The Rising Black Scientists Awards expand to the physical sciences with key support from the Elsevier Foundation

Published: Thursday 15th September 2022

Support from the Elsevier Foundation makes possible two new recipients of the award in the physical, earth, environmental, or data sciences.

Cell Press and Cell Signaling Technology (CST) have partnered with the Elsevier Foundation to expand the reach of the Rising Black Scientists Awards to the physical, earth and environmental, and data sciences. The awards were originally created in 2020 to break down barriers and create opportunities by providing visibility and funds to support talented Black scientists in the life or medical sciences on their career journey.

By joining the partnership, the Elsevier Foundation enables the selection of two additional winners each year: an undergraduate and a graduate student/post-doctoral fellow in the physical, earth and environmental, or data sciences, in addition to the undergraduate and graduate student/post-doctoral fellow awards previously given in the life or medical sciences.

Submissions for the expanded third annual awards open on September 15, 2022.

“Investing in inclusion and diversity is an investment in all science—with this new partnership, we can listen to and reflect on more stories from young Black scholars, and in turn lift them up,” says Anne Kitson, Managing Director, Cell Press and the Lancet. “We hope announcing the winners of the awards each February becomes a long-standing tradition.”

“It is our privilege to build on the important work that Cell Press and CST began two years ago,” says Ylann Schemm, Executive Director, the Elsevier Foundation. “Creating opportunities for recognition, visibility, and role modeling is essential for supporting excellence and sending an important message to future generations.  The Rising Black Scientists Awards partnership is part of the Foundation’s larger effort to support underrepresented early-career researchers and create a more inclusive research ecosystem.”

In recognition of the fact that success in science is driven not only by a combination of talent and motivation but also access to a strong support network and opportunities, winners of the award will each receive $10,000 to support their research and a $500 travel grant. Four honorable mentions—one undergraduate and one graduate student/post-doctoral fellow for both the life or medical sciences and for the physical, earth and environmental, or data sciences—will be recognized and will each receive $500.

The winning essays will also be published in a leading Cell Press journal. While previous winners’ essays were published in Cell, future winners will have the option to choose between Cell and a selection of Cell Press journals. Publishing options will include journals whose scope aligns with their essay and area of expertise to provide visibility within their research community.

To be considered for the award, applicants are asked to submit an original essay of no more than 750 words sharing the story of their scientific journey. The essays are evaluated based on scientific vision, community involvement, narrative quality, creativity, and clarity by a panel of Cell Press editors and academic advisors composed of leading Black voices in the scientific community. No prior publication record is required.

Previous winners of the award include Elle Lett, PhD, of the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania for her essay, “Science as a tool for justice;” Charleese Williams of Georgia State University for her essay, “We like neurons;” Chrystal Starbird, PhD, of Yale University for her essay, “Transforming myself and academia for good;” and Olufolakemi “Fola” Olusanya of Howard University for her essay, “Still we rise.”

The full press release is also available on the Cell Press website: “The Rising Black Scientists Awards expand to the physical sciences