1. What are the Blavatnik National Awards?

Since 2007, the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists have been open to scientists in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Beginning in the 2014 awards cycle, the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences expanded the faculty awards to include young scientists across the US. The Blavatnik National Awards recognize excellence in three disciplinary categories: Life Sciences; Physical Sciences & Engineering; and Chemistry. Every year, one Blavatnik National Awards Laureate in each category will receive $250,000 in unrestricted funds. The prize money is given directly to the Laureate. Additional nominees are recognized as Finalists.

2. What are the differences between the Blavatnik National Awards and the Blavatnik Regional Awards?

The Blavatnik National Awards are open to US-based, faculty-rank scientists under the age of 42, and each year award $250,000 in unrestricted funds to one Blavatnik National Awards Laureate in each of the three disciplinary categories recognized by the Blavatnik Awards (Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry); additional nominees are recognized as Finalists.

The Blavatnik Regional Awards are open only to postdoctoral-rank scientists under the age of 42 from institutions in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut. Each year, one nominee in each disciplinary category is recognized as a Blavatnik Regional Awards Winner, and receives $30,000 in unrestricted funds. Additionally, two nominees in each category are recognized as Finalists, and receive $10,000 each in unrestricted funds.

3. Who receives the prize money?

One Blavatnik National Awards Laureate in each disciplinary category will receive $250,000 in unrestricted funds. The prize money is given directly to the Laureate. Indirect costs are not applied to the award.

4. Do I have to pay taxes on the prize money?

Yes. Applicable U.S. tax laws require any payments made under this program to be subject to federal income tax. U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations require that the Academy has a completed Form W-9 on file for all Award recipients prior to the distribution of the Award. Further details regarding the secure submission of this information to the Academy will be provided to Awardees at the time of Award notification. Award recipients will receive a 2019 1099-MISC Form that reports your Award payment as Miscellaneous Income to the IRS. Award recipients should consult with their U.S. tax advisor regarding any tax questions.

5. What are the evaluation criteria for the Blavatnik National Awards?

Nominees and their work as independent investigators will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Quality – The extent to which the work is reliable, valid, credible, and scientifically rigorous.

  • Impact – The extent to which the work addresses an important problem, advances scientific progress, and is influential in the nominee’s field, related fields, or beyond, and/or has the potential to benefit society.

  • Novelty – The extent to which the work challenges existing paradigms, establishes a new field or considerably expands an existing field, employs original methodologies or concepts, and/or pursues an original question.

  • Promise – The nominee has potential for further significant contributions to science, and the research program will generate further impactful and novel discoveries.

6. Which institutions may submit nominations for the Blavatnik National Awards?

Approximately 300 U.S.-based institutions are invited to submit nominations. They include degree-granting universities, private research institutes, academic medical centers, and national government laboratories. If your institution does not appear on our list and would like to nominate, please submit a brief statement of interest to

7. How many nominations may an institution submit each year?

Each institution may submit up to three nominations per year, one for each of the three disciplinary categories.

Nominating institutions are encouraged to consider candidates across the institution, focusing on the scope of the candidate’s work and its relevance within a given scientific category. For example, an institution can nominate a Chemistry nominee who is not based in the Chemistry Department, but is leading a research program in one of the disciplinary categories covered by the Chemistry section of the Blavatnik Awards. Nominating institutions seeking more guidance may contact the Academy at

The Blavatnik Awards strongly encourage the nomination of women and other underrepresented groups in science and engineering.

8. Who is eligible for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards?

Prospective nominees must be conducting research at one of the invited U.S. institutions. There are no residency or citizenship requirements to be nominated for the Blavatnik National Awards.

The nominee must:

  • Have been born in or after 1978*.

  • Hold a doctorate degree (PhD, DPhil, MD, DDS, DVM, etc.).

  • Currently hold a tenured or tenure-track academic faculty position (or equivalent) at an invited institution in the United States.

  • Currently conduct research as a principal investigator in one of the disciplinary categories in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, or Chemistry.

*Age limit exceptions will be considered by the Academy in exceptional circumstances upon a detailed written submission from the nominating institution received by the Academy at no later than Wednesday, October 30, 2019. For more information, please contact us at We strongly encourage institutions considering nominating candidates born prior to 1978 to contact us as early as possible during the nomination period.

Pre-2014 faculty-level Winners of the Blavatnik Regional Awards are not eligible. Post-2014 Winners and Finalists of the Blavatnik Regional Awards are eligible for the Blavatnik National Awards.

