Public Service Award

The FASEB Board established the Public Service Award, to be given periodically, in order to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of biomedical or biological research through their work in government, public affairs, the media, the law, the arts, or related fields.

Examples of Actions Which May Merit Awards

  • Major initiatives or actions by the Federal Administration which would advance the cause of biomedical/biological research
  • Especially significant congressional leadership in the field
  • Especially timely and significant actions by federal officials to bring federal research efforts to bear on acute or emergency problems of disease
  • Especially penetrating lay articles, essays or reports which explain or illuminate biomedical/biological research or aspects of research
  • Major new articles which reveal significant problems or developments in the biomedical/biological research field
  • Actions in the field of law which make a major contribution to biomedical or biological research
  • Actions of public-spirited citizens whose special efforts and/or unusual financial contributions advance the cause of biomedical/biological research
  • Artistic achievement which heightens public understanding of a medical research issue


Photo of Francis Collins courtesy of the National Institutes of Health     

FASEB presents its 2017 Public Service Award to Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., for his outstanding accomplishments in the communication of science. His ability to convey the excitement, achievements, and promise of biomedical research to the general public has benefited the scientific community.

“Francis Collins is a model of scientific citizenship. His passion for public education has been an inspiration, and his leadership has motivated thousands of scientists to join him in public outreach. His tireless efforts have earned him our admiration and gratitude,” said Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., FASEB President.

Going beyond his responsibilities as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins’ public outreach brought biomedical research into America’s living rooms on the Colbert Report, The Charlie Rose Show, CNN, CNBC, National Public Radio, and countless other programs. He speaks extensively with the news media and has published numerous articles in magazines and newspapers across the country, informing millions about the extraordinary advances in biomedical research and the critical role that NIH plays in this enterprise. By highlighting new discoveries in biology and medicine in his Director’s Blog, he brought the hope and promise of biomedical research online to global audiences. He also brought science to the masses through social media, including chatting with Astronaut Kate Rubins on the International Space Station, hosting a Reddit Ask Me Anything and conversing directly with thousands of his Twitter followers.

“Whether on camera, in print, online, or in song, Francis has the remarkable ability to explain complex scientific concepts to general audiences.  These extraordinary efforts to underscore the importance of research, combined with his compassion for those in need of new medical interventions, have earned the respect and trust of Americans from all segments of society,” Freeze said.

The FASEB Public Service Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the cause of biological and medical research through their work in government, public affairs, journalism, science policy, or related fields.  Previous recipients include NIH Director Dr. James A. Shannon; former Deputy Directors Drs. Ruth L. Kirschstein and Raynard S. Kington; Senators Roy Blunt, Arlen Specter, and Tom Harkin; and Representatives Tom Cole, John Porter, David Obey, and Michael Castle.

Past Recipients

  • 2016 - Tom Cole, U. S. Representative, and Roy Blunt, U.S. Senator, Chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Related Agencies
  • 2012 - Frank M. Cushing (Posthumously), former Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee
  • 2010 - Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D. Deputy Director, NIH
  • 2009 - Congressman David Obey, former Chairman of the Appropriations Committee
  • 2006 - Michael Castle, U.S. Representative
  • 2005 - Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Dianne Feinstein, U. S. Senator
  • 2000 - Connie Mack, U.S. Senator
  • 1999 - Arlen Specter, U.S. Senator and Tom Harkin, U. S. Senator
  • 1997 - Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Former U.S. Senator and Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Representative
  • 1996 - Mark Hatfield, U.S. Senator and John Porter, U.S. Representative
  • 1994 - Dr. Howard Schachman, University of California Berkeley Biochemist and Spokesman for Bench Scientists
  • 1993 - Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, Deputy Director of NIH
  • 1992 - Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, Speaker of the House and Silvio Conte, U.S. Representative (posthumous)
  • 1991 - Katie McCabe, Author
  • 1990 - Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, ADAMHA Director and Dr. C. Everett Koop, U.S. Surgeon General
  • 1989 - Dr. James Wyngaarden, NIH Director
  • 1988 - Dr. Lewis Thomas, Physician and Writer and Dr. James A. Shannon, NIH Director
  • 1987 - Ann Landers, Columnist and Mary Lasker, Philanthropist
  • 1986 - Lowell P. Weicker, U.S. Senator and William Natcher, U.S. Representative