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5 Steps to Winning a Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists

Published November 18, 2020

5 Steps to Winning a Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists

Nominations for the 2021 Blavatnik Regional Awards are being accepted from December 2, 2020 through January 27, 2021.

Science is moving faster than ever before, in no small part because of the hard work of diligent and talented postdoctoral scientists. “Postdocs are the fuel running the engines of scientific research” said Nicholas B. Dirks, New York Academy of Sciences, President and CEO.  We are inspired by these young scientists, the unsung heroes who seek to cure diseases, save our planet, and discover the universe. In return, these postdocs deserve to be thanked, honored, and rewarded for their hard work, effort, dedication and incredible discoveries.

Established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and independently administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, the Blavatnik Regional Awards encourage outstanding postdoctoral scientists, early in their careers, to pursue the kinds of transformational research our world values and needs.

The Blavatnik Regional Awards honor postdoctoral-level scientists and engineers under the age of 42 from across the tri-State region (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York). This award recognizes scientists throughout the entire spectrum of scientific discovery, with three separate Award competitions in Chemistry, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences & Engineering. One Winner from each category will be bestowed a $30,000 unrestricted prize, and two Finalists are each awarded $10,000.

With nominees representing the entire breadth of scientific research, how does one compare a microbiologist to a neuroscientist or an electrical engineer to a geologist?  Irrespective of the scientific field, all scientists can be judged on the quality, novelty, and impact of their research, as well as their potential for further revolutionary contributions to science or science-related fields.

So, do you want to become a Blavatnik Regional Awards honoree?  Or perhaps you know a talented young scientist worthy of nomination?

Here’s a “how-to” on becoming a distinguished new member of the prestigious Blavatnik Scholars community.

STEP 1: Learn more about the Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists

Go to the Blavatnik Regional Awards website to learn about the program. You’ll find full details, eligibility requirements, and what’s expected of you if you win on our Guidelines page.

STEP 2: Ask, am I eligible?

Nominees for the 2021 Blavatnik Regional Awards must:

  • Have been born in or after 1979.
  • Hold a doctorate degree (PhD, DPhil, MD, DDS, DVM, etc.).
  • Currently hold a postdoctoral position at an invited institution in Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York.
  • Currently conduct research in one of the disciplinary categories in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, or Chemistry.

Full details, including information on age-limit exceptions can be found on our nomination guidelines page, here.

STEP 3: Get yourself nominated

Nominees must be put forward by their universities and research institutions—you can’t directly nominate yourself or someone else. To learn more about how the selection process works at your institution, contact your institution’s designated nominator, listed here, and inquire if you can be considered for nomination.

STEP 4: Prepare your nomination materials

Once selected for nomination by your institution, you should work with your institutional nominator to prepare your nomination materials. You’ll need to provide a Research Summary, an up-to-date CV, up to four of your most impactful scientific publications, and the names of two people who can provide Letters of Support. More information and instructions can be found on our Nomination Materials and Information page.

The Blavatnik Regional Awards focus on the nominee’s postdoctoral work, so be sure your application materials focus on your accomplishments during this stage of your career. A nominee’s “postdoctoral work” encompasses research or work performed after the awarding of a doctoral degree and prior to the start of an independent position as a Principal Investigator.

Keep in mind that nominees are judged on the quality, impact, novelty, and promise of their work and their career thus far. As you construct your nomination materials, be sure to convey how you excel in these specific areas. Follow all instructions closely to be sure you put your best foot forward.

Once your application is finished, submit your completed nominations materials to your designated nominator at your institution, in time for them to submit them to us by January 27, 2021.


If the Blavatnik Regional Awards jury has selected you as a Winner or Finalist, you and your institution will be contacted by the Academy between the months of June and July, 2021. You will also be invited to participate in the Blavatnik Science Symposium at the Academy, in July 2022, and will be honored at the 2021 New York Academy of Sciences Gala to be held in New York City in November 2021.

See what exciting things recent Blavatnik Regional Awards Honorees are now doing: Bill Anderegg ‘16, Laura Duvall ‘19, Derya Akkaynak ‘19.