Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award

In honor of former BMES Executive Director Rita Schaffer, the Society established the Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award in 2000. Rita Schaffer's gift of her estate - along with contributions from her family, friends, and associates - enabled BMES to create this award.

The Young Investigator Award is offered each year to stimulate research careers in biomedical engineering. The recipient will present the 20-minute Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Lecture and publish the text of the lecture in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.  The award recipient must be within 7 years of receiving his/her highest degree at the time of award nomination submission. 

BMES Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award Recipients 

2020 - Abigail Koppes, Ph.D. - Northeastern University
2019 - James Dahlman, Ph.D. - Georgia Institute of Technology
2018 - Emily Day, Ph.D. - University of Deleware
2017 - Craig Goergen, Ph.D.- Purdue University

2016 - Jennifer Munson, Ph.D. - University of Virginia
2015 - Jonathan F. Lovell, Ph.D. - State University of New York at Buffalo
2014 - Kimberly M. Stroka, Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
2013 - Susan N. Thomas, Ph.D. - Georgia Tech
2012 - Christian Metallo, Ph.D. - University of California – San Diego
2011 - Jordan Green, Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
2010 - Cynthia Reinhart-King, Ph.D. - Cornell University
2009 - Jonathan T. Butcher, Ph.D. - Cornell University
2008 - Adam Engler, Ph.D. - University of California -  San Diego
2007 - Michael R. Diehl, Ph.D. - Rice University
2006 - Kaven A. Janes, Ph.D. - University of Virginia
2005 - Jan P. Stegemann, Ph.D. - University of Michigan
2004 - Shayn M. Peirce, Ph.D. - University of Virginia
2003 - Melissa J. Mahoney - University of Colorado
2002 - Thomas J. Webster, Ph.D. - Brown University
2001 - Melody A. Swartz, Ph.D. - Northwestern University
2000 - David V. Schaffer, Ph.D. - University to California - Berkeley

Application Requirements
  1. NIH-formatted bio-sketch (5-page maximum) clearly highlighting examples of research independence.
  2. A one-page research statement highlighting examples that demonstrate his/her ability to become a successful, independent PI and highlight up to three research manuscripts that the applicant has published (or is in press) as an independent PI. In the research statement, it is recommended that the applicant submit information on three publications. However, applicants with less than three manuscripts can also apply if their manuscript or manuscripts is/are very high impact. The research statement should include a publicly available link to these published manuscripts selected by the applicant. If the manuscript is not publicly available, it should be attached to the application. Applicants should use no more than 500 words for their research statement.
  3. Two letters of support. One by the Department Chair, and the second by a recognized authority in the field (this letter should not be from a former mentor, nor from anyone at the applicant's institution). These letters should attest to the significance of the work generated by the applicant's laboratory as an independent PI. The letters of support should be no longer than two pages and be uploaded directly to this application.
  4. BMES Service Summary: The applicant should include a paragraph summary highlighting their participation within the Society. 
Award Eligibility
The Award is in recognition of a high level of originality and ingenuity in scientific work in biomedical engineering as an early stage, independent PI. The applicant must be:
  • Within seven years of completing his/her highest degree at the time of award nomination submission. Approved leave (maternity, paternity, elder care, etc.) does not count towards the seven-year limit.
  • A tenure track faculty member at the Assistant Professor level at the time of award submission.

Service to BMES
The Applicant must be a BMES member in good standing with demonstrated participation within the Society such as serving on a Committee or assisting with the Annual BMES Meeting (Abstract reviewer, session chair, etc.). The applicant should list two situations where they have actively participated in the Society. 

Selection Criteria
The selection of the Award recipient will largely be based on the review of up to three published manuscripts describing original, independent work. The candidate must be the corresponding/senior author, or co-corresponding/co-senior author on all submitted work. Manuscript(s) may include Ph.D. and or post-doctoral mentors as authors, but the applicant must be clear how this work is independent of their previous mentor's research. The candidate must briefly state (in their research statement) why the manuscript(s) is significant and noteworthy in their respective field. While the research statement is of greatest value in determining the award recipient, applicants should also work to include a strong BMES service statement, NIH formatted bio-sketch showing clear examples of research independence, and a strong letter of support from their department chair. 

Award and Honorarium
The winner will receive a crystal plaque, complimentary registration for the annual meeting, and an honorarium for $5,000.

**The Awards Committee will screen all nominations, critically evaluate the nominee's records, and submit its recommendation to the BMES Executive Committee for approval. 

Make sure your application meets all the requirements stated above. 

Award nomination submissions will reopen in February 2021.

For questions, please contact membership@bmes.org.