Guidelines for IEEE Geographic Unit Award Proposals

"Awards" is the generic name given to recognition of excellence by IEEE and includes medals, awards, scholarships, and other recognitions administered under the overall responsibility of the IEEE Awards Board and the IEEE Board of Directors. Certain specific responsibilities have been delegated to subordinate boards.
This procedure details the development, submission, approval, and administrative procedures applicable to all award and scholarship proposals developed by IEEE geographic units (e.g, Region, Section, Chapter) and submitted to the MGA Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC) for endorsement. Upon ARC endorsement, proposals will be forwarded to the Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Member Engagement and Life Cycle Committee (MELCC) or MGA Board for final approval, or for review by MGA MELCC, but requiring higher levels of approvals by virtue of exceeding the limitations of Table A in Section 4 of the IEEE Policies.

General overview

  1. Develop a clear concept of what the IEEE organizational unit wants to accomplish, e.g., recognize outstanding academic record, foster specific graduate research, recognize science fair winners in electrical exhibits, recognize volunteer contributions, and recognize professional technical contributions, in keeping with IEEE aims and objectives.
  2. Decide what type of award (e.g., medal, award, scholarship, other recognition) most appropriately fits the objectives. Use samples as guides
  3. Determine the funding available in terms of amount, source, recurring availability, and how the funds will be administered. (IEEE procedures must be followed explicitly as to sources of funds and how they may be administered.) Funds derived from IEEE and Society member dues and fees or from organizational unit rebates cannot be used for scholarships, fellowships, or other awards.
  4. Determine who in the IEEE organizational unit will be responsible for preparing the proposal and seeing that it is followed through to approval, administering the program after it is approved on a continuing basis as to nominations, publicity, selection of applicants, and other administrative arrangements particular to the program selected. If another agency, such as a foundation, school, or university, or another relevant body, is to handle any part of the program, a formal agreement must be prepared detailing responsibilities of the IEEE organizational unit and the other body as a contract, which must be approved as a part of the proposal. (See specific procedures for details.)
  5. Develop a draft(s) in accordance with IEEE requirements, using the samples as a guide, and secure preliminary approval of the draft from the IEEE organizational unit governing body. (Before any substantial amount of work is done, it is best to make sure the IEEE organizational unit has authorized the concept of the project.) Defer final approval until the draft has been reviewed by the MGA Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC) or it has been discussed in detail with a representative of that committee.
  6. After the draft has been reviewed by MGA ARC, prepare final documents and necessary actions for approval (e.g., Executive Committee motions) as well as the assignment of ongoing responsibility and the funding approvals in the IEEE organizational unit. Approval of a third-party agreement should be deferred until the MGA Board approves the draft. However, it is desirable to have written clearance with the third party, stating that they have reviewed the proposed agreement (which should be in conformity with prior discussions) and are prepared to approve it.
  7. E-mail the proposal (and agreement) properly signed by an authorized person of the organizational unit (Section Chair, preferably) to the MGA ARC with any pertinent background that would be helpful in evaluating the proposal. Such information may include the motion of the Executive Committee, information surrounding the relationship between the Section and university, biographical information about an individual if the award is dedicated as a memorial, etc.
  8. Upon receipt of approval, place the operation into effect and arrange to maintain records of each year's activity on this and other similar programs. Make arrangements for a suitable place and time for presentation in an appropriate manner. Recognition of the recipient and identification of the IEEE organizational unit donor should be arranged through appropriate media.
  9. Detailed information regarding the awards programs of IEEE are contained in the IEEE Policies.

