Inaugural Cyber Policy Awards

April 24, 2024 in Washington, DC

The Institute for Security and Technology (IST), in partnership with the Center for Cybersecurity Policy and Law, is pleased to announce the inaugural edition of The Cyber Policy Awards—an annual gathering of the U.S. cyber policy community to honor and celebrate those who drove significant progress in the preceding year, and to make resolutions for the new year.

Event concept

In this inaugural year, the event will take the form of a reception with presentations of the four core awards. Borrowing from popular U.S. entertainment industry awards, esteemed members of the cyber policy community will introduce the nominees and present awards. In future editions, the awards gala will include a banquet reception with live entertainment.

Core award categories

README: Award Definitions & Criteria

1. Definition. The term “cyber policy” shall be broadly defined as: “Governance efforts to advance for the common good any aspect of the global digital ecosystem, including but not limited to interoperability, access, trust, privacy, safety, security, stability, human rights, workforce, and the rule of law.” This may include thought leadership and action from individuals, academia, non-governmental organizations, technical standards bodies, industry specific fora, state or national governments, and formal or ad hoc international bodies.

2. Time period. Except as otherwise set forth in the special criteria of a particular award category, the contributions and accomplishments specified in a nomination must have taken place, or have come to fruition, during the calendar year (CY) in question. For the inaugural event, the performance period is CY 2023.

3. Eligible recipients. The description and criteria for each award category may specify an award as being intended for an individual recipient, a small group (defined herein as consisting of five or fewer named individuals), or an organization (which may involve a named subdivision of an organization). Where no such criterion is specified, nominations may involve any of the three recipient types. In all cases, submitters are encouraged to narrow a nomination to the key person, or people, who championed the celebrated achievement; judges may consider tailored nominations as particularly compelling.

4. Repeat nominations. Except as otherwise set forth in the special criteria of a particular award category, each nomination may be made only once, and not re-submitted in a subsequent year.

5. Exclusions. Nominations involving persons or activities regulated under the United States Code that seek to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying), including equivalent state statutes and regulations, shall not be considered.

U.S. Domestic Policy Impact Award

This award recognizes an individual, small group, or organization whose efforts have had significant impact on the U.S. domestic policy landscape, such as by materially influencing the community’s thinking and trajectory, overcoming a longstanding and intractable obstacle, or galvanizing broad stakeholder support to take some action.

International Policy Impact Award

This award recognizes an individual, small group, or organization whose efforts have had significant impact on the international policy landscape, such as a shift in international narratives, viewpoints, or prioritization; the emergence of international consensus or an agreement; or resulting in collective action when previously unlikely.

Ecosystem Champion Award

This award recognizes an individual, small group, or organization whose efforts have led to broad structural and long-lasting positive impact on the cyber ecosystem. Such efforts often lack headline-grabbing appeal or a profit model, and typically require the proponent’s long-term commitment and tenacity to see to completion. This category might also be described as the “unsung hero” award.

Cyber Philanthropy/ist of the Year

This award recognizes an individual philanthropist or philanthropic organization for their outstanding contribution to national or international cyber policy by enabling the work of academic institutions, think tanks, or other civil society organizations through both thought leadership and financial support. Nominations should articulate the catalyzing issue or purpose, the funder’s level of engagement and commitment over time, and the resulting outcomes.

Note: For 2025, Lifetime Achievement, and perhaps other award categories, will be added.

Nominations

Nominations will open soon! Please subscribe to receive updates on the nomination process.

As stated in the above award definitions and criteria, the contributions and accomplishments specified in a nomination must have taken place, or have come to fruition, during the calendar year in question. For the inaugural event, the performance period is calendar year 2023. Anyone may submit an award nomination; however, a proposed recipient may not self-nominate.

Judging panel and selection process

A group of esteemed individuals from across the cyber policy community will be empaneled as judges to review, rank, and select the finalist nominees and winner in each category. To ensure transparency and inspire confidence in the process, judges will soon be publicly named.

Nominees selected by the judges as finalists (no more than four per award category) will be announced publicly in advance of the event, which is itself a high honor. The winner will be unveiled during the event.

Award trophy

Recipients will receive the Cyber Policy Award of Merit, which features “The Atlas” statuette representing the ultimate symbol of strength and endurance. The Ancient Greek Titan Atlas bears the cosmos and turns the sky on his shoulders for eternity. Atlas’ burden represents the skill, strength, and commitment required to positively influence domestic and international cyber policy.