Research Committees

The Robert Merton Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Sociology of Science and Technology

Established in 2016. Last edition: 2018.


In honour and memory of Robert Merton, the founder and first president of the Research Committee on Sociology of Science and Technology, the Committee has established The Robert Merton Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Sociology of Science and Technology. The award is intended to recognize and showcase the outstanding, long-term achievement of an individual scholar to the field rather than the excellence of an individual book or single idea.


The award will be granted every four years to a living scholar who is internationally recognized for significant contributions to the sociology of science and technology that have been made over a period of at least two decades.

Currently serving members of the RC23 Board or the Award Committee are not eligible to receive the award.


The award is non-remunerated and consists of an honorary citation and lifetime membership in RC23. The award will be announced at the World Congress of Sociology and the recipient will be asked to deliver a presentation in an RC23 sponsored event at the World Congress. RC23 will report the recipient's name to the ISA Executive Committee and announce it in the RC23 newsletter.

RC23 is not be responsible for the travel and accommodation costs of the award recipient.


Nominations can be made by any member of ISA and/or of RC23 (excluding members of the Award Committee) and must be supported by at least two other members of RC23 and/or ISA. Nominations must include the name of the nominee, a CV, the list of publications on which the nomination is based, and a cover letter that provides a rationale for the nomination.

The Award Committee will actively solicit nominations and will encourage RC23 members and other ISA members to nominate scholars. Award Committee members may not nominate, support, or solicit specific candidates.

Selection process

An Award Committee will be responsible for the selection of the award recipient. Every four years, at the Business Meeting held at the World Congress of Sociology, the newly elected Board of RC23 will establish an Award Committee. The Award Committee will consist of three recognized scholars nominated by the RC23 Board, preferably representing different regions of the world. The Chairperson of the Award Committee must be a member of the Board of RC23.

Nominations will be sought and accepted until the Business Meeting at the interim meeting of RC23, at least two years prior to the World Congress of Sociology. All nominations will be reviewed by the Award Committee, which will inform the RC23 Board of its decision in a report sent at least 8 months before the World Congress of Sociology. The selection process will be completed in time for the winner to undertake early registration for the World Congress.

The Board of RC23 must approve the winner of the Award, but will consider only the adequacy of the procedures and their conformity with ISA and RC23 policies. A summary of the Award Committee report will be available on the RC23 website and published in its newsletter.