Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Expands into UK

US awards programme commits to multi-year investment in UK science, in excess of £10 million

LONDON--()--The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists, a US-based awards programme established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in 2007, is expanding to the United Kingdom, a move that will bring over £10 million of inward investment to the UK scientific community.

“The Blavatnik Awards are an excellent example of the importance of investing in our young scientists and their pioneering work that will benefit millions around the world.”

The awards, administered by The New York Academy of Sciences, recognise outstanding young scientists and engineers in three subject categories: Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Chemistry. They provide support to scientists and engineers early in their careers, when additional funding and recognition have the greatest impact on a young scientist’s work. Over the past decade, over $4 million has been awarded to 125 scientists in the US.

The UK awards will recognise faculty-rank scientists from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England under the age of 42. Three winners (one in each category) will receive $100,000 each in unrestricted funds; two finalists in each category will receive $30,000 each. The awards provide one of the largest unrestricted cash prizes on offer for any UK scientist.

Award candidates will be nominated by their university or research institution, or through the UK Scientific Advisory Council, consisting of eminent scientists and engineers including Nobel Laureate John O’Keefe and Jackie Hunter, former CEO of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. The finalists and winners will be chosen by a jury comprised of some of the world’s most distinguished scientists and engineers.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson, said: “The UK is home to some of the world's best scientists and this is why we made science and research a central part of our Industrial Strategy - strengthening links between research and industry, ensuring more home-grown innovation creates economic growth across the country.

“The Blavatnik Awards are an excellent example of the importance of investing in our young scientists and their pioneering work that will benefit millions around the world.”

Len Blavatnik, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said: “The UK consistently produces some of the best scientific research in the world, building upon its remarkable history of scientific discovery and innovation. The Blavatnik Family Foundation looks forward to honouring and supporting the scientists providing solutions to society's biggest problems.”

Past Blavatnik Award winners represent some of America’s most successful young scientists. Over 90% of previous winners are now tenured at many of the world’s top research institutions, and 79% of postdoctoral winners are now tenure-track Faculty (i.e. holding the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor).

Professor John O'Keefe of Sainsbury Wellcome Centre at UCL, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine, who is joining the Blavatnik Awards’ UK Scientific Advisory Council, said: “Scientists around the world deserve recognition for their important work, and this is particularly the case for early career scientists who are often trailblazing new problems and new areas of research. The UK has a long history in supporting and fostering the independence of young scientists. It is great news that the highly prestigious Blavatnik Awards will now be available to early stage UK researchers. I’m looking forward to working with the Foundation in this important new endeavour.”

“The Blavatnik Awards are very special because they are given at a stage of a scientific career when recognition is most meaningful and has a long-lasting impact. This was certainly the case for me. The award given at the early stage of scientific career not only recognises past accomplishments, but also the future promise. This provides a powerful motivation to deliver on that promise”, reflected Professor Ruslan Medzhitov of Yale University, one of the earliest winners of the Blavatnik Awards in the United States in 2007. Indeed, Medzhitov has made one seminal discovery after another about the human immune system, dramatically expanding our understanding of infection control, chronic inflammation, and even tumor growth.

“The United States and United Kingdom have a long history of collaboration in science,” said Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, New York Academy of Sciences, which administers the Blavatnik programme. “Expanding the Blavatnik Awards to the United Kingdom with its vast pool of rising scientific talent is the next logical step for the next decade of the programme. And I personally cannot wait to participate in the annual scientific symposium that brings many Blavatnik Awardees together. The sparks always fly and new collaborations will be born that can transform the world.”

Nominations for the UK Blavatnik Awards open on 3rd May 2017. The finalists and winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in March 2018. Universities and research institutions can nominate candidates via www.blavatnikawards.org/awards/uk.

About the Blavatnik Family Foundation

The Blavatnik Family Foundation is an active supporter of leading educational, scientific, cultural, and charitable institutions in the United States, Europe, and throughout the world. The Foundation is headed by Len Blavatnik, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Mr. Blavatnik is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately-held U.S. industrial group with global interests in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, real estate, technology and e-commerce. For more detailed information, please visit: www.accessindustries.com.

The New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society’s challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.

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Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists expands into UK. US awards programme commits to multi-year investment in UK science, in excess of £10 million

The Blavatnik Family Foundation