APS Prize or Award Selection Committee Chair Guidelines and Instructions

Conflicts of interest

The following connections between selection committee members and nominees are conflicts of interest:

  • residing at the same institution within the past four years,
  • collaborations published within the past four years,
  • financial via direct chain of command and/or participation in tenure, promotion, salary or forms of support by either party,
  • member of the same center or sharing any funding contract,
  • relationship due to immediate blood relation, current or prior marriage or civil union,
  • current or prior students, post-docs, advisees, and advisors.

Before scoring nominations, committee members should review the list of nominees and disclose to the committee chair any potential conflicts of interest. If the chair has a conflict, they should disclose it to the committee. A new chair may need to be identified, depending on the level of conflict. The committee minus the chair will vote to determine if the chair must be replaced due to conflict, or if recusal is sufficient.

Committee members and chairs with conflicts must recuse themselves from scoring and discussion of the person with whom they have a conflict. Specifically, they cannot be on the conference call while that person is discussed.

The Chair’s Role on the Selection Committee

The Chair shall be responsible for insuring the review and selection process is completed on time and in accordance with APS guidelines. The Chair shall facilitate and document the review and selection process, but should not score or vote on nominees. The Chair may take part in discussion of the nominees, but should be mindful of their primary role of facilitator.

Selection Calls

The committee should schedule a one-hour selection call, and a second optional selection call if further deliberation is needed. The selection calls will be conducted via conference call. Email honors@aps.org, subject line: Conference Call Request, and provide the name of the selection committee, date and time of the call(s). APS staff will provide a call-in number and access code. The agreed upon short list of top-ranked nominations shall be discussed. The primary reviewer will summarize each nomination for the committee. After the committee discusses the nominations, final scoring will determine the recipient(s).


For most selection committees, all members review and score all nominations, except conflict of interests. In order to lessen reviewer burden, if there are very many active nominations to review, the chair may decide to divide the reviewer assignments between the committee members randomly or according to area of expertise.

Chair Report

The Committee Chair shall complete a chair report (template will be provided by staff) recording the committee recommended recipient(s), as well as the selection process. The report should not include the names or information of any other nominees. This report is submitted by APS Honors staff who will provide it to the APS Council of Representatives for approval.

Canvassing Responsibilities

After a recipient is selected, the final responsibility of a prize or award selection committee chair is to ensure the committee discusses canvassing for diverse and highly-qualified nominees for the next selection cycle. This process should include reviewing the carry-over nominations, identify gaps in diversity of nominees from this year's list, working with the related unit executive committee or APS staff to encourage nominations. Any committee members continuing to serve the following year should be aware of any potential conflicts of interest with suggested nominees as they arise.