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Outstanding Publication Award

Early Career Ecologists Section Outstanding Publication Award

The Early Career Ecologists (ECE) Section of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) announces our annual award for Outstanding Publication by an Early Career Ecologist. This award has been given since 2017 and is meant to honor exceptional research by an ECE section member published as a peer-reviewed manuscript of particular importance and relevance to the ecological community. The award consists of a $500 cash prize, and the winner will be announced at the ESA-ECE business meeting and awards ceremony at the ESA annual meeting.


Eligibility and Conditions

  • Only current members of the ESA Early Career Ecologists Section can apply (see here to check whether you are a current member). Section membership is $5 for ESA members. If the membership fee is a barrier to submitting an application, please contact the ECE officers (
  • The applicant must hold a terminal degree awarded within eight years of the application due date. Exceptions on the graduation time limit will be made on a case-by-case basis (e.g., maternity/paternity leave, sick leave, etc.). Requests for an exception should be explained in the cover letter of the application (see below).
  • The applicant must be listed as the first author on the paper or be an equally contributing lead author.
  • The paper must have been published or in-press in a peer-reviewed journal within four years of the application due date.
  • Members of historically underrepresented groups in science are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Upon receiving the ECE Outstanding Publication Award, the awardee will be asked to:
    • Attend the ECE section business meeting during the ESA annual meeting
    • Assist in judging applicants for the ECE Outstanding Publication Award the following year
    • Provide a photo and short biography to be featured on the ECE section website and social media


Selection Criteria

Applications will first be reviewed by an internal awards committee consisting of the officers of the ESA-ECE Section. Top applications will be reviewed by a select group of external academic and professional early career ecologists. Identifying information will be removed from the papers during the review process. The applications are evaluated on the following criteria:


  • Contribution to the field: The work is published in a recognized, peer-reviewed journal of good standing and provides broad theoretical or applied insights to the field of ecology.
  • Originality: Addresses novel hypotheses or questions with an innovative approach.
  • Broader context: Provides clear ties to societal impacts outside of the field of ecology.
  • Overall Quality and Communication: The work is well-organized and scientifically sound.


Application Process

The application package consists of the following three items, which are due by 5 pm EST on April 4th, 2022:


  1. A completed application form.
  2. A 1-page cover letter prepared using Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins on all sides. The cover letter should contain:
    1. A description of the main point(s) of the paper;
    2. How the paper meets the selection criteria, paying particular attention to criteria that may not have been adequately addressed within the scope of the original publication (e.g., Broader Context), and must be made clear to an ecologist not specializing in your subfield;
    3. If appropriate, any extenuating circumstances for inclusion into the competition by an applicant with a terminal degree awarded more than eight years prior to the application date.
  3. The paper, including all pertinent supplementary online materials. If the paper is in-press, please also attach the email confirming publication by the journal.


Please upload all documentation as a single PDF file named “2022_LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_ECE_Publication_Award.pdf” through the application form link. Late applications or applications that do not meet the eligibility and application criteria above will not be considered. Applicants will be notified of award decision in early June 2022. Please email the ECE officers at with any questions.