In 1996, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) was commissioned to create an award to recognize and honor outstanding scientists and engineers at the outset of their independent research careers. The NSTC was established to coordinate the multiagency science and technology policy-making process, and to implement and integrate the President's science and technology policy agenda across the federal government.
The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) embodies the high priority placed by the government on maintaining the leadership position of the United States in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development. The Awards identify a cadre of outstanding scientists and engineers who will broadly advance science and the missions important to the participating agencies.
The PECASE Awards are intended to recognize some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge during the twenty-first century. The Awards foster innovative and far-reaching developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals, and highlight the importance of science and technology for the nation's future.
The PECASE Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. The awards are conferred annually at the White House following recommendations from participating agencies. To be eligible for a PECASE Award, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident. Each Presidential award winner receives a citation, a plaque and funding from their agency for up to five years to advance his or her research. Individuals can receive only one PECASE award in their careers.
The agencies participating in the PECASE Awards program are:
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Defense
- Department of Energy
- Department of Education
- Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health
- Department of Interior
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- National Science Foundation