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Martha Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica: An International Polar Year Legacy 4 The Selection Committee and the Selection Process The Selection Committee plays a critical role in ensuring the success and reputation of the Martha Muse Prize. Its role will be to evaluate nominations and recommend the prize winner from the pool of nominations, ensuring that the selection process is fair and unbiased. The Selection Committee will be independent of, but supported by, the organization administering the prize. The Selection Committee’s operations must be beyond reproach for the Martha Muse Prize to become the highly prestigious prize that the Tinker Foundation seeks. SELECTION COMMITTEE OPERATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Members should serve for three years with some portion of the Selection Committee being renewed each year. Initially, time-limited service for some Committee members will be needed to implement the Committee membership rotation policy. The chair plays a critical role, providing longer-term memory and leadership to the Selection Committee, and is eligible for reappointment for an additional three years, if approved by the Tinker Foundation. Members are not eligible for reappointment after completion of their service, other than promotion to chair. No Selection Committee member shall serve for more than a total of six years in any combination of capacities. Attention to avoid conflict of interest will be needed, perhaps modeled on NAS procedures for study committees. In its deliberations of nominees, the Selection Committee should, by its selections, ensure the following goals: Promotion of IPY’s goals even after the official IPY 2007–2008 period has concluded. Consideration of the wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary Antarctic science and policy topics over time. Enhancement of the diversity and perspectives brought to bear on Antarctic issues. Illustration of the importance of international collaboration in Antarctic science and policy. Although it is possible to conduct the selection process by teleconference, the preferred approach would be a face-to-face meeting of the Selection Committee to allow for optimum back-and-forth discussion and deliberation during the selection process. (To reduce costs, if timing allows, Selection Committee meetings could be held in conjunction with the biennial SCAR Open Science Conference or other large international science meetings that the Committee members may already be attending.) Committee deliberations are to be in closed session, and the privacy of nomination materials, as well as the opinions and remarks of individuals, must be guarded scrupulously to encourage open and frank discussions. The chair
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Martha Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica: An International Polar Year Legacy will report the prize winner recommended by the Selection Committee to the administrative organization and the Tinker Foundation so that the Foundation can review the selection process and outcome and announce the winner. SELECTING THE COMMITTEE Although this report is needed by June 2008, to assist the Tinker Foundation with the initiation of the prize, NAS’s PRB will continue in an advisory capacity for a year to implement the prize fully as part of its agreement with the sponsor. Thereafter, the Tinker Foundation will need periodic advice from a group (or groups) that has experience successfully assembling and balancing committees to ensure that the Selection Committee continues to be unbiased, inclusive, and exemplary in its composition and conduct. Over time, as Selection Committee members rotate, nominations for new members should be sought from the Selection Committee, SCAR, ICSU, Antarctic Treaty parties, the Tinker Foundation, and other individuals and organizations considered appropriate. The Tinker Foundation may wish to form a small steering group to choose and formally invest the new Selection Committee members. The Selection Committee should contain six members, including the chair, with the following characteristics: Eminent scholars and experts with exposure to and knowledge of a broad array of Antarctic science and policy endeavors. Represent the diversity of the Antarctic research community in terms of race, gender, and nationality. EVALUATING NOMINEES AND SELECTING THE PRIZE WINNER The prestige and recognition that accrues to a “prize” or “award” relates to the quality of its recipients. The financial incentives and recognition associated with the prize have innate value. However, the subsequent history and accomplishments of previous prize winners, to a large degree, will define the perception of the importance and value of a prize. Once the Martha Muse Prize has become an established entity within the Antarctic community; ideally, simply being a nominee will provide recognition. This is something Selection Committees should strive to achieve over time. Thus, selection must ensure that the very best candidates are selected using a process of explicit and unambiguous review, evaluation, and selection criteria. The process should be perceived by potential nominators and nominees as obtainable (i.e., with a chance of success), inclusive, unbiased, and fair. Within two weeks of the close of the nomination period, the administrative organization will review all nomination packages to ensure that they are complete. (It is not the role of the administrative organization or the Selection Committee to notify nominators of missing items; this responsibility rests solely with the nominators.) After this initial review, the nomination packages will be distributed to the Selection Committee—at least two weeks before the Committee meets to allow adequate time for the Committee to prepare. At this time, any conflicts of interest with nominees must be declared by Committee members and a plan devised to address these conflicts, such as reassignment of nomination packages or recusal from
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Martha Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica: An International Polar Year Legacy deliberations on a particular nominee.5 Prior to the Selection Committee meeting, the chair will assign each member several nominations to study; the member will serve as the lead presenter of the nomination during discussions. Nominee assignments to Selection Committee members should attempt to match their expertise as much as possible to allow informed discussion of all aspects of the nomination package. At the beginning of the meeting, following disclosure of conflicts of interest, the chair will reiterate the selection criteria, the procedures to arrive at a consensus selectee, and follow-up on the progress of previous prize winners (after the inaugural year). Along with the complete nomination packages, each Committee member should receive a standard checklist and evaluation criteria ranking form for each nominee to allow for consistent and uniform evaluation of the nomination packages. (Appendix D6 contains an example of evaluation and ranking criteria, which is utilized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s [AAAS] Science & Technology Policy Fellowships.) The forms should include a “comments” section for Committee members to record any matters not covered by the selection criteria that were considered in the deliberations. These forms will serve as part of the record of the deliberations of the Selection Committee. At the meeting, the Selection Committee should first conduct an initial discussion of each nomination, and then the members will individually rank the nominations using the evaluation forms. In discussions, the members should evaluate the nominations in terms of the selection criteria. The rankings will be compiled, and nominations that fall in the upper 50 percent will be discussed further. Following that discussion, a subsequent ranking by each member will be conducted, and either the top 50 percent or the top five nominations will be further discussed. (If Selection Committee member evaluations evolve during the selection process, new evaluation forms should be completed and added to the Committee’s record.) This sequence will be repeated until the Committee votes on just the top two nominations; ultimately, the nominee receiving the majority vote will be the Committee’s selection. Dissenting opinions should be recorded, but it is hoped that a unanimous decision can be reached. In the event that the Selection Committee deems no nominee to be worthy of the Martha Muse Prize in a given year, the prize will not be awarded, and the funds will be left for a subsequent year either to increase the future prize amount or to select more than one winner in the future. The Selection Committee’s decision will be summarized in a short (electronic) report to the Tinker Foundation, which retains the authority to give final approval and which will then announce the recipient (likely in conjunction with the administrative organization). The report should be sufficiently comprehensive to ensure that selection procedures were followed and that nominees were given fair and equal treatment. Any anomalies or variations (e.g., conflicts of interest) and how these were addressed should be highlighted. 5 To ensure unbiased proceedings, it is likely appropriate that no Selection Committee member be present during the discussion of a nominee or be allowed to rank a nominee who belongs to his or her organization or university. 6 Appendix D also provides information on AAAS’s online review process, candidate eligibility, and reviewer considerations that may be helpful to the Tinker Foundation and the administrative organization.