Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – Features
Congratulations to last year's UMAP Honorees!
View Honorees
Career Stage
Early Career
Middle Career
Award Type
Union Award
Of Note
Open to groups;
Peer OR self-nomination permitted
Established 1989

Recognizing Accessible Earth and Space Science Journalism

The Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism – Features is given annually to an individual journalist or a group of journalists in recognition of a feature story or series in any medium, except books, that makes information about the Earth and space sciences both accessible and interesting to non-scientists.

Walter Sullivan, the renowned science writer for The New York Times and namesake of this award, was the first honoree in 1989. In 2000, the award was redefined to honor science feature writing: work prepared with a deadline of more than one week.

Honor Benefits
Recipients receive the following:

  • A $5,000 prize
  • An engraved award
  • Recognition in Eos
  • Recognition at AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded
  • Travel expenses up to $1,000 to attend AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded
  • Two tickets per winner to the Honors Banquet at AGU's annual meeting the year the honor is awarded

Criteria for a Successful Nomination

Nominees are evaluated on the following:
The Sullivan Award recognizes excellence in writing and reporting a feature that:
  • brings timely information or concepts about AGU sciences to the public’s attention,
  • identifies and corrects misconceptions about AGU sciences, or
  • makes AGU sciences accessible and interesting to general audiences without sacrificing accuracy.
The selection committee also considers accuracy, initiative, originality, and clarity.
Eligible feature stories must be about one or more of the scientific disciplines represented by AGU.


If an individual has multiple works nominated for a single award, AGU staff will contact the nominee to ask which they'd prefer to advance for consideration. Individuals may only submit one work for consideration for an award.


The nominee must:
  • be a journalist(s) working in any medium, except books
  • be a sole author or team of up to four contributors; this may include contributors to audio visual components
  • be an author employed in one of the following arenas:
    • Print or electronic publication
    • Broadcast or cable station, or a broadcast network
    • Freelance journalist
  • AGU membership is not required
  • submit only one entry for the award in a given year
  • not have won the Sullivan award during the past two years
  • AGU membership is not required
  • Self nominations are permitted
All Parties
Must be in compliance with AGU's conflict of interest and professional conduct policies.
Read AGU's Ethics Policies