The U.S. C3E Awards recognize mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy.

C3E Ambassadors select the winners and these remarkable Awardees are recognized for their work at the C3E Symposium each year. Personal narratives and advice from C3E Award winners are featured in the U.S. C3E 5th Anniversary Book.


Award Eligibility

What is the deadline for award nomination submissions?

Nomination submissions for the 2018 U.S. C3E Awards are now closed. Winners will be announced at the December 2018 Symposium. Please check back in early December to learn about this year’s awardees. 

Who may submit nominations?

Nominations may be submitted by employers, universities, professional societies, membership organizations, associations, community groups, individuals, or other sponsors. Nominators should know the accomplishments and capabilities of nominees firsthand.  Self-nomination is not allowed. Nominators of the award winners are invited to the annual C3E Symposium.

What are the criteria for nominees?

Nominees should have a record of significant accomplishment, leadership qualities and other relevant attributes, mentorship of women and girls, and be in good standing in their field, with colleagues, and in their community. In addition, nominees will:

  • Be mid-career and have outstanding professional experience.
  • Use their talents to advance clean energy sources, technologies, practices, and policies, such as via efforts to increase renewable sources of energy or reduce energy use, energy-related environmental impacts, or energy system costs.
  • Have made a compelling impact in their fields—working within a company, team, university, government agency, non-government organization, professional community, or as an individual.
  • Have accomplishments sufficient to merit national recognition.
  • Be emerging leaders with a demonstrated, strong commitment to advancing clean energy in their areas of work/expertise/experience.
  • Be inclusive leaders who have helped to mentor women and develop future leaders in their professions, avocations, or communities.
  • Have a minimum of five years of professional experience in clean energy.
  • Be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

NoteS on nominee criteria:

  • Federal, state, and local government employees and national lab contractors are eligible. This includes employees and contractors of the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Laboratories.
  • Women with executive-level experience in clean energy can be considered for inclusion on a future C3E Ambassadors candidates list. Please send contact information for potential ambassadors to If it is not clear whether someone is mid-career or executive level, please submit an award nomination and we will make the determination.

What information does a nominator need to submit?

Nominators will need to obtain the following information from a nominee:

  • Contact information for the nominee.
  • Contact information for 2 references (in addition to you) who can verify the information provided and have agreed to be contacted, if needed.
  • Years of experience working in clean energy.

To submit a nomination, nominators will also need to:

  • Certify that the nominee has agreed to be nominated and can be contacted.
  • Certify that the nominee is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Certify that they know the nominee’s accomplishments and capabilities firsthand.
  • Select one of eight award categories. See category list below.
  • Describe why you believe the nominee is mid-career. Describe how winning this award would help the nominee in her career. Mid-career is defined as past entry level and having expertise and experience with significant opportunities to grow before the end of her career. Preference for this award will be given to candidates whose career could benefit from receiving this award. The C3E Awards are intended to contribute to advancing the careers of awardees into more senior leadership and executive-level positions. Describe the nominee’s accomplishments (300 words or less), leadership qualities (300 words or less), and provide additional background information (300 words or less). Tailor the nomination to the category selected and answer the questions in the nomination guidance template.

What information will a nominee need to submit?

After a nomination is submitted, nominees will be emailed and asked to submit the following no later than one week after the close of nominations:

  • 200 words (or less) describing how the $8,000 gift might be used to advance women in clean energy. For example, a nominee may invest in her own work (if applicable), support a nonprofit focused on gender and/or energy issues, contribute ideas for building the C3E network, or start something new. Nominees will be asked to indicate if there is a chance the funds cannot be accepted; for instance, due to company policy.
  • A current one-page resume (including years for education and employment) in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format. Longer submissions will not be accepted.
  • A list of colleges and degrees (if applicable), as well as the city and state where nominee currently works.

Award Categories

The U.S. C3E Awards for outstanding leadership and extraordinary achievement are given in the eight categories described below. The Awards are intended to spotlight mid-career women who have professional experience working in clean energy. Please read the descriptions of all the categories and select the one that best describes the nominee’s work area. The nomination should be tailored to the category selected.

  • Advocacy: This award recognizes clean energy advocates working as individuals, through nongovernmental organizations, or clean tech incubators who have driven greater uptake of clean energy policies and technologies in society. (Political advocacy groups excluded.)
  • Business: This award recognizes leaders within private entities of any size, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. Strong candidates will have accelerated or expanded the adoption of clean energy within their own business footprints or portfolios.
  • Education: This award recognizes teachers/instructors (including those who teach STEM subjects) or women from education-focused organizations who have helped to increase clean energy literacy. This includes focuses on educating at the K‐12, technical or vocational school, undergraduate, or graduate levels.
  • Entrepreneurship: This award recognizes entrepreneurs who have developed and demonstrated innovative clean energy technologies, business models that have the potential to drive market transformation toward clean energy, or entrepreneurs who have started clean energy incubators.
  • Government: This award recognizes local, state, or federal government employees (e.g., civil servants, regulators, or elected officials) who have advanced policies, regulations, or incentives to support the development, deployment, and diffusion of clean energy.
  • International: This award recognizes those who have worked to develop and deploy clean energy products and services in emerging economies toward the Sustainable Energy for All goals of increasing access, promoting efficiency, and expanding clean energy around the world.
  • Law & Finance: This category recognizes lawyers, finance professionals, or academics at professional schools who have enabled or advanced the development and deployment of innovative clean energy financing solutions or enabling regulatory structures.
  • Research: This award recognizes scientists and researchers working at universities, national labs, or in industry who:
    • are developing advanced innovative clean energy technologies with the potential for demonstrable and scalable impact; and/or
    • are analyzing how technologies, economics, public policy and human decision making interact to affect the adoption of clean energy systems.