The Elisa Izaurralde Award for Innovation in Research, Teaching, and Service

Elisa Izaurralde was a multidisciplinary RNA biologist and former director of the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. She passed away in April 2018, and this award honors her passion, scientific rigor, intellectual fearlessness and wholehearted dedication to her work, her group, and her collaborators. She was an extraordinary role model who provided exceptional mentoring; conveying high standards of excellence and a supportive, can-do attitude to all who interacted with her. 

The Elisa Izaurralde Award will sustain the Society’s mission to foster research and education in the field of RNA science by providing a prestigious prize to early career researchers pursuing or using innovative approaches in research, teaching or service. The award is open to all researchers. Applicants who come from non-traditional educational backgrounds from under-represented groups in the society, or from areas outside of the traditional scientific concentrations in the RNA research community are particularly encouraged to apply. 

In brief, the award is a single annual prestigious cash prize of $20,000 USD that the winner can use in any manner they deem appropriate and supportive of their career aspirations. In addition, the awardee will be invited to give a talk at the RNA Society’s annual meeting, with their registration, hotel and travel expenses paid for by the Society. 

  • Applications are open to all early career RNA Society members. An early-career scientist is considered someone who is 5-15 years post-PhD who holds an independent research position at an academic institution. (Join here now)
  • Applicant must have demonstrated an innovative mindset or approach to research, teaching, or service–and most ideally to more than one of those areas.
  • Applicant must be a person who acts in a manner that honors Elisa's legacy and support of the scientific community. This individual is always engaged and asking questions at the meeting, enabling the development of the next generation of scientists, and being a great scientific collaborator to colleagues -someone who makes a positive impact on the RNA community.


Application Process

Both self-nominations and nominations of others are welcome and encouraged. Nominations must include a complete CV of the candidate, and a letter of nomination that clearly and briefly addresses the three bullet points above. The person nominated will also be asked to submit a one-page research or vision plan and a second page addressing the importance of the RNA Society or the greater RNA community in their work. Additional letters of support are welcome but not required. 

The award will be granted without regard to race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, or presence of disabilities.

Click here to Apply Online

Application Deadline

Only completed applications submitted by September 30, 2023 will be considered. 

Further information 

Email [email protected] for any questions about this award

Previous Winners:

Lori Passmore (2020), Gene Yeo (2021), Luisa Cochella (2022), Amanda Hargrove (2023), Stefanie Jonas (2024)