Funding Opportunities

The Herbert Newby McCoy Award


Annual announcement is distributed to the West Lafayette campus academic deans and faculty in late November. Nominations are due in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, by Tuesday, February 10, 2015. The Selection Committee comprised of representatives of the science faculties meets in mid spring to determine the winner.

Background & Guidelines

The Herbert Newby McCoy Award was established in 1964 by Mrs. Ethel Terry McCoy in honor of her husband, a distinguished Purdue alumnus. A native of Indiana, Herbert Newby McCoy studied chemistry at Purdue University where he received a B.S. degree in 1892 and a M.S. degree in 1893. His Ph.D. was earned at the University of Chicago in 1898. McCoy spent the early part of his career, teaching at North Dakota State University, the University of Utah, and the University of Chicago. During the latter part of his career, he was president of Carnotite Reduction Company in Chicago and vice president of Lindsay Light and Chemical Company, also in Chicago. He died in 1945 in Los Angeles, California.

To support her husband's life-long interest in science, Mrs. McCoy designated that this annual award be made to a student or faculty member in the science departments of Purdue University making the greatest contribution of the year to science. Since the first award was conferred in the spring of 1965, it has remained the most prestigious research award given by the University in the natural sciences area. Nominations are invited from all faculty members, and the recipient is selected by representatives of the science faculties and the president of the University.

An individual cannot be nominated for both the McCoy Award and a Purdue University Research and Scholarship Distinction Award, as this latter award is limited to faculty not eligible for the McCoy Award.  The Herbert Newby McCoy Award is intended to honor a recent past achievement(s) of major scientific impact; the award is not a "lifetime achievement" award. 

The Award

The Herbert Newby McCoy Award consists of a monetary prize of $4,000 plus an additional contribution of $7,000 to support the research of the recipient.

Who is Eligible

Any student or faculty member on the West Lafayette campus who has made a recent significant contribution in the natural sciences is eligible for nomination for the award, regardless of school or departmental affiliation.

Investigators are eligible to receive only one of the University-wide research awards -- The Purdue University Research and Scholarship Distinction Award – Humanities and Social Sciences , Purdue University Research and Scholarship Distinction Award – Pure or Applied Science or Engineering, or the Herbert Newby McCoy Award. Past winners of a Research and Scholarship Distinction award are ineligible to receive a McCoy award.

Nominations & Due Dates

Nominations are solicited in late November from all members of the West Lafayette campus University faculty. An electronic copy of each nomination should be forwarded to the McCoy Award Committee, in c/o Sherri Neibert ( no later than Tuesday, February 10, 2015. Nominations may be made by any member of the University.

Nomination Instructions

A general announcement regarding the competition will be distributed to faculty in the academic units. All nominations must include:

  1. A concise summarizing statement, not more than two pages in length, which describes the impact and significance of the nominee's recent work leading to nomination for the McCoy Award.
  2. A Curriculum vita of the nominee.
  3. A complete list of all publications during the five-year period preceding January 1, 2015.
  4. Reprints or manuscripts which substantiate the impact of the contribution.
  5. Any additional supporting information which the nominator considers to be significant.
  6. Include no more than five letters supporting the impact and significance of the nominee's contribution to science. While letters from Purdue colleagues are valuable, those from outside the Purdue community may provide a better reflection of the impact of the nominee's contribution to their field of science. For supporting letters from individuals from outside Purdue, please include a brief statement of the author's expertise and relationship, if any, to the nominee. It is important to note that the selection committee places significant weight on the letters of support.

Award Process

To assist the selection committee in understanding the impact and significance of the nominee’s work, nominators (or their representatives) will be invited to make a brief presentation and answer questions during the selection committee meeting. This presentation carries substantial weight in the selection process as it allows committee members to more fully understand the impact of the work.

Award Presentation

The recipient of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award is notified via the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships and the award is bestowed at the annual Excellence in Research Awards dinner, November 9, 2015. In addition, the recipient addresses the Purdue community at the McCoy Distinguished Lecture.

McCoy Distinguished Lecture

The McCoy Distinguished Lecture provides the Purdue community the opportunity to hear the McCoy Award winner describe his/her honored research. The Lecture was instituted in 1989 and is now an annual fall event at the University. It is held in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center and is followed by a reception in honor of the McCoy Award recipient. All past McCoy award winners receive a formal invitation to attend the distinguished lecture. Those who are able to be present receive special recognition by the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships prior to the start of the lecture.

Recognition Dinner

All past and present McCoy awardees are invited to the Excellence in Research Awards Dinner, November 9, 2015. The dinner program includes the presentation of the McCoy award to the current awardee(s) by the President of the University, and special recognition is given to past McCoy awardees in attendance at the dinner.