Milestone Guidelines and How to Propose a Milestone

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The IEEE Milestones program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE. The designated fields (per IEEE Bylaw I-104.11 ) are: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. It is a program of the IEEE History Committee, administered through the IEEE History Center. IEEE Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, seminal papers and patents. Milestones honor the achievement, rather than a place or a person. Milestones are proposed by any IEEE member, and are sponsored by any one or more IEEE Organizational Unit(s) (OU) such as IEEE section(s), society(ies), chapter(s) or student branch(es). To be proposed as an IEEE Milestone, an achievement must be at least 25 years old, have benefited humanity, and must have had at least regional importance. Regional importance is defined as an area of more than 500 square kilometers. The achievement must not be the subject of current litigation. There is no maximum or minimum number of achievements which may be proposed or dedicated as milestones in any calendar year. There is no maximum or minimum number of achievements which may be proposed or dedicated as milestones by any organizational unit or units. There is no maximum or minimum number of achievements which may be proposed or dedicated as milestones within any geographical or technical area.

The official IEEE plaque is the English-language plaque. The sponsoring organizational unit(s) may, at their expense, request a plaque or plaques in other languages. The translation must be made—or validated by—a third-party professional translator at the sponsoring organizational unit(s)’ expense.

THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE IEEE MILESTONE PROGRAM:

1) It is a grass-roots, bottom-up program designed to increase local organizational unit and member involvement in IEEE activities.

2) It honors the achievement, rather than the person or place.

3) The proposal-to-dedication process takes between 9 and 15 months, with 12-14 being most common. This process cannot be shortened.

4) The achievement must be more than 25 years old.

5) The Milestone program is one of the most visible ways IEEE educates the general public about the importance of its members' achievements.

Milestone Process in Brief:

  • Proposer(s) (at least one must be a current IEEE member or student member) obtains sponsorship from appropriate IEEE organizational unit(s)
  • Proposers obtain permission from owner of site where milestone plaque is to be placed
  • Proposers complete and submit proposal on Milestones Wiki
  • Advocate appointed
  • Advocate reviews proposal, recommends History Committee action
  • If History Committee approves, the History Committee submits milestone to IEEE Board of Directors for final approval
  • Board of Directors Approves Milestone
  • Sponsoring Organizational Unit(s) plan dedication ceremony, order plaque(s) and celebrate the heritage of electrical and computing technology.


Time Required: The milestone approval process, plus the time required for casting the plaques, takes between nine and fifteen months. This time depends on 1) the time it takes the advocate to do a thorough review of the proposal, 2) the meeting schedules of the History Committee (which typically meets in March and October, with possible teleconferences in the summer) and 3) the meeting schedule of the Board of Directors. The process time cannot be shortened. If you are proposing a milestone to coincide with the anniversary of the achievement, or whose dedication ceremony you wish to hold on a particular date, submit the milestone proposal with plenty of time to allow it to go through the process. Please also allow for the advance deadlines required to submit materials to the agenda. Example: A proposal is submitted in March, the advocate makes a decision by end of June, the History Committee approves it in an August teleconference, the proposal is acted on at a November Board of Director's meeting; December and January are spent selecting a date for the ceremony, then 8 weeks for the casting of the plaques. Dedication is held in March or April of following year. (Note: the above is an example only; actual meeting dates will vary.)

The schedule for upcoming Board of Directors meetings can be found in the right hand column of  [http://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/board/index.html]

Plaque Location(s) The intended site(s) must be publicly accessible and have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque. Helpful Hints on Citations, Plaque Locations

Plaque costs: See Costs of the Plaques, Section 6 below.

Methods of payment for paying for plaques: See Section 6 below


Please read these guidelines all the way through before submitting a milestone proposal. There will be a link at the bottom of the page to submit your proposal.

Additional useful information about the Milestones Program can be found at the following links: See Chronological list of IEEE Milestones by date of achievement

See list of IEEE Milestones by the date of dedication ceremony

See List of technical achievements suitable for proposal to be IEEE Milestones

See list of Milestone proposals that can be sorted by docket number or title

Milestones Status Report to see the status of Milestone proposals in the approval process.

Frequently asked Questions about the Milestone Program FAQs click here and Helpful Hints on Citations, Plaque Locations, Plaque costs..


If you are giving a presentation to your organizational unit, and would like to talk about Milestones, here is a standard power point presentation on Milestones which you can download and incorporate in your presentation.

