Guidelines for applicants 2020

Nature Research Awards for Inspiring & Innovating Science, Scientific Achievement Category

1. Introduction

The Nature Research Awards Scientific Achievement Category recognizes early-career women researchers. The successful applicant will have made an exceptional demonstrable contribution to scientific discovery, and may have faced significant challenges, personal or professional. The applicant will also exhibit the potential for developing and leading an independent research group. We are also keen that applicants have made efforts to inspire the next generation of scientists through outreach or support the retention of women in science careers.

2. Eligibility

Eligibility criteria are:
● Applicants must self-identify as women. We use an inclusive definition of ‘woman’ and ‘women’. We welcome trans women, genderqueer and non-binary people.
● Applicants must hold a PhD degree or a medical degree, or other type of doctorate by dissertation. A PhD or doctorate by dissertation is a globally recognized postgraduate academic degree awarded by a university or higher education institution to a person who has submitted a thesis or dissertation, based on extensive and original research in their chosen field.
● Applicants must be within 10 years of completing their PhD degree or medical degree, or other type of doctorate by dissertation:
○ Completion of their PhD (or medical degree) is defined as the date the PhD (or medical degree) or doctorate by dissertation was approved by the institutional panel following submission of their dissertation and/or oral examination. It is not the date of their graduation.
○ The abovementioned 10 years will be extended by any maternity leave(s) or other relevant leaves of absence. Thus, the 10 years do not need to be continuous. Details of these absences will need to be specified during the application process.
○ If applicants hold both a PhD and a medical degree, the graduation date of the most recently awarded will be used.
● Applicants must hold a non-tenured position. This includes those who have non-permanent postdoctoral and/or non-permanent tenure-track positions (or equivalents such as proleptic lecturer positions). Those in a tenured position (or equivalents, such as permanent lecturer position) are not eligible to apply.
● We accept applications from those working in natural sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

3. How to apply

Applications must be submitted through the online application form . The questions you will need to answer are listed below for reference. Entries must be complete (that is, all required fields are completed) and submitted by 14th June 2020 23:59 BST to be eligible.

By submitting this application you agree that:
– you have read and accepted the award terms and conditions.
– your personal data will be used as part of, and to communicate with you about, the Nature Research Awards programme. You can remove your details by emailing For more information view our Privacy Policy .


● Eligibility (personal declaration by applicant)
○ I self-identify as a woman (please note that we use an inclusive definition of ‘woman’ and ‘women’. We welcome trans women, genderqueer and non-binary people.).
○ I hold a PhD degree or a medical degree, or other type of doctorate by dissertation
○ I obtained my PhD or medical degree or other type of doctorate by dissertation after 31st December 2010, which can be extended backwards by the duration of any maternity leave(s) or other absences during this period.
○ At the time of application, I am in a non-tenured research position.
○ At the time of application, I am working in natural sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine.
● Date PhD* and/or medical degree** degree received
○ *PhD degree or other type of doctorate by dissertation
○ ** If you hold both a PhD and medical degree, please list the graduation date of the most recently received
● Extended leaves of absence, if any: exact dates + duration
○ After receipt of PhD or medical degree
● Please provide a letter from your HR department or department head confirming that you are in a non-tenured position.
● Please provide a copy of your degree certificate that attests the date your degree was awarded.

Applicant details
● Full name
● Job title
● Email address
● Phone number (including country code)
● Applicant address – – including city, country and postal/ZIP code
● Main affiliation
● Address of the main affiliation – including city, country and postal/ZIP code
● Second affiliation (if applicable)
● Address of the second affiliation – including city, country and postal/ZIP code (if applicable)
● PhD or medical degree or other type of doctorate by dissertation (discipline + university +
graduation year)
● Address of the awarding institution – including city, country and postal/ZIP code
● Postgraduate experience