9. What is the nomination procedure for the Blavatnik National Awards?

Institutional nominations must be submitted by the institution’s President, Provost, or equivalent (or their official designee). The Blavatnik Awards team must be informed of the identity of an institution’s official nominator. Newly-invited institutions, or institutions whose designated nominator has changed since the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards, must send a brief statement to naming their official designee as nominator before submitting nominations.

The nominator fills out the nomination form, uploads all required materials, and provides the names of two letter writers. The letter writers then receive emails with instructions on uploading their letters. For more details, please refer to the nomination guidelines.

Please note that for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards, we will be using a new online nomination platform. This will be made available when nominations open on September 25, 2019. Please contact us at if you experience any issues.

Nominators may use their accounts created in previous award cycles as long as the email addresses linked with these accounts remain active.

If an institution is re-nominating a candidate from past years, a new submission must be created using the online system.

10. Where can the nominations for the Blavatnik National Awards be submitted?

The online nomination system may be accessed on the National Guidelines page during the nomination period.

11. What are the important deadlines for the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards?

  • September 25, 2019: Nominations open for 2020 Blavatnik National Awards

  • October 30, 2019: Eligibility exception requests due 

  • November 13, 2019:  Nominations close for 2020 Blavatnik National Awards

  • November 27, 2019: Letters of support due for 2019 Blavatnik National Awards

  • May-June, 2020: 2020 Blavatnik National Awards Laureates and Finalists publicly announced

  • September 21, 2020: 2020 Blavatnik National Awards ceremony in New York City

12. What materials are required to submit a nomination for the Blavatnik National Awards?

The nomination package for the Blavatnik National Awards contains the following documents:

  1. Nomination Form

  2. Rationale for Nomination

  3. Curriculum Vitae

  4. Research Summary

  5. Full-text Publications and/or Patents

  6. Letters of Recommendation

Full details and requirements for all nomination materials are provided on our Nomination Materials & Information page.

13. Is the nomination complete after the nomination form is submitted?

Once the nominator submits the nomination form, two letters of support are still necessary to complete the nomination. Letter writers will receive automatic emails with instructions on uploading their letters. The nomination is complete once both letters have been uploaded. The letters of support must be uploaded by November 27, 2019. Nominators may view the status of the letters of support by logging into their account.

14. Who should write a nominee’s letters of support?

We recommend that nominees petition Letters of Support from individuals who are experts in the nominee’s discipline, field, or sub-field and who are intimately familiar with the nominee’s most significant and important research contributions during their independent career.

Further, we recommend—but it is not a requirement—that in most cases, at least one Letter of Support should come from an individual external to the nominating institution, and at least one Letter of Support should come from someone who is not the nominee’s previous advisor.

15. What information should be included in a letter of support?

Letters of support should:

  • Be a maximum of two pages, single-spaced, and uploaded as PDF files.

  • Indicate how the letter writer has become acquainted with nominee and their work / research.

  • Describe the nominee’s most significant research contributions and explain their importance for the nominee’s research area. If applicable, describe the nominee’s role in any large collaborations.

  • Assess the nominee’s accomplishments in comparison with those of his or her peers at the same career stage.  

  • Focus on the nominee’s scientific accomplishments during his/her independent career and omit the details of the graduate and postdoctoral work or information typically included in the CV, such as positions and awards. 

16. How are letters of support submitted?

Nominators will be prompted to provide the names and email addresses of two letter writers during submission of the nomination materials. Letter writers will receive an automated email with instructions on uploading their letters. Letter writers must upload letters of support by 11:59PM PT on Wednesday, November 27, 2019.

17. How will a nominee know if letters of support have been received?

Once both letters have been uploaded, the nominator and the nominee will receive automated notifications.

Letters of Support are confidential—neither the nominator nor the nominee will be able to view the contents of the letters.

Nominators may view the status of the letters of support by logging into their account.

18. Will any evaluation information or feedback be made available to the nominee or their institution?

No. All evaluations are kept confidential and no feedback will be provided.

19. When will Blavatnik National Awards Laureates and their institutions be notified?

Nominees and their institutions will be notified of the final status of their nominations in May-June 2020.

20. Whom may I contact for more information?

Please contact the Blavatnik Awards staff at or 212.298.8696 during regular business hours: Monday – Friday between 9:00AM and 5:00PM ET.