a man with a long beard wearing glasses with a hand on his face

Jonathan B. Postel Service Award

The Internet is a resource that enriches people’s lives. Jonathan Postel embodied this spirit, working selflessly to make the Internet a place of possibility and opportunity.

The Jonathan B. Postel Service Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has made outstanding and sustained contributions in service to the Internet community. The award is named after Dr. Jonathan B. Postel to recognize and commemorate the extraordinary stewardship he exercised throughout a 30-year career in networking.

The chosen candidate will be presented with a US$20,000 honorarium and the signature crystal engraved globe at a virtual global conference with Internet technical leaders later this year.

Eligibility and Requirements

The award is focused on sustained and substantial technical contributions, service to the community, and leadership. Concerning leadership, the Postel Award Nomination Committee emphasizes candidates who have supported and enabled others in their work.

The nominator must include specific acts, works, contributions, and other criteria that exemplify how the nominee has been in service of the Internet and its communities, along with two references to support the nomination.

Note that self-nominations will not be accepted. Nominations involving people currently serving as Internet Society or Internet Society Foundation trustees, officers, consultants, or staff members will also not be considered.

Selection Criteria

Technical Contributions

  • The nominee has developed new technologies that have extended the Internet’s functionality or scope. Contributions may include the development of new protocols, devices, techniques, technical processes, or tools that lead to the growth, usefulness, or strength of the Internet.
  • The nominee has substantially contributed to strengthening, growing, and protecting the Internet. The impact of their work has made the Internet more available and accessible in their region or beyond.


The candidate has brought a community together, formed a group, or motivated an existing organization to:

  1. Contribute innovations and advance the Internet.
  2. Grow and strengthen the Internet.

Service to the Community

  • The nominee has volunteered their time to educate others about the Internet.
  • They have enabled others to contribute to the development of the Internet.
  • They have selflessly devoted their time to the evolution and adoption of the Internet.


13 May 2024

Nominations open.

12 July 2024, 23:59 UTC

The nomination period closes.

22 July–9 August 2024

Nomination Committee members assess nominations and draw up a list of final candidates.

12–23 August 2024

Award committee members select the 2024 awardee from shortlisted candidates through a majority vote.

27 August 2024

Virtual announcement of the awardee

2–8 November 2024

Award ceremony/reception during the week of IETF 121.

a man with a beard and glasses pointing to a board

About Jon Postel

Jonathan Bruce Postel was born on 6 August 1943. When he died – tragically young at 55 – his mourners launched a squadron of paper planes soaring in honor of the man they saw as a technical genius; a man who quietly did what was necessary to ensure the Internet’s advancement for good. He was not so well known by the general public, yet in his appearance – bushy grey beard, long hair, and sandals – he was the most recognizable archetype of an Internet pioneer. Beyond appearances though, his vision, determination, and efforts were crucial in creating and shaping the Internet we now all use.

He served as the editor of the RFC series of notes from its inception in 1969 until 1998. He also served as the ARPANET “numbers Czar” and Internet Assigned Numbers Authority over the same period. He was a founding member of the Internet Architecture (nee Activities) Board and the first individual member of the Internet Society, where he also served as a Trustee. He was recognized posthumously as the first recipient of the Postel Service Award in 1999 in a presentation by Internet Society trustee Vint Cerf at the INET’99 event.

More about Jon Postel:

Past Award Recipients

George Sadowsky head shot

2022: George Sadowsky
Longtime Internet champion Dr. George Sadowsky led the Internet Society Developing Countries Workshops in the 1990s, and helped enable the extension of the Internet to almost all developing countries.

Onno Purbo smiling

2020: Onno W. Purbo
Known as “Indonesia’s Internet Liberator,” Onno Purbo is a prolific and well-published Internet advocate who has played a key role in democratizing Internet access, making it more affordable especially in Indonesia’s rural areas.

Alain Aina headshot

2019: Alain Aina
Alain Aina has been a key player in the Internet in Africa. While he has had support from organizations and others, his leadership in building technical communities has helped countless people to spread the Internet across Africa and the world.

Steve Huter smiling

2018: Steven G. Huter
For decades Steve Huter has worked with people around the world to strengthen the infrastructure, partnerships, and expertise upon which the Internet has been developed in more than 120 countries, particularly in support of research and education.

Kimberly C. Claffy headshot

2017: Kimberly C. Claffy
Dr. Claffy is a pioneer in the field of measuring and understanding the Internet, not only through her research contributions, but her commitment to establishing and operating infrastructure to support large-scale data collection, curation, and sharing with the scientific research community.

There were no award recipients in 2021 and 2023.

The Nomination Committee is open to all past Postel Awardees. In addition to examining and evaluating nominations, they are responsible for selecting the best candidate/s to receive the award and take part in discussions about its general governance.