Scientific achievements
● What is your main research area:
○ Natural sciences
○ Technology
○ Engineering
○ Mathematics
○ Medicine
● Summarise your main research interests or projects, explaining in particular how you have approached the scientific questions you are tackling (maximum 400 words).
● Describe how your research has advanced your research field (maximum 500 words).
● Explain how your research has had an impact beyond your research field, for example, societal impact, impact on other research fields etc. (maximum 500 words).
● Provide up to 5 of your most scientifically important publications (articles, books and book chapters) and explain (maximum 200 words each) why you selected them.
● Provide up to 5 key highlights of your research career excluding publications (for example, posters or talks at conferences, successful grant applications, scientific prizes, contribution to policy documents, patents or other technological innovations etc.) and explain (maximum 200 words each) why you selected them.
● Briefly explain your research plans for the near future and your long term vision and explain how the prize would help you to accomplish your vision and increase the impact of your research (maximum 600 words).
*We will aim to contact winners to get updates on their careers.
● Describe any research collaborations in which you are involved. (200 words)
● If your work has been cited and built upon by other researchers, provide details. (200 words)
● Additionally we invite you to describe particular challenges, professional or personal, that you have faced during the course of your studies and scientific career (maximum 500 words).
* This question will not be scored but will be used to provide context should your application proceed to the judges’ panel discussion.

How have you inspired the next generation of STEM researchers?
● Describe how you have led or been directly involved in any general science outreach activities beyond your core duties? (maximum 200 words).
Please complete the following information about your most impactful outreach activity.
● Provide a brief description and a short explanation why you selected to highlight this activity for the award (maximum 300 words).
● Who was the target audience of this activity (maximum 20 words)?

Shortlist profile
If your application is shortlisted, the responses to the following points will constitute your shortlist profile. This section is not judged:
● Please introduce yourself, your field of research and your job role (150 words).
● What challenges did you face on your journey to where you are now and how did you manage them (150 words)?
● What is one piece of advice or encouragement you would give other girls or women starting out on their science career? What was the best advice given to you (150 words)?
● Please describe anyone that has mentored or inspired you (150 words)?
● Please provide a black-and-white headshot photograph in high-resolution 150 x 150 pixel JPEG format.
NB: Parts of the above will be used on the website, mentoring site and across promotional
I confirm that I hold the permissions for this logo/ photograph.

4. Terms and conditions for applicants
By applying, applicants agree to the terms and conditions of the award programme.

5. Evaluation process and criteria
Applications will be assessed by our expert judging panel consisting of editors from Nature Research, independent experts and experts from our corporate partner, The Estée Lauder Companies. Each award category will have a separate judging panel. Panel members will review applications to create a shortlist of applicants for each award category. The full panel will then meet to discuss the merits of the shortlisted applicants and select the winner. The judging panel will make up 100% of the votes. The chief judge will make the final decision in the event of a tie.

Applications will be scored with the focus on scientific achievements, but taking into account science outreach activities.

6. Prize
The winner of the Nature Research Awards for Inspiring & Innovating Science, individual category, will receive:
● A grant of US$30,000 to spend on initiatives linked to the award
● A grant of up to US$5,200 APC funding: to spend on article processing charges over the next 2 years at Springer Nature journals, should papers submitted be suitable for publication
● An invitation to the award ceremony in London , with travel and accommodation expenses paid by the Promoter. In the event that it is not possible or advisable to hold such a ceremony, an alternative presentation or acknowledgement will be arranged.
● Coverage on
● Access to online Nature Masterclasses courses for one year
● An invitation to present their work or initiative to the scientists at The Estée Lauder Companies
● Mentoring through The Estée Lauder Companies
The shortlisted applicants will:
● Be profiled on the Nature Research Award website
● Have access to an exclusive mentoring and networking community site
● Have access to online Nature Masterclasses online courses for the duration of 1 month

7. Key dates
Applications: applications are invited between 9th April 2020 and 23:59 BST on 14th June 2020.
Shortlist: the shortlist will be announced in September 2020.
Winner: the winner will be invited to the award ceremony, which will take place in London in October
2020, if circumstances permit.

8. Contact
Please contact us at if you require any further information.

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