Excellent mentorship and training are critical to the development of exceptional future scientists. To recognize the contributions and importance of outstanding mentors, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has established the NINDS Landis Mentorship Award. This annual award is named in honor of former NINDS Director Dr. Story Landis. An extraordinary individual mentor, Dr. Landis generously provided her time and energy to support countless scientific investigators as they navigated the professional landscape of biomedical research.
Each year, NINDS will select up to five (5) Landis Awardees from among faculty members who have shown dedication to superior mentorship and training in neuroscience research. Awardees will receive $100,000 (direct costs), in the form of a supplement to an existing NINDS grant, to support their efforts to foster the career advancement of additional trainees. NINDS hopes this tangible award will impress upon the scientific community as a whole, and faculty and institutional leaders in particular, the high value NINDS places on training and mentorship. Further, NINDS hopes that it encourages institutions to reward individuals not only for outstanding research accomplishments but also for their impact on the lives of others, and the future of neuroscience, through outstanding mentorship and training.
Selection for this award will be based on first-hand knowledge of an individual’s influence as a mentor. Current or former trainees can nominate faculty members who served as their mentors, and nominees will then be invited to submit additional supporting information (note: faculty members should NOT solicit nominations for themselves or others who were not their direct mentors). Because outstanding mentors exist across career stages, NINDS will rotate annual requests for nominations for junior, mid-career, and senior faculty.
NINDS will consider a number of characteristics that define outstanding mentorship to guide the final selection of Landis Awardees. These include:
- actively cultivating in mentees the pursuit of scientific excellence, whether in basic, translational, or clinical research, and rigor in experimental design, analysis, and interpretation;
- investing in their mentee’s scientific and professional development and career progress, regardless of their ultimate career interest;
- contributing to excellence in research training environments and strengthening the research enterprise by inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds both in their own research environment and more broadly (such as at the institutional, scientific society, and/or national level); and
- challenging mentees to achieve their full scientific potential, which includes the completion of significant research projects and meaningful contributions to the biomedical research community.
To nominate a current or former mentor, individuals should complete a nomination form by December 15, 2023.
- Each award is $100,000 direct cost, in the form of an administrative supplement
- Up to 5 awards per year
- Awards made once per year
- Only tenure track or equivalent faculty are eligible for consideration.
- Candidates must have an active NINDS R01, R35, U01, U54, P01, DP1, DP2 or equivalent, 4-5 year duration NINDS award, with at least one year left on their grant in June 2024.
- Candidates from 3 different career stages will be considered in different years:
- 2018, 2021, 2024: Junior Faculty: Candidates who are in years 5 – 12 from the start of their first tenure-track or equivalent faculty position
- 2019, 2022: Mid-Career Faculty: Candidates who are in years 13 - 20 from the start of their first tenure-track or equivalent faculty position
- 2020, 2023: Senior Faculty: Candidates who are more than 20 years from the start of their first tenure-track or equivalent faculty position
Nomination, application and award process
A Notice will be published that solicits nominations for NINDS Landis Award Candidates. Individuals will be entered into consideration when two (2) or more former or current trainees submit nominations that describe why the candidate should be considered for the award. Nominations should briefly describe what makes the nominated individual an outstanding mentor. Nominations must include specific information on professional interactions between the nominator and nominee and the career activities and/or decisions of the nominating individual that relate to mentorship and training received from the nominee. Nominations may also include any first-hand knowledge of other activities that speak to why the nominee should be considered for a prestigious mentorship award. Specific required components of nominations will be listed in the published Notice and on the Nomination Form.
NOT NS-24-026 was published on October 20, 2023. For 2024, NINDS invites nominations of outstanding mentors who are 5-12 years from the start of their first tenure-track or equivalent faculty position (i.e., the start date of their first tenure-track or equivalent faculty position was between 2011-2018 inclusive).
NINDS will send a request to eligible individuals who have been nominated according to the guidelines, asking for:
- A statement of mentoring approach and philosophy
- A CV
- Two representative publications (pdf) that demonstrate scientific rigor/quality
- A list of all current and former trainees and a brief description of trainee accomplishments
- Letters of recommendations for this award from up to ten current and/or former trainees. If more than ten letters are received, only the first ten to arrive will be included in the application package that is sent out for review.
NINDS will make award recommendations to the NINDS Council, based on:
- Letters of recommendation from trainees
- Assessment of factors described in the introduction above
- Trainee outcomes (when applicable)
Candidate(s) chosen for the award will submit an administrative supplement request for $100,000, with a description of how the funds will be used. The funds must be used in a way that directly supports the advancement of one or more trainees towards an independent research career. The supplemental funds may be used for support of current or additional trainees, trainee career development activities (e.g. short courses, trainee travel for the purposes of research presentations, etc.) or research supplies that directly benefit trainees in the laboratory. The funds cannot be used to purchase equipment or for PI salary.
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