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​Steven C. Nelson Early Career Development Awards


Steven C. Nelson was the Executive Vice President of APS from 1991 to 2013. During that time, he tirelessly advocated for opportunities that enhanced professional experiences as early as possible in the development of careers in Plant Pathology. In 2009, APS Council and APS Foundation created the Steven Nelson Early Career Development Award, and began matching donations to an endowment. Through the extraordinary generosity of generations of donors, this fund now supports this award.

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  • Awards support short-term visits and work at host institutions, industries or agencies by individuals, or small groups to both enhance experiential learning of the recipient(s), and to provide opportunities to build effective professional networks outside of their home departments. 
  • These awards do not support attendance at meetings or conferences. 
  • Ideal proposals outline activities that benefit both the recipient of the award and the hosting institution, industry, or agency.​
  • Awards are for a maximum of $2,000.


  • Applicants must be current APS members engaged in graduate study or post doctoral research in plant pathology at the time of application, and during the time of the proposed activity.

  • ​Funds must be used within 12 months of the award.

  • Awards are made directly to the recipient’s home department for the sole purpose of paying expenses for the activity outlined in the application. Any unused funds must be returned to APS Foundation at the end of the above 12-month period.

  • Preference will be given to applications wherein the host letter describes support or in-kind services that are at least equal to the amount of the award.

  • Awardees are expected to submit a brief (250 word) article to Phytopathology News​ sharing their experiences with this award.

  • This award may only be received once.​

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Applications are accepted year round, for activities to take place within 12 months of each application date. ​

The following required materials must be included in one PDF docum​ent and submitted thro​ugh the online Award Application Form on or before the submission deadline. 

​Letters of recommendation/support​ are to submitted separately by the letter writer using the Letter of Recommendation Form​.

  • ​​A letter of support from the host defining their role in th​e activity and a description of co-funding or in-kind support or services.​ 
  • A letter from the graduate or postgraduate supervisor in support of the proposed activity, or in the case of a group activity a letter of support from the applicants department chair. 
  • Current CV of applicant(s)
  • A proposal of no more than 800 words describing and justifying the proposed activity, wit​h part​icular attention to how the proposal addresses the priorities of this RFA: (i) Describe the activity, and whether this is an individual or group activity, (ii) Describe how the activity enhances the short and longer-term career benefits of the applicant(s) through skill acquisition, experiential learning, and development of an effective professional network, (iii) Describe the benefits to the hosting institution, company, or agency.
  • A brief budget for the proposed activity outlining major expenses.