If a technical achievement crosses various engineering disciplines (e.g. mechanical, electrical, civil) it may be a good candidate for a joint designation with other societies Guidelines for Joint Designations of Milestone/Landmarks with other engineering societies, e.g ASCE, ASME et al

Below are a links to examples of proposals . This will enable you to see the questions you will have to answer before you actually begin the proposal process, as well as how the historical narrative and context is written

Milestone-Proposal:Sharp_14-inch_thin-film-transistor_liquid-crystal_display_(TFT-LCD)_for_TV,_which_has_ushered_in_TFT_LCD_industry

Milestone-Proposal:First_Blind_Flight:_A_Joint_IEEE-AIAA_Milestone_Proposal


There is a Special Citation in History program Special Citations in History Guidelines which allows recognition of important places or other aspects of the heritage of electrical and computing engineering which might not fit the criteria of milestones. The proposal process is similar. An example of a Special Citation in History proposal


Please bear in mind that you must obtain written permission from the owner of the property or properties where the plaque will be mounted before you can propose a milestone. The letter should be addressed to "IEEE Milestone Coordinator." Here is a Sample Site Owner Permission Letter

There is an FAQ with more helpful Hints on Citations, Plaque Locations

Ordering the Plaque, Plaque Payments,See Section 5 below.

Plaque dimensions and mounting details: See Section 6 below.

Plaque costs: See Costs of the Plaques, Section 6 below.

Ordering miniature plaques as souvenirs and gifts: See Section 6 below.

Planning the Dedication: See Section 7 below.



Before proposing a milestone, please check the Milestones Status Report to make sure your intended milestone is not already in process.



Before submitting the proposal it is necessary to obtain the permission of the owner of the property/buildings where the plaque is intended to be fixed. Here is a link to a good example of a letter of permission that you may use as a model: Sample Site Owner Permission Letter. Be sure to discuss with the property owner details of where and how the plaque is to be mounted, and any restrictions such as being, or not being, able to attach the plaque to the building itself. Be sure that the proposed mounting site can support the full weight of the bronze plaque. (See section 6 below for details on dimensions and weight.) For more help and hints, go to suggestions on plaque location.

It is also necessary to obtain the sponsorship of an appropriate IEEE organizational unit. Any IEEE organizational unit -- e.g. a Section, Society, Chapter, or Student Branch may sponsor the milestone proposal. Sponsorship has three aspects: 1) Payment for the cost of the plaque(s), 2) Arranging the dedication ceremony, and 3) agreeing to monitor the plaque and to let IEEE History Center staff know in case the plaque needs to be moved, is no longer secure, etc. Number 3 must be done by the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) is located, but aspects 1 and 2 can be done by any IEEE Organizational Unit, and they need not be the same one. The plaque(s) remains the property of the IEEE Section in which it is located. A letter from the Section specifically stating that it will monitor the plaque and (if applicable, pay for the plaque and arrange the dedication) must be submitted with the proposal. If an IEEE organizational unit other than the Section will be paying for the plaque(s), a letter/email from the Chair or President of that IEEE organizational unit must also be submitted with the proposal. Here is the text to use for the Sponsor support letter(s).

Milestone Submission and Evaluation Process: Proposed milestones may be submitted through the Engineering & Technology History Wiki to be evaluated by the IEEE History Committee. A member or associate member of the IEEE History Committee shall be assigned as an advocate for each proposed milestone. The advocate is available to guide the proposers in preparing the documentation supporting the authenticity of the proposed milestone. The IEEE History Committee is responsible for evaluating the proposed milestone, and if appropriate, recommending approval by the IEEE Board of Directors.

Milestone proposals can be submitted at any time during the year, and are processed by the IEEE History Committee on an ongoing basis.


1. Submission of milestone proposal: Proposals for IEEE milestones must be submitted by an IEEE member. Any IEEE member is encouraged to submit proposals for a milestone.  The proposal must have the sponsorship of an IEEE Organizational Unit, such as Sections, Societies, or Chapters.  This is to ensure that there will be adequate backing for the dedication ceremony and payment for the plaque(s) should the milestone be approved.  The first step is to submit an initial proposal using the "Submit a Proposal" link http://ieeemilestones.org or in the left navigation margin of this page.

Type the title of the Milestone you wish to propose.  Please avoid using certain "special" characters such as commas, ampersands, apostrophe's, slashes ( , & /' \ )  in the title field in the box, as they may cause entry errors. (Hyphens and parenthesis are alright.) You may use such characters freely in the other fields of the proposal form.

