Impact of Winning an Academic Award: A Study of Early Career Academics

IEEE Computer Society Team
Published 03/07/2023
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The importance of winning an academic awardWhen people think of scientific academic awards, they think of the Nobel Prize, the Turing award, or another well-known accolade. The average Nobel Prize winner is 54.9 years old, and the average Turing award winner is 57.25 years old. These awards are given after a lifetime of achievement and contribution, so it makes sense the recipients are in the later, if not final, stages of their careers. However, what about academics receiving major accolades in their 30s? While academic awards are always a significant turning point in an academic’s career, early academic awards on a smaller scale are just as impactful.

Millions of people are pursuing academics as their full-time career, dedicating their time to research, scientific discovery, and breakthroughs in their field. These careers span from the early 20s to the late 70s, following people through their most creative and ambitious years as well as their later scholarly life. During the early career stages, many academics sit on similar playing fields, looking for the one breakthrough or achievement that would set them apart from their peers.



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Early Career Awards as a Distinction Method

Early scientific awards are often a tool that creates this distinction; there are thousands of different awards specifically geared toward early academics, like the Excellence in Scalable Computing, an honor for individuals who’ve made an influential and long-lasting contribution to scalable computing, or the TCI Rising Star Award for technical contributions to the internet research community. With these early-career awards come funding grants and other types of distinctions that allow these academics to pull even further ahead of the pack.

However, what happens once the dust settles and the shiny award goes on a desk? Does an academic’s career trajectory truly look vastly different from a similar, award-less peer? Do their scientific and knowledge outputs drastically increase?

In “The Significance and Impact of Winning an Academic Award: A Study of Early Career Academics,” researchers dove into the less-developed world of early career awards. With a novel metric, the Award Change Factor (ACF), they looked at the changes in career status and behavior after an academic award. Their analysis studied the academic output from paper-based indicators like author productivity and fund information, which gave a signal about the award recipients’ influence and prestige. They also analyzed citation-based indicators like the number of citations, H-index, and journal impact. All of these metrics pointed to the level of adoption and importance of the research, as it was referenced by other scholars many times.

Download “The Significance and Impact of Winning an Academic Award: A Study of Early Career”

Download “The Significance and Impact of Winning an Academic Award: A Study of Early Career” for an in-depth look at the short and long-term implications of early career awards. With surprising results, the researchers unveiled the true impact of winning an award in comparison to being highly favored for a future award. As scholars look to differentiate and stand out in their careers, early distinctions can come with positive side effects for years to come.

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