Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity (SysEB) Thomas Say Award

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 recipient is presented with the award at the SysEB Section Meeting during the ESA Annual Meeting. This award was previously the ESA Thomas Say Award. Starting in 2018 this award requires that you are a SysEB Member.

For questions about this award, please contact the current Past President of the SysEB Section, Floyd Shockley.

Nomination Requirements
Evaluation Criteria
Submission Requirements
Previous Winners
Submit a Nomination


Nominees 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 years prior to the date of nomination.
  • At least one of the following two criteria must be met:
    • The nominee is based at a US or Canadian institution, or
    • The work on which the nomination is based is focused on Nearctic and/or Neotropical insects and allies
  • Previous recipients of the Thomas Say Award are not eligible

Nomination Requirements

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

  • CV-Related Items: Nominators must provide a CV which includes the below sections. View a full listing of what should be included in each of the sections listed below.
    • Section 1 - Background Information
    • Section 2 - Research
  • Other Items:
    • Letter of nomination
    • Digital (PDF) copy of the work. For works that were initially only issued in hard-copy, a scanned copy may be submitted.
    • Brief one-page 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, it must include objective assessments from three individuals.

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, 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.


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. 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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