Milestone Plaque Citation

The Milestone Proposal Form will request the submission of a draft citation of not more than seventy words describing the achievement to be recognized. Text absolutely limited by plaque dimensions to 70 words; 60 is preferable for aesthetic reasons.  The advocate or IEEE History Committee may choose to modify the citation. If the IEEE History Committee modifies the citation, the new version of the citation shall be sent to the proposers for comment on the changes. The History Committee has the final decision on the wording of the citation to be recommended for approval to the IEEE Board of Directors. The approved citation will be inscribed on the bronze plaque. English is the official language of the citation as it appears on the plaque and elsewhere (for example, IEEE website).

Translation into Languages Other Than English: The IEEE organizational unit may, at its own expense, have the Board of Directors-approved citation translated and additional plaque(s) cast and mounted. The organizational unit is responsible for the accuracy of the translation. IEEE History Center staff will assist with the casting of translated plaques. The translation(s) will be on separate plaque(s) of the same dimensions as the English, rather than casting both the English and translation together on one larger plaque. The same citation word limit applies for the translation as for the English.

Suggestions for writing the citation: Citations are intended to be read and understood by the general public. It is best to avoid acronyms when possible, and spell out corporate names unless the acronym is the one familiar to the general public. Names of living persons are not normally used in citations. The title of the citation will include a date. Whenever possible, a single date for the achievement is preferred in the title.  However, if the achievement took place over a period of years, it sometimes makes sense to show the date as a range, e,g. "Grumman Lunar Module, 1962-1972" More advice on citations

Material supporting the proposal must be submitted in electronic form. All documents cited and relied upon for evidence in the milestone proposal should be in English or have a translation into English provided. The materials shall be detailed, with appropriate references, so that they can be available to a broad range of potentially interested scholars, historians, and other parties. Significant references (minimum of five, but as many as needed to support the milestone), such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. The references should establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement.

a:) For materials that are not copyright encumbered and which you have the rights to post: attach them to the proposal or provide links to the documents if they exist on other web sites.

b:) For materials which are copyright encumbered, or which you do not have the rights to post, give references in the text of the proposal, but email the documents themselves to ieee-history@ieee.org so that IEEE History Center staff can forward them to the advocate reviewing the milestone proposal.

The letter of permission from the owner of the property/buildings where the milestone plaque(s) will be placed must be attached to the proposal before it can be considered for approval. The letter should be addressed to: "IEEE Milestone Coordinator."

2. Review of Proposal: Upon submission of the proposal, the staff Milestones Administrator will email the members of the IEEE History Committee on behalf of the Milestones Coordinator(s) soliciting an Advocate from among the members and associate members of the IEEE History Committee. If no one volunteers, the Chair will appoint an Advocate on behalf of the Milestones Coordinator(s). When appropriate, the Milestones Coordinator(s) can identify an advocate who is not already a member or associate member and have that person added as an associate member and appointed as advocate. The advocate will work with the proposers on the milestone. The milestone coordinator and the advocate will review the initial proposal to determine the potential significance of the proposed milestone. The milestones administrator [an IEEE staff member] shall convey to the proposers the decision of the Milestones Coordinator and the Advocate either to recommend the IEEE History Committee's approval or rejection.

3. Discussion Tab for proposals. Please check the Discussion tab frequently to see comments and recommendations on your proposal by the advocate, IEEE History Committee members, and other IEEE members. There is also a "watch" function on the wiki you can set to alert you when changes are made to proposals. Please note that the watch function does not alert you to comments made in the Discussion tabs.

Responding to comments made by discussors on the "Discussion" tab of proposal: If you (as submitter) agree with the suggested changes to your proposal, then make the suggested changes (only the submitter or submitters can actually make changes). For example, if a discussor suggests edits in the Milestone citation, and the submitter(s) agree, the change will become visible only if the submitter(s) make it. Conversely, if the submitter(s)disagree with the suggested change, the submitter(s) may comment in the discussion thread saying why not.

4. Approval of Board of Directors: The IEEE History Committee is responsible for receiving the report of the advocate and for the final review and evaluation of the authenticity of the proposed milestone to determine whether to recommend approval by the IEEE Board of Directors.

Citations approved by the IEEE Board of Directors shall be understood as final. Any changes requested to the citation by the organizational unit subsequent to IEEE Board of Directors approval – with the exception of minor grammatical changes – shall require the changed Milestone Proposal to be resubmitted to the IEEE History Committee and to undergo the approval process again.

Notification of Approval: The milestones administrator shall notify the proposers and the sponsoring organizational unit(s) when the IEEE History Committee recommends approval of the milestone to the IEEE Board of Directors and also notify the respective OU(s) when the IEEE Board of Directors has determined the final action regarding the proposed milestone.

