University of Vermont

Bongard to Receive Presidential Early Career Award

Josh BongardJoshua Bongard, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science within the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, is one of 94 researchers who will receive a 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama.  This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. These awards are designed to advance the Nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy.  

“This prestigious award reflects the high quality of innovative research being accomplished within our College,” says Bernard “Chip” Cole, Interim Dean of the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.

“I am truly honored to be one of the recipients of this prestigious Presidential award,” said Bongard, “and look forward to meeting President Obama and other researchers being recognized.” 

This Presidential award is in recognition of Bongard’s National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, awarded to him by the NSF’s Division of Information & Intelligent Systems. The award will aid Bongard to further his early career-development activities and to integrate research and education within the context of the mission of UVM.  Bongard will travel to Washington, DC to receive the award on October 14, 2011 and will attend three individual ceremonies culminating with a Recognition Ceremony at the White House with President Obama.

Awards History

The awards were established by President Clinton in 1996 and are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Sixteen Federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.

Bongard’s History

Dr. Bongard’s research has received national and international attention, and has been featured in Science 360, the Boston Globe, The Voice of America’s “Our World” Science Program, Wired Magazine’s Gadget Lab, Popular Science, and most recently, in January 2011, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Dr. Bongard’s research features robots that evolve more complex body plans and neural networks: these evolutionary innovations allow them to perform more cognitive tasks than their simpler forebears.

Dr. Bongard also received the prestigious and highly competitive New Faculty Fellowship from Microsoft Research in 2007 for research related to self-healing robots – one of only five given nationwide.  He was named by MIT as one of the world’s top innovators under 35 and has participated in a National Academy of Engineering symposium to discuss 21st century frontiers in research.

To view the White House press release visit:

See the WCAX news coverage (9Mb MP4 format).

Contact information:
Dr. Josh Bongard Office:
329 Votey
Tel: (802) 656-4665