Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in partnership with Rockefeller University and Weill Cornell Medical College, has announced the launch of a new annual prize designed to support the next generation of life scientists.
Each year, the Tri-Institutional Breakout Awards for Junior Investigators will be given up to six outstanding postdoctoral students in the life sciences, with each recipient receiving a $25,000 cash stipend. One prize will be awarded to an applicant from each of the founding institutions, with additional awards to be given to the best candidates, regardless of their institutional affiliations.
The prize was initiated by three winners of last year's Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, a program established by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Art Levinson, Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and Yuri Milner to recognize "excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life." Through the program, eleven winners each received $3 million to “advance breakthrough research, celebrate scientists, and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career."
To create the new award, Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering; Cornelia I. Bargmann, Ph.D., of Rockefeller University; and Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., of Weill Cornell, have committed a portion of their Breakthrough Prize money to a $3 million endowment fund, which also will include financial commitments made by each of their respective institutions. The inaugural winners of the award will be announced later this year.
"By establishing the Tri-Institutional Breakout Awards, we hope to stimulate young scientists at the start of their careers," said Sawyers. "I am grateful to the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation for raising the level of recognition for the life sciences community, and I hope that by creating an award for postdoctoral scholars, we can contribute to furthering that vision."