5. Plaque Ordering and Ceremony Planning:

If the milestone is approved, the Organizational Unit then fills out the plaque order form. Details of payment methods can be found on the invoice which IEEE History Center staff will generate after the plaque order form is received.See Plaques may be paid for by..., Section 6 below. Guidelines for the successful completion of the milestone dedication events. Checklist for Milestone Dedication Ceremony Planning  

Attendance by IEEE President, Past President, or President-elect at dedication: Because milestone dedications are excellent opportunities to publicise IEEE and the profession, IEEE Presidents often wish to attend, subject of course to constraints of travel schedule and availability. The earlier the sponsoring organisational unit can inform the IEEE Presidents' Office http://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/leadership.html (even up to two years in advance when known) the more helpful the information is in helping to plan travel. The Presidents' office can be reached at: presidents@ieee.org

We recommend that dedication ceremony planners check the IEEE meetings calendar which can be found in the right-hand column of http://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/board/index.html when considering a date so that the ceremony does not conflict with – or might even be planned in conjunction with – major IEEE meetings. This will maximize the chances for IEEE representation. The more flexibility with regard to the date of the ceremony, the greater the possibility that an IEEE president, past-president, or president-elect may be able to attend the dedication ceremony. Please also indicate which role the President (or other representative) will play -- a main speaker, milestone presenter, (or both) -- as well as roles of the other speakers on the agenda. The IEEE President is not obligated to attend milestone dedications, and might not always be able to do so.

6. Casting of the Plaque(s): The Organizational Unit fills out the plaque order form. Details of payment methods can be found on the invoice which IEEE History Center staff will generate after the plaque order form is received. For payment methods, see below. For the latest costs of the Plaques, see also below. A plaque or plaques will be cast and delivered to the organizational unit(s) within eight weeks of payment being received by the History Center. Upon receiving the plaque order form, the History Center will invoice the organizational unit. Payment must be received by the History Center before the foundry will begin casting. Please allow time for this when planning the dedication ceremony date. Why does it take 8 weeks? After the date of the dedication ceremony has been chosen (the month and year of the dedication are cast into the plaque(s), so the date needs to be decided prior to ordering), please print out the plaque order form fill it out, and scan it and email it back to the IEEE History Center. Current pricing information for the plaques can be found on the plaque order form. Based on the number of plaques ordered, and shipping costs, the staff Milestone Administrator will then invoice the IEEE sponsoring organizational unit.

IEEE History Center staff will supply foundry proofs of the typeset plaque to the proposer(s) for review and/or correction. When the proposer(s) gives approval, IEEE History Center staff will authorize the foundry to cast the plaque(s) in bronze.

Each milestone plaque is 45cm x 30cm x 1.4288cm [18" x 12" x 11/16ths"], is made of bronze, and weighs about 8.4 kg [21 lbs].  Plaque mounting details. The Milestone Plaque must be placed in an appropriate location that is secure and accessible to the public. Typically, IEEE milestone plaques are in landscape (horizontal) orientation. However, in cases where the dimensions of the site require it (e.g. an existing building) the plaque may be cast in portrait (vertical) orientation. For photographs showing examples of plaque mountings, see Helpful Hints on Citations, Plaque Locations

Costs of the Plaques: Plaques cost US$835 per plaque plus shipping. Current shipping costs per plaque are:

Within U.S.A.: $70,to Canada: $100, to Europe: $160,  Asia and Pacific: $375. Other destinations vary. For other destinations, please contact IEEE History Center Staff with the shipping address including postal code, and they will obtain a shipping cost. Plaques may be paid for by: four methods: Check, credit card (Visa or Mastercard), wire transfer, or transfer to IEEE History Center account from IEEE organizational unit account. (Deduction from Section rebate is not a payment option.) IEEE History Center staff will provide payment details (e.g how to arrange transfer to History Center account) on the invoice that will be sent to the IEEE organizational unit.

In cases where a corporation or other non-IEEE organization has agreed to bear the cost of the plaque(s), it is the IEEE organizational unit’s responsibility to obtain payment from the non-IEEE sponsor and for the IEEE organizational unit(s) to reimburse the History Center. The IEEE History Center may not invoice the non-IEEE sponsor. (The only exception to this requirement is when the customs regulations of the receiving country make it easier or more cost-effective for the payment to come directly from an entity in that country. Consult with History Center staff in such cases.)

Even in cases where a non-IEEE organization has borne the costs of the plaque, the plaque remains the property of the IEEE Section in which it is mounted. 

