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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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SMG 3113.3





Transmittal Number 85-185 -- Date: 09/16/1985

[PDF Version]

 1. Purpose and Nature of Award
 2. Eligibility
 3. Criteria
 4. Preparation and Review of Nominations
 5. Due Date for Submission of Nominations
 6. Approval of Nominations and Presentation of Awards

Attachment A - Transmittal Memorandum for FDA Award of Merit
Attachment B - Format for FDA Award of Merit


This Guide contains Agency policy and procedure concerning recognition of employees for extraordinary public service in the Food and Drug Administration through the FDA Award of Merit, the Agency's highest award. The FDA Award of Merit is honorary in character and it consists of a pen set, a certificate signed by the Commissioner, and a silver emblem. Members of groups who receive the FDA Award of Merit will be given individual certificates signed by the Commissioner and, in most cases, one plaque for each group.


All individual civilian employees or groups of employees of the Food and Drug Administration, past or present, (except special government employees~ are eligible to be nominated for the FDA Award of Merit. In addition, staff of the Assistant General Counsel, Food and Drug Division, are eligible. There is no limit on the number of awards that may he granted in any one year. The FDA Award of Merit may be granted in addition to, or in lieu of, another award.


Following are the criteria and some examples of contributions which may qualify for the FDA Award of Merit. These examples are not all inclusive, and other significant achievements or accomplishments may also warrant consideration for this award:

1. Exceptional outstanding leadership that contributed to the successful accomplishment of FDA's mission or the redirection of FDA objectives, e.g,

a. Notable managerial competence, resourcefulness, and leadership in improving the managerial, regulatory, or scientific posture of the Food and Drug Administration.

b. Outstanding leadership in developing or implementing FDA regulations.

2. Exceptional performance which brought tribute to FDA, the Public Health Service, the Department, or the Federal Government, e.g.

a. Cooperation with other Federal, State, or local governments or nations.

b. Outstanding research efforts which have contributed to the achievement of the FDA mission.

c. Sustained outstanding performance of duties that sets a highly unusual record of achievement which brings special recognition to the Agency or which significantly aids the Agency in meeting its aims and goals.

3. Significant and exceptional performance of a single, one-time achievement or service benefiting the public or resulting in major advances in an FDA program, e.g.,

a. Outstanding performance demonstrated during a national emergency.

b. Dedication, initiative, and resourcefulness in developing a nationally-accepted method or practice.

c. Exceptional creativity and sound judgment in designing a new system which significantly improved the service of the Agency to consumers.

d. Distinguished performance, initiative, and resourcefulness in resolving a complex issue of major significance.


A. Who May Nominate. All FDA employees may nominate co-workers, subordinates, supervisors, or managers for the FDA Award of Merit. Staff of the Assistant General Counsel, Food and Drug Division, may also make nominations. Self nominations will not he accepted.

B. Routing of Nominations. Nominations are to he prepared in the format shown in Attachment B and transmitted by individual memorandum (Attachment A) to the FDA Awards Coordinator, Division of Human Resources Management, HFA-43D.

1. Performance Appraisal. A copy of the summary rating sheet of the nominee's current performance rating must be attached with the nomination. For nominations of groups a copy of each group member's current performance appraisal summary rating sheet must be included.

2. Nominations of Headquarters and Headquarters Field Employees. Nominations are to go through the nominee's supervisory channels up to and including, as appropriate, the respective Associate Commissioner: OC Office Director: Center Director: or Director, National Center for Toxicological Research, for signature on the transmittal memorandum acknowledging the nomination and indicating endorsement, nonendorsement, and/or comment, if appropriate.

3. Nominations of Field Employees. Nominations for Field employees must go through the Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs as well as the Director, Office of Regional Operations, and the appropriate Regional Food and Drug Director.

4. All Nominations. 411 nominations, whether endorsed or non-endorsed, are to be forwarded to the FDA Awards Coordinator. In addition, nominations should be routed through the nominee's local incentive awards officer for review to insure consistency with the prescribed guidelines and to assure proper and adequate format and content.

C. Who Reviews Nominations. The FDA Awards Subcommittee reviews nominations for the FDA Award of Merit and presents recommendations to the FDA Policy Board. The Policy Board reviews the Subcommittee's recommendations and makes recommendations to the Commissioner. When a Policy Board member is nominated for the FDA Award of Merit, the selection will be made by the Commissioner with the advice and consent of those the Commissioner may consider appropriate.


Properly prepared and routed nominations for the FDA Award of Merit are due to the FDA Awards Coordinator. Division of Human Resources Management, HFA-430, no later than January 1 of each year for presentation at the Annual FDA Honor Awards Ceremony. However, nominations will be accepted throughout the year.


The Associate Commissioner for Management and Operations will notify Center/Office heads of the approval or disapproval of award nominations. Those awards which are approved will normally he presented by the Commissioner at the Agency's Annual Honor Awards Ceremony which will usually be held in the spring in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.