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31 Finalists Chosen for the Prestigious Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

Thirty-one groundbreaking scientists will compete to be one of three Laureates for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, the world’s largest unrestricted prize for early-career scientists.

Published June 16, 2020

31 Finalists Chosen for the Prestigious Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists today announced the 31 Finalists for the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists, who were selected from among 305 nominees from 161 academic and research centers across 41 US states. These trailblazing scientists and engineers will compete to be one of three Laureates, one in each of the Award categories: Chemistry, Physical Sciences & Engineering, and Life Sciences. Each Laureate will receive $250,000 in unrestricted funding. The three winning 2020 Blavatnik National Awards Laureates will be announced on July 22, 2020.

Blavatnik Scholars are driving key advances in science that will transform the world. This year’s Finalists have made cutting-edge discoveries that include “reversing” bacterial evolution to fight antibiotic resistance; creating stretchable biological fibers that can be used in artificial muscles; improving algorithms to analyze visual data; developing new methods to use light to control chemical reactions; designing novel 2D and 3D polymers; and driving radical advances that can impact water purification, renewable energy and building materials, and next generation electronics.

“The world has never needed scientists more than right now,” said Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and member of the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences. “In these challenging times, the work of these impressive young scientists offers us hope. Their research will lead to solutions—new inventions, discoveries, and ideas—that will endow society with the tools needed to surmount the difficult challenges our world currently is faced with. We are very proud to honor them.”

Ellis Rubinstein, President Emeritus of the New York Academy of Sciences and chair of the Awards’ Scientific Advisory Council said: “It has been my true honor to partner with visionaries such as Len Blavatnik, who understand that science and technology make this world better. I know that the impact of the Blavatnik Awards—and of these stellar Blavatnik National Awards Finalists—will only increase in the coming years.”

Incoming President and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences, Nicholas Dirks, PhD, added: “As I get to know the scientists in the Academy’s network, I’ve discovered that past and present Blavatnik Scholars are some of the top young scientists in the United States. We are excited to induct these 2020 Blavatnik National Awards Finalists into the New York Academy of Sciences and we are proud to celebrate them and their achievements, and to showcase their work to the world.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Awards ceremony and gala dinner in honor of the 2020 Blavatnik National Awards Laureates and Finalists typically held each year in September will be postponed to 2021. The 2020 Blavatnik National Awards honorees will be celebrated alongside the 2021 Blavatnik National Awards honorees, on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in 2007 and independently administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, began by identifying outstanding regional scientific talent in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The Blavatnik National Awards were first awarded in 2014 and, in 2017, the Awards were expanded to honor faculty-rank scientists in the United Kingdom and in Israel. By the close of 2020, the Blavatnik Awards will have conferred prizes totaling over $10.2 million to 321 outstanding young scientists and engineers from more than 46 countries, representing 36 scientific and engineering disciplines.


For updates about the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, please visit www.blavatnikawards.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@BlavatnikAwards).