Skip to main content

The 2024 nomination process is now open.

The Edward H. Shortliffe Doctoral Dissertation Award offers high-value and prestigious recognition for the top doctoral dissertation each year that contributes to the science of informatics in any biomedical application domain or domains.


Nominations are generally made by either the student’s research mentor (typically the principal advisor) or department chair. Please note that no more than one dissertation may be nominated in the same year by a single department or academic unit. It is acceptable for the nominator to no longer to be at the same institution as the nominee (since research advisors may have moved or recent graduates may have taken positions elsewhere).

If the candidate’s department has several potentially deserving dissertations that otherwise meet the eligibility criteria, the department may wish to create an internal process for selecting the nominee for that year.

Both the nominator and nominee must be current AMIA members and in good standing.


Submit a nomination

Deadline: Feb. 14, 2024

Please be sure to prepare the required documents in advance of completing the nomination form. Nominations must be submitted online and will not be accepted through email.

Submission Process

All nominations must be submitted by February 14, 2024. During the rest of the year, nominators for the 2024 award can put together nomination materials for candidates.

Nominations must be submitted online by the nominator. It is not appropriate to assign this task to the nominee or an administrative assistant.

Required Forms

Please download and complete the following forms in advance of filling out the nomination form:

Additionally, please gather the following documents prior to completing the nomination:

  • A nominator's cover letter that also makes the case for the importance and quality of the candidate’s work and its adherence to the evaluation criteria
  • The candidate's Curriculum Vitae, including all publications
  • Supporting letters from no more than two individuals who are familiar with the student and his or her work; at least one of the supporting letters should ideally come from an individual who is not at the same institution as the nominated student
  • The candidate's complete dissertation in PDF format. Note that the maximum file size for uploading on the submission site is 10MB. If the dissertation is larger, please submit it in two sections. For example, you may wish to put any appendices, or large figures/images, in a second file. If the total size exceeds 20MB, please contact so that we can work out an alternate submission mechanism.

Candidate Eligibility

Candidates for the Doctoral Dissertation Award must be AMIA members or student members whose doctorate has been conferred by the university no more than 18 months prior to the date on which nominations are due. If formal conferral of the degree is pending at the time of the nomination, the dissertation must have been completed and deposited with the university.

Nominees must have completed, or be about to complete, a research PhD, DSc or equivalent degree in one of the following fields:

  • Biomedical informatics or equivalent (medical informatics, health informatics, nursing informatics, bioinformatics, etc.)
  • Computer science, information science, cognitive science or related discipline (but with an applied focus on biomedicine)

In keeping with AMIA’s focus on translational science and its Joint Summit meetings, a bioinformatics dissertation must deal with a translational bioinformatics topic (i.e., it must have explicit relevance to human health and/or disease). Dissertations dealing with general biology, animals, or agriculture, for example, will not be considered.

Health professional doctorates (MD, DMD, DNSc, etc.) do not confer eligibility unless one of the research doctorates noted above has also been completed in the time frame specified. Masters’ dissertations are not eligible, nor are dissertations nominated in the previous year’s competition.

International nominations are welcome, although candidate dissertations and nomination materials must be written in excellent English.


The primary consideration in assessing nominated dissertations is the quality, importance, and innovation reflected in its contribution to the methodological science (theory or techniques) of informatics. There are often specific biomedical or health applications that motivated the work, and these are of interest to the judging committee, especially if those applications demonstrate success or impact. However, the application itself will not be emphasized in assessing the importance of the dissertation.

The award is intended to encourage students to consider how they have innovated from an informatics perspective and how the methods they have developed generalize to other application domains. A discussion of the range of application of the methods is to be expected, and there will be particular strength in a dissertation if the methods that were motivated by one application domain were subsequently shown to be applicable in another biomedical or health domain as well.

A secondary consideration is the quality of the writing (clarity, organization, grammar, readability, and focus) and supporting testimonials regarding the quality of the individual’s oral presentations on the subject of his or her work (in anticipation of the awardee’s presentation at the AMIA Annual Symposium). The dissertation is expected to demonstrate a grasp of prior work and offer a clearly stated rationale for the new direction taken by the student investigator. There must also be evidence of independent work, both in the definition of the research focus and in a supportive but not overly directive role of mentors in supervising the graduate student’s work.

It is recognized that contributions to informatics science will also typically be a contribution to one of the field’s component disciplines. As a result, evidence of peer-reviewed publications, presentations, awards, or other recognition in the component discipline (e.g., computer science, decision science, cognitive science, social and behavioral science, organizational theory, management science, statistics, and the like) strengthens the case for a nominee’s work and broad contribution.


AMIA will publicize the individuals who receive the Dissertation Award and the Honorable Mention through suitable press releases and announcements on its web site. As in prior years, additional finalists may be identified as well.

Dissertation Award Selection Committee

The 2023 judging committee includes:

  • Chunhua Weng (Chair), PhD, FACMI, Columbia University
  • Riccardo Bellazzi, PhD, FACMI, University of Pavia, Italy
  • Gregory Cooper, MD, PhD, FACMI, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • John H. Holmes, PhD, FACMI, University of Pennsylvania
  • Lucila Ohno-Machado, MD, PhD, FACMI, University of California San Diego
  • David Page, PhD, FACMI, Duke University
  • Tanya Tolpegin, MBA (ex officio), AMIA CEO
  • Li Zhou, MD, PhD, FACMI, FAMIA, Brigham and Women's Hospital,  Harvard Medical School, Partners Healthcare System

Past Winners

View all past awardees of the AMIA Doctoral Dissertation Award