Types of student recognition awards

Recognition and support for any student activity shall be for the direct benefit or perpetuation of the aims and objectives of IEEE or one of its organizational units. Scholarships should be designed to accomplish specific purposes not already covered by other agencies.
For purposes of clarity, IEEE has identified the various forms of student recognition and support generally characterized as fellowships, awards, or prizes in terms of:
  • Graduate Fellowships: May be presented annually, related to the interests of the sponsoring organizational unit, in any amount from US$5,000 to US$30,000;
  • Graduate Awards: May be presented on a specific basis, related to the interests of the sponsoring organizational unit, in any amount from US$1,000 to US$15,000;
  • Undergraduate Scholarship: May be presented annually, related to the interests of the sponsoring organizational unit, in any amount from US$500 to US$15,000;
  • Undergraduate Award: May be presented for outstanding achievement in any curriculum in the IEEE fields of interest in the form of a certificate and/or a monetary award, not in excess of US$500;
  • Secondary School Prize: May be presented in furtherance of IEEE objectives and interests in the form of a certificate and/or a monetary award, not in excess of US$500;
  • Educational Grants: Special programs may be offered by IEEE organizational units where grants may be made to students/and or faculty in furtherance of the special interests of an IEEE organizational unit. Such programs do not generally fall under the purview of the IEEE Awards Board but may require approval by other bodies. 
Development of a proposal
  1. Develop an outline, which details the limitations that apply to the proposal. This ensures that all requirements will be met when the proposal specifications are drawn up. 
  2. Specify the elements of the proposal, which are found in the IEEE Policies, Section 4 - Awards Activities. The information submitted will be reviewed by the approving body; therefore, the details should be complete. When there are complex arrangements, such as cases involving agreements with third parties, etc., the proposal details may be abbreviated if proper references are made to other documents that are appended and attached.
  3. A draft proposal, for review by the MGA Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC), is necessary if (1) the originating body is unfamiliar with the procedures for establishing awards, and/or (2) the proposal is complex, and the benefits of a review by the ARC will be useful.
  4. Use the following format for the award specifications, from Section 4 of the IEEE Policies. This will expedite the approval process. Comments included with the various headings are intended as a guide reflecting the completeness required and the issues or details which will be considered in the review of the process for approval.
Description: Award specifications should be unambiguous and non-conflicting with existing awards.
  • What objective is to be achieved? 
  • The award should stimulate outstanding achievement. 
  • A need for continuity of the award should be shown and the frequency of consideration.
  • The title of the award and the sponsor should be stated. 
  • The title should also reflect award and purpose, when appropriate. For example,  the IEEE ___ Section 200x Science Fair Prize in Engineering or the IEEE ___ Section Memorial Scholarship in honor of J.C. Doe or IEEE Region # Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award.
Administration: Specify the organizational unit(s) responsible for administering the award. 
  • This issue may have public connotations and potential legal aspects, thus requiring careful development. 
  • Where a third party is used for any part of this responsibility, details of the agreement between the IEEE organizational unit and the third party should be clearly set forth and made a part of the proposal by reference or otherwise. (Sample third-party agreements are available from MGA.)
Eligibility: Be very specific as to the parameters such as who may apply;
  • if IEEE or Society membership is required;
  • age, level of accomplishment (e.g., grade requirements);
  • or other limitations, restrictions, or affiliations not otherwise prohibited or in violation of the non-discriminatory objectives of IEEE.
Prize: Identify specifically what the award will consist of, such as cash award, certificate, plaque, featured publication, etc.
  • If multiple awards are permitted, specify the manner of prize sharing. 
  • The prize should be well intentioned, meaningful, and appropriate to the purpose of the award. 
  • Scholarships in particular should be appropriate to both the goals of the sponsor and the probable needs of the recipient.
Funds: State source of funds, assurance of fund continuity. 
  • Is it a one-time or recurring award? 
  • How are the funding programs managed and by whom? 
  • If a third party is involved, is the handling covered by agreement? 
  • What occurs to residual funds or cancellations of program or diminishment of resources?
Nominee Solicitation: Detail plans and procedures used to solicit nominees. If other bodies are involved, explain how they are involved.  
Award or Selection Committee: Identify membership, term of service, procedures for selection of members, responsibilities, etc. 
  • If other bodies are involved, how does IEEE exercise influence and control? 
  • Does the Committee have administrative as well as selection responsibilities, and if so, how is it accomplished?
Schedule: State schedule for submission of nominees, applications, committee meetings, approval meetings, notification of recipient, annual or periodic award, etc. When scholarships, etc., are proposed, how does the schedule fit with the academic need it embraces?
Selection: How is the selection process to be accomplished? For example, scoring, voting, or other procedures? 
  • Who does it? 
  • State all factors to be considered. 
  • Does high academic achievement or involvement with IEEE, etc., have a weighing factor? 
  • Are multiple recipients permitted and how is it administered? 
  • When recurring awards and awards of a substantive amount are concerned, continuity, expertise, and the capability for addressing the objective should be factors.
Presentation: State preferred location and schedule for award presentation. Indicate if the recipient has a preference of location and time.
Publicity: Publicity as may be appropriate and available. For example, use IEEE publications, feature publication, or the local paper.

