The Boulding Award

The Boulding Award honors Kenneth E. Boulding, an economist who rose to the top of his discipline while carrying out pioneering interdisciplinary research. A nominee for the Nobel Prize in both peace and economics, Boulding received the John Bates Clark Medal, awarded to the American economist under forty who made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. He later served as president of the American Economics Association. Boulding’s seminal interdisciplinary research helped establish the fields of integrated social science, peace studies, conflict resolution, general systems, future studies, philanthropy studies, and evolutionary social science. Appropriately, then, in 1979 he gave the keynote address at a national conference on the teaching of interdisciplinary social science where a new professional association, the Association for Integrative Studies (AIS), was founded. His inspiration continues to shape the mission of AIS, and in 1990 the AIS Board of Directors established the Boulding Award in his honor, naming Boulding himself the first recipient.

Recipients of the award are distinguished by their major long-term contributions to interdisciplinary studies, whether by clarifying and deepening the conception of interdisciplinary or by promoting scholarly or public understanding. Because the Boulding Award celebrates outstanding records of accomplishments, it is conferred only occasionally.

Award Criteria

Criteria for this award are shaped by Boulding’s own dedication to interdisciplinary across education, research, and community work.

The award is conferred upon an individual whose writings or other professional achievements have made major, long-term contributions to the conception or implementation of interdisciplinary. Membership in AIS is not a prerequisite for receiving the Boulding Award. Excellence is demonstrated by qualities such as the following:

  • creation of important, unexpected, or new connections among disciplines, interdisciplinary fields, and professions; 
  • generation of new understandings or redefinitions of interdisciplinary; 
  • design and facilitation of major institutional or societal change or awareness based on conscious promotion and deep understanding of interdisciplinary;
  • production of influential scholarship on interdisciplinary at large or in specific fields; or
  • widespread diffusion of interdisciplinary work that has scientific or social merits.

Boulding Committee Membership and Nomination Procedures

(1) The Boulding Committee consists of three members of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies appointed by the AIS President to three-year, staggered terms. Thus, each year one member rotates off and a new member is appointed. When feasible, past AIS presidents and past Boulding Award recipients will have priority to serve. The member of the Committee in the last year of her/his multi-year appointment shall serve as chair.

(2) Each year AIS members may recommend potential nominees to the Committee. The Board of Directors and the Committee will invite nominees each year in the December newsletter.  Nominations received by March 15 will be considered for an award presented at that year’s conference.

(3) Committee members must refrain from recommending candidates for this award until their 3-year term on the Committee is completed. They are also ineligible for the award while serving on the Committee.

(4) The Committee will review any recommendations and:

  • nominate up to three candidates to the AIS Board of Directors along with justification, in either ranked or unranked order at its discretion, with the possibility of no nomination if warranted; and
  • submit to the AIS Board of Directors an annual report on its deliberations and decisions.

(5) The AIS Board of Directors will make the final decision whether to confer the Boulding Award on any candidate nominated by the Committee.

Instructions for Recommending a Candidate to the Boulding Committee

A formal recommendation packet should include a letter of recommendation that makes the case for a candidate based on designated criteria along with supporting material, including an updated curriculum vitae of the candidate and pertinent evidence.

Claims of “excellent,” “outstanding,” major,” “groundbreaking,” etc. must be substantiated. Informal testimonies on publisher websites and sellers such as may be included but do not constitute valid peer review.

Claims of “impact” and “influence” must be supported by documentation such as sales figures, course adoptions, and scholarly citations.

Work based on research collaboration or team curriculum design and teaching  should include a description of the candidate’s contributions and their relative importance.

Recommenders may expand traditional proxy criteria (e.g., number of publications or patents) as warranted, such as guidelines for the scholarship of integration, criteria of excellence in specific interdisciplinary fields, and expanded indicators in the literature on interdisciplinary research and education.

Submit the complete recommendation packet, preferably in a single PDF file via email with “Boulding Recommendation of [individual]” in the subject heading, to [email protected].

Supporting letters of recommendation for a candidate from up to two other AIS members are encouraged but not required. They should conform to the above criteria for claims and proxy criteria, and may be submitted separately to [email protected].