BMES 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 estate gift — along with contributions from her family, friends, and associates — enabled BMES to create this award.
Each year, BMES offers the Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award to stimulate research careers in biomedical engineering. The award recipient will deliver a 20-minute lecture at the BMES Annual Meeting in the fall and publish an article in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.

BMES Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award Recipients 
2023 - Shreya Raghavan, PhD - Texas A&M University
2022 - Erika Moore, PhD - University of Florida

2021 - Gregg Duncan, PhD - University of Maryland
2020 - Abigail Koppes, PhD - Northeastern University
2019 - James Dahlman, PhD - Georgia Institute of Technology
2018 - Emily Day, PhD - University of Deleware
2017 - Craig Goergen, PhD- Purdue University
2016 - Jennifer Munson, PhD - University of Virginia
2015 - Jonathan F. Lovell, PhD - State University of New York at Buffalo
2014 - Kimberly M. Stroka, PhD - Johns Hopkins University
2013 - Susan N. Thomas, PhD - Georgia Tech
2012 - Christian Metallo, PhD - University of California – San Diego
2011 - Jordan Green, PhD - Johns Hopkins University
2010 - Cynthia Reinhart-King, PhD - Cornell University
2009 - Jonathan T. Butcher, PhD - Cornell University
2008 - Adam Engler, PhD - University of California -  San Diego
2007 - Michael R. Diehl, PhD - Rice University
2006 - Kaven A. Janes, PhD - University of Virginia
2005 - Jan P. Stegemann, PhD - University of Michigan
2004 - Shayn M. Peirce, PhD - University of Virginia
2003 - Melissa J. Mahoney - University of Colorado
2002 - Thomas J. Webster, PhD - Brown University
2001 - Melody A. Swartz, PhD - Northwestern University
2000 - David V. Schaffer, PhD - University to California - Berkeley

Application Requirements

1. NIH-formatted bio-sketch (not to exceed five pages) highlighting clear examples of research independence.
2. A one-page research statement (not to exceed 500 words) highlighting examples of the nominee's ability to become a successful, independent PI and why the significance of their manuscript(s) are noteworthy in their respective field. 

  • We recommend that the nominee provide up to three research manuscripts that the applicant has published (or is in press). However, nominees with less than three publications can also apply if their manuscript(s) had a high impact.
  • The research statement should include a publicly available link to these published manuscripts selected by the nominee. If the manuscript is not publicly available, it should be attached to the application.

3. Two letters of support — one letter should be by the Department Chair, and the second by a recognized authority in the field. These letters should attest to the significance of the nominee's laboratory work as an independent PI. 

  • These letters should be no longer than two pages each. The second letter should not be from a former mentor or anyone at the applicant's institution.

4. The nominee should include a strong service statement highlighting their participation with BMES by providing two instances where they actively participated (i.e., serving on a committee, abstract reviewer, session chair, etc.) (not to exceed one page).

Award Eligibility

The award recognizes 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 their highest degree at the time of award nomination submission. Approved leave (e.g., maternity, paternity, or elder care) does not count towards the seven-year limit.
  • A tenure track faculty member at the Assistant Professor level at the time of award submission. 
  • A BMES member in good standing with demonstrated participation in the Society.
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 award committee selects the award recipient primarily on the review of up to three published manuscripts describing original, independent work. The nominee must be the corresponding/senior author or co-corresponding/co-senior author on all submitted work. The manuscript(s) may include PhD or post-doctoral mentors as authors, but the nominee must be clear about how this work is independent of their previous mentor's research.

Award Rubric

To view the award rubric, please click here.

Award and Honorarium

The winner will receive a trophy, complimentary registration for the annual meeting, where they will present their lecture, and an honorarium of $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. 

For questions, please contact