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​​​​​Nomination ​Process

The nomination process for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize will begin June 2, 2014, and close on Feb. 27, ​2015. The process to nominate someone is both short and simple, requiring a 500-word narrative about the individual along with up to four letters of support. Contact us for more information about the nomination process or read below.

The following information details the nomination criteria and process and the application is linked here:  (need a link to application here). If you ​have any questions about the application or criteria, please contact ​​.

​Nomination Criteria

The Indianapolis Prize is awarded to an individual who has accomplished a significant achievement or achievements in the conservation of an animal species or group of species, resulting in an advance in long-term sustainability.

This $250,000 prize and the accompanying Lilly Medal are given every other year by the Indianapolis Zoo at a ceremony in late September. The prize is given to an individual, and is unrestricted in any way. The Indianapolis Prize was awarded to George Archibald in 2006, George Schaller in 2008, Iain Douglas-Hamilton in 2010 and the fourth Indianapolis Prize was awarded to Steven Amstrup in 2012.

Any individual may nominate a candidate for the Indianapolis Prize; however, the Nominating Committee and Jury may consider the nominator in their evaluations.

Nominees to receive the Indianapolis Prize must have accomplished an individual achievement or series of achievements that have resulted in a demonstrable positive impact on an animal species or group of species that is likely to improve the likelihood of long-term sustainability.

It must be demonstrated that this improvement in long-term sustainability was the result of direct and specific actions of the nominee.

The impact of achievements under consideration must be clearly recognizable when evaluated by the Nominating Committee and Jury.

Consideration will be given to:

  • The challenges overcome by the nominee in the pursuit of his or her achievement

  • The significance of the achievement or achievements

  • The measurable outcomes resulting from the nominee's work

  • The quality of any science involved

  • The number of years the nominee has dedicated to the aspect of conservation work under evaluation

  • The unselfish dedication to conservation work that the nominee has demonstrated throughout his or her career

  • Any cooperation the nominee has demonstrated with zoological and other like-minded conservation organizations, particularly those for which the nominee does not work.

  • The stature of the nominator

  • At least two, but no more than four, confidential letters of support for the nomination, to be obtained by the nominator

Eligibility is restricted as follows:

  • The Indianapolis Prize is a program limited to individuals whose contributions to animal species conservation are substantial and noteworthy.

  • Nominees must be living persons, not organizations, who if selected as the recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, must agree to participate in activities as they may be scheduled in the United States at various times between September 26 and October 3, 2014 (transportation, lodging, and reasonable expenses will be paid by the Indianapolis Zoological Society).

  • Nominees must agree that, if selected as the recipient, they will reasonably assist in the obtaining of necessary permissions to use materials reflective of their work in an exhibit honoring that work at the Indianapolis Zoo, and will assist as necessary in the production of media and materials required to present a synopsis of their work at the Indianapolis Prize Gala.

  • Nominees may not be employees, Board Members, or volunteer staff of the Indianapolis Zoo. Immediate family members or significant others of the Nominating Committee, Jury, Indianapolis Zoo employees, Board Members, and volunteer staff are also ineligible. 

​​​Nomination & Selection Process

In order to be considered, nominations and all support letters must be received by the Selection Support Committee by February 27, 2015. Please send materials to If necessary, the application and support letters can be mailed to the following address:

Indianapolis Prize Selection Support Committee
1200 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222-0309

All nominations received by February 27, 2015 will be reviewed for appropriateness and completeness. We will then contact the nominee and request additional documentation including a CV and supporting materials demonstrating measurable outcomes and scientific value. The nominee will have until April 24, 2015 to supply those materials, and then qualifying nominations will be forwarded to the Nominating Committee. Consisting of six recognized scientific and conservation sector experts and three zoological and community representatives, the Nominating Committee will select six nominees for consideration by the Jury. The Jury, of similar composition to the Nominating Committee, but consisting of other individuals, will then select the recipient and a first alternate.

Questions may be emailed to

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