Miniature Plaques: The foundry is also able to cast miniature versions of the plaques at costs which vary depending on materials and size of the order.  A number of sponsoring IEEE organizational units have had these miniature plaques made as momentos. These may be ordered and paid for directly from the foundry. For more information on this option, contact the milestones administrator at ieee-history@ieee.org

Here are some examples of miniature milestone plaques: http://www.ethw.org/Image:DAC_Milestone_ceremony.JPG   (The plaques held by the honorees in the photo are "Vinyl wood plaque" style 15cm x 20 cm,)

One style of miniature milestone plaque ("Jade Glass") 10 x 12.5cm,

Another style of miniature milestone plaque ("Piano finish wood plaque") 19.5 x 25cm,

















7. Dedication Ceremony: The IEEE organizational unit(s) are encouraged to develop and plan the dedication ceremony. Experience has shown that a successful dedication ceremony requires several months advance planning.  Checklist for Milestone Dedication Ceremony Planning

Here is a page of sample dedication ceremony invitations. You are free to write the invitations in any style you like; these are only examples.

Here is a page of sample Milestone dedication ceremony brochures
One particularly creative Milestone dedication ceremony invitation is pictured here. The invitation to the HP-35 pocket calculator was printed to look like the calculator, which fitted into a shirt pocket protector.
HP 35 Milestone invitation001.jpg

The schedule of the dedication ceremony should include at least eight weeks for delivery of the plaque, as well as advance notice to interested officials and leaders from the community and industry. If the IEEE sponsoring organizational unit(s) would like a major IEEE officer to participate in the dedication ceremony, the OU should contact the office of the President of IEEE .  Attendance by IEEE Executive or Regional representatives cannot be guaranteed, and depends on their travel and other committments.

If a Milestone dedication is intended to coincide with a specific event anniversary or date, the IEEE organizational unit(s) should keep in mind that the review and evaluation process requires between twelve and fifteen months, depending on the time required to prepare and document the proposal. Some of this timing is determined by the meeting dates of the IEEE Board of Directors, which meets three times per year. Information on the Board of Directors, including dates of upcoming meetings may be found at: www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/corporate/board/board.html

The sponsoring organizational unit is requested to include the following paragraph in the brochures or programs printed for the dedictaion ceremony:

"The IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing program honors pivotal technical achievements for the benefit of humanity. It is a program of the IEEE History Committee, administered by the IEEE History Center. The Milestones Program recognizes technological innovation and excellence in IEEE's fields of interest. IEEE established the Milestones Program in 1983 in conjunction with the 1984 Centennial Celebration. For more information on the Milestone Program, and on how to propose a milestone, please log on to the IEEE Milestones Wiki at: http://ieeemilestones.org or contact the IEEE History Center, 1 Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030, +1 732 562 5450"

The IEEE sponsoring organizational unit shall submit photographs and or video from the dedication ceremony, labeled with captions and names, to IEEE History Center staff (ieee-history@ieee.org) so that these may be added to the milestone’s page on the ETHW. The IEEE sponsoring organization is encouraged to upload video of the ceremony to platforms such as YouTube. Photographs of the main speaker(s), of persons involved in the achievement (if available), and the presentation of the plaque and/or the plaque mounted on site are requested. Comments, or excerpts of comments, by the speakers, video of the ceremony (if available), and links to media coverage, would also be welcome. The submitting organizational unit must certify in writing that these materials are clear of copyright encumbrances, or must submit written reuse permission of the copyright owner, together with credit lines, allowing them to be posted on the web.

8. Circumstances Requiring the Moving of a Milestone Plaque: IEEE Plaques are the property of IEEE. If circumstances require the removal of a milestone plaque (e.g. sale or destruction of the building), the IEEE Section in which the milestone plaque is placed should take custody of the plaque, and shall notify the staff milestone program administrator at the IEEE History Center. If the plaque is to be remounted in a new location, the new location (street address and GPS coordinates) shall be communicated to the milestone administrator, who will then notify the volunteer milestone coordinator(s) who in turn will report the change to the IEEE History Committee, and update the location information on the IEEE Global History Network. The IEEE History Committee will report the change to the Board of Directors. In the case where no appropriate new location can be found, the IEEE Section may opt to ship the plaque back to the IEEE History Center for safe storage.

If an appropriate location can be found on property owned by the same site owner, (this may include affiliate companies), the IEEE Section shall not be required to take possession of the plaque. The site owner shall inform the IEEE Section of the new location, time schedule, and the reason of the relocation, and can remount the plaque.

When recasting of the plaque or casting of a supplemental plaque is required (e.g. so that the wording makes sense in the new location), the IEEE History Center staff shall have the new plaque cast at the expense of the sponsoring IEEE Section.

Click here to go Milestone proposal submission page. There will be a space to enter your milestone proposal name about halfway down the page.
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