An award is given to a person, entity, or thing in recognition of an outstanding achievement in a specific field or discipline. Awards come in many forms: trophies, medals, certificates, plaques, ribbons, and money are among the most common. Money is sometimes awarded for the purpose of funding a person or entity's future project––this is called a grant. There are many types of awards. Awards range from the small and informal, like an employee of the month award at a workplace, to international recognition, like an Olympic medal. To win an award does not always mean to receive a tangible prize. Michelin stars are a nonmaterial and highly prestigious award given to restaurants of exceptional quality.
Awards can be given to people posthumously as a way of honoring their memory and the contributions they made throughout their lives. Sometimes a person is awarded a posthumous formal recognition of achievement in something they were working towards before their death, like a college degree. Common scenarios in which a person might receive a posthumous award are when an actor or musician dies before the release of a planned movie or album, when someone dies in a tragic event, or when someone sacrifices their life in a heroic act to help others in danger.