2020 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists


The Blavatnik National Awards recognize and celebrate America's most innovative and promising faculty-rank scientists and engineers. Each year, one nominee in each category is awarded $250,000 in unrestricted funding and honored at the Blavatnik National Awards ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as a Blavatnik National Awards Laureate. UMass Amherst has been invited to nominate up to three outstanding young faculty members, one in each of three disciplinary categories: 1) Chemistry, 2) Physical Sciences & Engineering, and 3) Life Sciences. 


Nominees 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.
  • Currently conduct research as a principal investigator in one of the disciplinary categories: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences & Engineering, or Chemistry.
  • Previously nominated individuals who were not selected as Laureates in past Awards cycles may be nominated again.

*Age limit exceptions will be considered by the Academy in exceptional circumstances upon a detailed written submission from the nominating institution.

 Award Background:

Award Amount: $250,000 in unrestricted funds

  • Number of Awards: 3 (1 in each category)
  • Number of UMass Amherst Nominees: up to 3 (1 in each category)
  • Total Number of Applicants: roughly 450
  • Previous Finalists: to help determine your competitiveness, we strongly recommend reviewing the list of past finalists.

Internal Application Process

The internal selection process will be informed by the grant program's guidelines and submission requirements and led by a committee composed of the deans of applicants' respective schools and colleges or their designees and, if necessary, the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Research Engagement, and/or faculty with relevant expertise. 

If you are interested in applying to this program please email a pre-proposal with the following items in a single PDF by October 4 to foundation.relations@umass.edu:

  • Curriculum vitae (please include date of birth, which must be in or after 1978);
  • 1,000 word research statement that includes:
    • A description of up to five of your most significant scientific contributions and research accomplishments from your independent career; and 
    • Key results, their impact on your field of study, and the your specific role in the described work.
  • Two anticipated references (name, position, institution, noteworthy national/international awards); it is recommended that one letter come from someone external and one should come from someone who is not a previous advisor; 
  • A list of current and pending external and internal research support.

Additional Information

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.

For additional information, visit the program's website. If you have technical questions about the grant program or your eligibility, please contact Marco Monoc or Liz Smith in Foundation Relations.