Three MIT professors this week were honored at the White House as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest award bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.
MIT’s three PECASE recipients this year are Markus J. Buehler, the Esther and Harold E Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Joel L. Dawson, the Mark Hyman, Jr. Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering; and Professor of Mathematics Scott R. Sheffield.
The White House says awardees are selected on the basis of two criteria: Pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service, as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Winners receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.
Nine federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers for PECASE — researchers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for strengthening America’s leadership in science and technology and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions. The awards are coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Buehler was nominated for the award by the Department of Defense, and Dawson and Sheffield were nominated by the National Science Foundation.
“These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama said at the ceremony on Wednesday. "With their talent, creativity, and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."