Hayward a Finalist for $250,000 Blavatnik National Award

Ryan Hayward
Ryan Hayward

The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and the Blavatnik Family Foundation announced this week that polymer scientist and chemical engineer Ryan Hayward has been named a finalist for the 2018 Blavatnik National Awards in the physical sciences and engineering category.

Led by the family foundation and administered by NYAS, the national awards recognize “both the past accomplishments and the future promise of the most talented scientific and engineering researchers aged 42 years and younger at America’s top academic and research institutions.” Three 2018 winners, one from each of three categories – life sciences, chemistry, and physical sciences and engineering – will be announced on June 27.

Len Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Industries, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation and member of the NYAS president’s council, says, “We created the Blavatnik Awards to identify the brightest young minds in science early in their scientific careers. These 31 finalists, through their creative, cutting-edge research, have demonstrated great promise for future discoveries of enormous scientific importance.”

A polymer scientist and chemical engineer, Hayward creates material systems with elastic buckling instabilities that transform their shape, surface morphology and material properties on demand. He has developed microscale polymeric sheets that self-fold into origami structures and 3D shapes in response to external stimuli such as light and heat. His work also focuses on the assembly of nanoscale materials such as polymer nanowires and polymer-embedded nanoparticles to control macroscale properties.

Hayward now moves on in his category to vie for an unrestricted prize of $250,000, the largest available to early career scientists, according to the foundation. All contestants are invited to participate in an awards ceremony and gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City in September.

Finalists were selected from 286 faculty-rank researchers nominated by 146 institutions in 42 states. The foundation asks leading academic and research centers to name their single most promising candidate in one or all of three categories. 

The Blavatnik Awards were established in the United States in 2007 and at that time identified outstanding scientific talent in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The national awards were inaugurated in 2014 and in 2018 were expanded to include young scientists in the United Kingdom and Israel.