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We're currently putting out a Call for Nominations for graduate research and historically we've received very few nominations. What are some good strategies to get more nominations. Should we be more specific or broaden the qualification.

The award is from a minority organization for "doctoral candidates who have demonstrated excellence in research or in teaching".

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Do I understand correctly that you're having trouble giving money away? – EnergyNumbers Feb 5 '13 at 7:18
OK, I know my comment sounds flippant, but I am asking for clarification: is it that you are seeking to award funding on behalf of the minority organization? And I don't know what "minority organization" means. Does it mean that the awards can only go to certain groups, selected on the basis of say demographics, religion, sexuality, physical ability, etc? Is it that you are having trouble reaching doctoral candidates from some particular minority? – EnergyNumbers Feb 5 '13 at 10:25
Find a conferences that are attended by potential candidates and nominators and sponsor something (e.g., cocktail hour or keynote address). – StrongBad Feb 5 '13 at 16:55
@EnergyNumbers, not money but a bright shiny plaque! Technically speaking, the award is open to everyone but it is offered by a community organization for a specific demographic (Asian American, you would think that there are a lot of us in academia). – bobthejoe Feb 5 '13 at 23:47

Improve the reward. If you're not currently offering money, consider doing it. Other forms of reward I can think of can be:

  • the opportunity to give a talk at a prestigious venue, to a nice audience
  • the opportunity to give a talk alongside a famous speaker (say, allowing the awardee to give a 15' talk just before a 1 hour talk by some famous person)
  • an introduction to some influent people, possibly looking to hire researchers
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