of a particular work that are initially unsuccessful will be held, considered, and re-scored automatically with no need for re-nomination for two years subsequent to the initial nomination year. The originally submitted documentation will be used for the evaluation process unless the nominator submits new or updated documents.

Previous Winners

View the list of those who have previously received this award.


Nomination packages must be submitted online via the Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity Award Nomination website by June 1 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time annually. This deadline refers to receipt by the awards administrator of a complete package in a readable format. Therefore, early submission is highly recommended.

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