2020 blavatnik national awards

The Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists recognize the United States' most promising faculty-rank researchers in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry. One Blavatnik Laureate in each disciplinary category will receive $250,000 in unrestricted funds, and additional nominees will be recognized as Finalists.

Nominations for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards are now open and will remain open until November 13, 2019.

Please see our Important Dates page for key deadlines for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards.


For a summary of nomination policies, please see the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards Nominations Flyer


Main eligibility criteria
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.

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

Age Limit Exceptions
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 by 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.

Dual or Joint Appointments
For nominees holding a dual or joint appointment at more than one institution, the nominee must be employed by the nominating institution at least 50% full-time effort.

Returning Nominees
Non-winning nominees from prior Blavatnik Awards nomination cycles are eligible to be re-nominated by their institutions as one of their three nominees, provided they still meet all eligibility requirements.


Candidates for the Blavatnik National Awards must be nominated by their institutions—self-nominations are not allowed.

Each institution may submit up to three nominations, one in each disciplinary category of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Chemistry.

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

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; please see our Nomination Materials & Instructions page for further details.

Self-nominations are not allowed. Nominees do not submit their own nomination materials and should direct all questions to their institution. Please see our Invited Institutions page for a list of institutional contacts, or contact us at

Scientific Advisory Council and Past Laureate Nominations
Members of the Blavatnik National Awards Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) and previous Blavatnik National Awards Laureates may also submit nominations for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards.  These nominations do not count towards an institution’s limit of three nominees.

SAC Members and past Laureates may submit unlimited nominees, but may only nominate one candidate from any given institution.

Re-Nomination of Past Finalists
Nominees recognized as Finalists of the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards are eligible for automatic re-nomination for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards, provided they still meet all eligibility requirements.  Returning Finalists do not count towards an institution’s limit of three nominees.  Age limit exceptions for returning Finalists born prior to 1978 must be submitted by their institution by October 30, 2019, and must be approved before submission of nomination materials.  Finalists of the 2019 Blavatnik National Awards will be contacted by the Blavatnik Awards team with further instructions.


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 on 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.


2020 Blavatnik National Awards Laureates and Finalists are expected to:

  • Attend the Blavatnik National Awards Ceremony in New York City on September 21, 2020.
  • Laureates are required to deliver a short presentation on their work at the Ceremony.  Blavatnik Awards staff will work closely with the Laureate to craft this presentation, which must be accessible to a general audience.
  • Participate in Blavatnik National Awards related media activities and inquiries (e.g., video interviews, magazine profile interviews, eBriefings, etc.)
  • Attend the Blavatnik Science Symposium in New York City on July 13–14, 2020.  Laureates and selected Finalists will be invited to deliver a short presentation on their research to their fellow Blavatnik Awards honorees and representatives of the Blavatnik Family Foundation.
  • Respond to all requests and provide deliverables in a timely manner, to facilitate compliance with the above expectations.

Costs of round-trip travel to New York City for the Ceremony and Symposium will be covered by the Blavatnik National Awards program.

The New York Academy of Sciences asks that nominees consider potential scheduling conflicts should they be selected as an honoree in advance of submitting their nomination materials. Awards-related media and publication activities are scheduled to begin prior to the Awards ceremony, when the Blavatnik National Awards Laureates and Finalists are notified of their status.


For general questions about the rules and eligibility requirements, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

For all other inquiries, please contact the Blavatnik Awards team at or 212.298.8696.