Submission of a proposal

  • If the organizational unit originating an award proposal desires, the MGA Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC) will review such proposals in a draft form and advise as to any modifications or changes necessary for approval.
  • Completed proposals that have been approved by the appropriate responsible body of the MGA organizational unit involved should be e-mailed to MGA Awards. An additional copy should be sent to the Regional Director.
  • Submit the proposal with a cover letter describing the background for the new award. Include:
    • if any, the committees who approved the proposal previously;
    • various considerations of funding;
    • any other information useful to the committee in judging this proposal, including other similar awards of the organizational unit; what stimulated this proposal; and any unique related aspects. 

Review of proposal

The MGA Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC) will evaluate the proposal in accordance with established policies and procedures and in terms of:
the award objectives of IEEE and MGA that are comprised by the proposal;
  • monetary aspects, including the funding sources, third-party agreements, custody of funds, depositories, foundations, and all other issues having to do with the fiscal integrity of the proposal;
  • quality, completeness, and merits of the proposal, and the desired results;
  • assessment of the potential for successful implementation.
After detailed review of the proposal, the MGA ARC will make one of the following recommendations:
  • return to the originating organizational unit for resubmission with recommended modification;
  • submit the proposal to the MGA MELCC or MGA Board for final approval, if the proposal has met all the requirements for approval;
  • submit the proposal to MGA MELCC or MGA Board and advise that it not be approved for reasons detailed in an accompanying letter. 

Action by the MGA MELCC and MGA ARC

Upon review, the MGA MELCC or MGA Board can:
  • Approve as recommended
  • Remand to MGA Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC) for modifications by the originating organizational unit and resubmission
  • Disapprove
Subsequent action by the MGA ARC:
  • In the case of disapproval or resubmission for changes by the MGA MELCC or MGA Board, the MGA ARC shall review the issues with the originating organizational unit and try to resolve the issues.
  • When a proposal is approved, MGA ARC will:
    • promptly notify the originating organizational unit;
    • report it to the IEEE Awards Board for information;
    • ensure that MGA files are updated;
    • establish an annual reporting procedure of all existing awards to be reviewed for viability and change. Develop a procedure for communicating changes on existing awards, and the resubmission to ensure relevant conformity with changing policies;
    • take steps to publicize newly approved awards in relevant publications.

Naming of IEEE Awards

All new awards:
  • must start with the name IEEE;
  • may contain the name of an individual;
  • must contain the general area of coverage for an award;
  • may contain a phrase such as sponsored by a funding entity(ies).
When an award is named after a person:
  • the sponsoring entity must obtain written consent from the individual that he/she agrees to have an IEEE award or medal named in his/her honor; the written consent must accompany the award or medal proposal;
  • once the appropriate Board approves the establishment of the award, the sponsoring entity bears the responsibility of notifying the individual of said approval.
When an award is named after a person, that individual shall not be eligible:
  • to receive the award bearing his/her name;
  • to serve on the selection committee that bears his/her name.

Other information

  • Each Region, Geographic Council, Area, and Section is responsible for policies governing procedures for, and the financing of, awards and scholarships within their respective organizational units. A file, including full documentation of the awards, should be maintained by the originating organizational unit. Complete information on all awards should be maintained by the MGA ARC on behalf of the MGA Board. 
  • For recurring awards, a responsible continuing body should be established to carry out the award specifications in a uniform, knowledgeable, and systematic manner.
  • For repositories of funds, properly established trusteeships, experienced and reliable third-party organizational units, and the use of suitable foundations, such as the IEEE Foundation, are encouraged. Whenever such third-party organizational units are used, the arrangements should be detailed in adequate and properly approved agreements.
  • Funds derived from IEEE and Society member dues and fees, and organizational unit rebates, MAY NOT be used for awards.
  • As a prerequisite for approval, all award proposals are thoroughly reviewed by volunteer personnel at scheduled committee and Board meetings. Therefore, when proposing an initial award presentation date, originating organizational units should allow adequate time for review by all of the required approving bodies.
  • Where an organizational unit is involved in a bequest, or proposes to develop an award proposal from contributions, please refer to IEEE Policies, Section 4.