Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Launched Nationally

The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences announce the nationwide launch of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists program to identify and support America’s most promising faculty-rank scientists age 42 and younger. Awarded annually, three of the country’s most innovative young scientific researchers will each receive unrestricted cash prizes of $250,000—the largest unrestricted prize of its kind.

“In contrast to the proliferation of awards aimed at renowned senior scientists, the Blavatnik Awards will recognize the value of empowering scientists when they are young and can benefit from early recognition,” says Torsten Wiesel, Nobel Laureate, President Emeritus of The Rockefeller University, and Chairman Emeritus of the Academy.

“Our goal is to celebrate America’s exceptional young scientists and showcase their achievements to inspire the next generation of scientists. The Blavatnik Family Foundation is committed to supporting groundbreaking work in science and technology to address society’s most pressing global problems,” says Len Blavatnik.

The national expansion of the Awards program builds upon the success of the regional Awards program established in 2007 to recognize exceptional young scientists in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Past finalists and winners of the regional Blavatnik Awards have gone on to achieve ever greater success, often citing the Awards as a vital “tipping point” in their research careers. “The Blavatnik Awards program is very important as it recognizes the potential impact of our research. It identifies emerging scientific thought leaders and highlights their work to the broader scientific community,” says Elisa Oricchio, 2012 Blavatnik Awards winner and Research Fellow of the Cancer Biology & Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “It is a wonderful stimulus for a young scientist that increases self-confidence to pursue his or her dreams.”

Nominations for the national Blavatnik Awards competition will be accepted from approximately 300 leading research universities, independent research institutions, and academic medical centers, as well as from a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of renowned scientists, Nobel laureates, and past Blavatnik Awards winners known for their innovative thinking.

Each eligible institution will be able to nominate their most outstanding young faculty member in each of three disciplinary categories: Physical Sciences & Engineering; Chemistry; and Life Sciences. Applications will be reviewed by an expert Judging Panel comprised of 60 of the nation’s most distinguished scientists. The judges will select winners based on the quality, novelty, and impact of the scientist’s research.

“The Awards program will provide exceptional opportunities for winners to serve as role models to the nation’s youth—showing that young, creative individuals can indeed be the ‘face’ of science. The long-term goal of the Awards is to create a pipeline of scientific support, in which established scientists choose the most outstanding young faculty-rank scientists, who then go on to mentor the next generation of would-be scientists and award winners,” says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO of the Academy.

Nominations for the premiere 2014 program will run from October to December 2013. National winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in September 2014.