Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists

Listed below are common questions and answers about the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists.


Who started the Prize?

The Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists was initiated as a collaboration between SciLifeLab in Sweden and Science magazine/AAAS. It is co-funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, a Swedish philanthropic organization that is one of the largest private financiers of scientific research in Europe. Read more about the prize sponsors.

Why was this prize created?

The Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists was created to recognize early career researchers (within two years of earning their PhD). It is one of the few prizes awarded to young scientists and perhaps the only one specifically for life science researchers at the start of their careers.

While a number of prizes exist to recognize scientists in various life science fields, many of these awards are only given to scientists in a specific country or narrow field of work, or only to those with decades of significant work and dozens of published articles behind them.

Science & SciLifeLab realized the importance of recognizing the work of young scientists in order to encourage them to continue with their scientific endeavors and lead the way for new discoveries. Identifying these young researchers early in their careers may open opportunities for them that could bring about exciting new advances in the fields of life science.

When was the prize started? And how often is it awarded?

The prize was first awarded in 2013, and it is awarded annually.

What are the prize categories?

Cell and Molecular Biology

Research in this category includes cellular and molecular processes at levels ranging from single molecule to single cell to tissue and organ systems.

Genomics, Proteomics and Systems Biology Approaches

Research in this category focuses on genomics, proteomics, integrative omics and systems biology approaches, inlcuding computational, to facilitate comprehensive understanding of living cells, organisms and species.

Ecology & Environment

Research in this category encompasses interactions between organisms and their environment, and how these processes are influenced by human activity.

Molecular Medicine

Research in this category aims at building on the molecular understanding of disease in humans to develop preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, including individualized medicine.

How are winners selected and who selects them?

The winners are selected by a committee of scientists chaired by the Editor-in-Chief of Science magazine.

Entries are first screened by Science editors and three finalists are selected from each category. Then, the committee selects the winner from each category. The four category winners compete for the grand prize. The grand prize winner and three category winners will be decided in October. The entire process for selection and announcement of winners is organized and run by Science.

What do winners receive?

The grand prize winner receives $30,000 USD and each of the other three category winners receives $10,000 USD.

In addition, the grand prize winning essay is published in Science magazine and each of the other three winning essays are published at Science online.

Furthermore, all four of the award winners are invited to Sweden for the prize ceremony, held the same week as the Nobel Prize ceremony,  and may have a chance to meet the Nobel laureates, attend a scientific symposium to present their work, and attend a series of social events in which they are able to network with notable scientific researchers in their fields.

Read more about Prize week. 

Who is eligible to apply for the prize?

Entrants for the 2020 prize must have received their Ph.D. between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019. Entrants may only apply once within this time period, and the work described in the entry must have been performed while the entrant was a graduate student. The prize is open to residents of all nations without regard to sex or race.

What is the process for application?

In addition to completing an online entry form applicants must submit an essay describing their thesis work in one of the qualified categories. The essay cannot exceed 1,000 words in length and may include one figure or table.

Applicants must also submit a one-page reference letter from their advisor or a member of their thesis committee with an assessment of the applicant and comment on the significance of the applicant’s research.

In addition, a list of citations, awards and relevant professional experience should be included, as well as an abstract of the thesis.

The application form can be found at the Science website.

When are the winners announced?

Winners are selected in October and announced in November each year. The awards ceremony is held in Stockholm during the first week of December, the same week that the Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet take place.

Question: When is the application deadline?

The deadline is July 15 2020. Apply at the Science website.