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AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy

Nominations for the 2025 award cycle open on April 15, 2024. The deadline is June 30, 2024. For more information on the AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy, please visit the award portal. 

The AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy recognizes an individual or a limited number of individuals working together in the scientific and engineering or foreign affairs communities who are making an outstanding contribution to furthering science diplomacy.

Over the past 30 years, AAAS has honored an international cadre of science diplomacy practitioners whose work lies at the intersection of science, evidence-based decision-making, and diplomacy. AAAS first established the International Scientific Cooperation Award in 1992. The AAAS Board of Directors approves the award since it was renamed the AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy in 2010.

In 2021, the award was renamed for David and Betty Hamburg to recognize their unparalleled commitment to the significant role of science diplomacy to advance science, human rights, peace, and cooperation.

In February 2022, AAAS led the production of this short documentary—produced with funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York—that ties the Hamburgs’ legacy to the award and illustrates the impact that receiving this recognition has had on previous awardees’ careers, as well as on the institutions they work or helped to create:


Watch the video in YouTube: 


The Hamburgs were longtime members and champions of AAAS throughout their professional lives. David Hamburg, a renowned psychiatrist-physician, educator, and humanitarian, was elected to the AAAS Board of Directors in 1980 and as a Fellow of AAAS in 1982. He became AAAS president in 1985. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 for devoting “his life to understanding human behavior, preventing violent conflict and improving the health and well-being of children.” Betty Hamburg, a distinguished psychiatrist and researcher, was elected to the AAAS Board of Directors in 1987 and served on the Board until 1991. In 1992, she was elected a Fellow of AAAS in recognition of her leadership and major advances in adolescent mental health.

The Hamburgs helped shed light on how science can serve as a common language and bring allies and adversaries together through collaborative research to address enormous challenges. They were instrumental in guiding AAAS to become a global leader in the field of science diplomacy and assisting with the establishment of the Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy, where David served as a visiting scholar. The Center evolved into the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy in 2008. Through this award, AAAS celebrates the Hamburgs, their exceptional achievements, and their persistent pursuit to further peace, health, and prosperity for all. 

The award recipient receives a monetary prize of $10,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration for the AAAS Annual Meeting and reimbursement for travel and hotel expenses to attend, worldwide promotion of their achievements through AAAS communication channels, and the opportunity to publish in Science & Diplomacy about their work.

The award is presented each year at the AAAS Annual Meeting

Inquiries may be directed to the Center for Science Diplomacy


Any individual or small group in the scientific or foreign policy community that has contributed to the role of science cooperation in building stronger links between and among societies is eligible for the AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy.

  • The award is open to all regardless of nationality or citizenship.
  • Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination.
  • The award accepts self-nominations.

Required Materials

Submit your nominations via the online submissions portal hereThe submission form requests the following information:

  • Nominator's name and contact information (including email, address, and phone number)
  • Nominee's name and title, institutional affiliation, and contact information (email, address, and phone number)
  • A summary of the nominee's accomplishment(s) that form the basis for the nomination (about 250 words)
  • A longer statement (not to exceed three pages) providing additional details of the accomplishment(s) for which the individual/group is nominated
  • A CV (three-page maximum) of the nominee(s)
  • One letter of support written by someone other than the nominator (for self-nominations we request two letters)
    • Self-nominators can directly submit the two letters of support via the submissions portal as a PDF.  
  • Optional: Documentation (links to books, articles, or other materials) that illuminates the significance of the nominee's achievement may also be submitted.

Nomination materials must be received in English; all materials become the property of AAAS.

Selection Committee

Applications will be reviewed by an international, multidisciplinary selection committee. The committee’s recommendation, together with relevant materials, will be presented to the Board of Directors for final consideration and approval.

Members (2024 cycle): 

  • Cathleen Campbell, MA, former President and CEO, CRDF Global
  • Carlos Eduardo Higa Matsumoto, MA, Director, Office of International Affairs, Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation
  • Abdelbagi Ismail, PhD, Co-Recipient of the 2023 AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy, Africa Regional Director and Principal Scientist, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
  • Dorothy Ngila, PhD, Director, Knowledge Networks and SGCI, Strategic Partnerships at National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF)
  • Ian Wiggins, MS, Director, International Relations, The Royal Society

Past Recipients 

Congrats Abdelbagi M. Ismail for the AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy
Congrats Uma Shankar Singh for the AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy

In 2023, two scientists, Abdelbagi Ismail and Uma Shankar Singh, received the award for their work on seed exchange agreements in Southeast and South Asia. Both working at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Ismail is a Sudanese botanist who established and leads the Africa Regional Office, while Singh is an Indian plant pathologist who serves as the Asia & Africa Advisor for Research and Partnerships.

In 2022, Sir David King, a South African-born British physical chemist, was recognized for his diplomatic stewardship towards international consensus for urgent global action on climate change. As the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir David elevated the role of climate change in the country’s foreign policy.  

Dr. Carlos Nobrea Brazilian climate scientist specializing in the effects of climate change in the Amazon, received the 2021 AAAS Award for Science Diplomacy for his career-spanning work to understand and protect the biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon.

Past recipients have contributed in many ways to the advancement of science diplomacy. This award has been granted to international trailblazers, including sir Peter Gluckman, who transformed the theory and practice of science advice; to diplomats like Thomas R. Pickering, and policymakers like Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, who have promoted the application of science and technology from their roles in public service; and to a small group of scientists who made central contributions to the founding and development of the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East laboratory (SESAME), the first major international scientific center in that region, among other notable winners.


AAAS gratefully acknowledges Carnegie Corporation of New York for their generous support to launch the AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy and the individuals and foundations whose contributions have begun an endowment that will allow us to sustain it in perpetuity.

Recognizing the incredible importance of science diplomacy, help AAAS make this recognition permanent. To make a gift, please visit here


All federal, state and local taxes, and any other costs and expenses, associated with the receipt or use of the prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

AAAS Awards

Each year, AAAS recognizes significant contributions to science and the public’s understanding of science. Learn more about these awards and nominate a scientist, engineer, author, journalist, or public servant for their outstanding work.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed to equal opportunity for all persons, without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories. AAAS seeks as diverse a pool of award nominations as possible, including a wide range of disciplines, institutional types, and geographic locations. 

All award winners are expected to meet the commonly held standards of professional ethics* and scientific integrity.

* Breaches of professional ethics might include sexual misconduct, racial discrimination, or other ethical violations. Sexual harassment or retaliation for declining, objecting to, or reporting harassment or other sexual conduct may constitute a serious breach of professional ethics.


Center for Science Diplomacy email

Postal Address:
AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy | 1200 New York Ave. NW | Washington, D.C. 20005 | United States

For questions about the awards portal, please email Please include "AAAS David and Betty Hamburg Award for Science Diplomacy" in the subject line of your email.