UCL Research Domains


Early Career Neuroscience Prize

The 2020 Early Career Neuroscience Prize for 2020 is closed. Applications will open again in the new year. 

Each year the UCL Neuroscience Domain presents the Early Career Neuroscience Prize to two UCL neuroscientists. The prize aims to recognise outstanding work published in the past year by early career UCL neuroscientists in any field of neuroscience, and is awarded in two categories; junior scientist and advanced scientist. 

Submissions via email to Maya Sapir - m.sapir@ucl.ac.uk

The competition is open to all UCL PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and junior Principal Investigators (first position as PI, lecturer, or research fellow and within 10 years of receipt of a PhD or MD) working on any aspect of neuroscience. 

Nominees are expected to have led a ground-breaking piece of work, which they have published (online or in print) as first author in a peer-reviewed journal between 1 January 2019 and 1 March 2020. The research should have been conducted at UCL. (Papers accepted/ in press before deadline of 1 March will also be eligible for inclusion if accompanied by confirmation of acceptance from the Journal).

Winners receive a prize of £750 and are given the opportunity to present their work at the annual UCL Neuroscience Symposium.

Assessment criteria 

Nominations will be judged by an internal expert panel according to the following criteria:

  1. Calibre of publication, originality and potential impact on its field
  2. Nominee’s involvement in that paper


Nominations will be assessed in two groups. Two prizes will be awarded and both winners will be asked to present their work at the symposium:

  • PhD student – Junior postdoc (up to 3 years post-PhD)
  • Senior Postdoc (+3 years post-PhD)– Junior PI (<10 years post-PhD experience)

Candidates should self-nominate. Nominations must include the following documentation:

  1. A supporting statement from the nominee, providing a brief summary of the research (in language accessible to a broad range of neuroscientists), the significance of the work and potential impact on its field together with a description of the nominee’s involvement (must not exceed one page of A4/500 words). Nominees should also indicate which of the two groups above they fall into.
  2. The publication to be considered in pdf format
  3. A list of up to 5 of your own relevant publications that support the nomination
  4. Confirmation of impending publication by the Journal (only applicable if article accepted but not yet published)
  5. A talk title for your presentation  (in the event you are successful and are chosen to present)
  6. A biography (maximum 100 words) and photo (high resolution) to be included in the event programme if you win

Winners must be available to attend the 2020 UCL Neuroscience Symposium on Friday 26 June and be prepared to give a 15 minute presentation of their work. Only one application per individual is allowed.

Deadline for submission of nominations is 5pm, Monday 16 March 2020.

Submissions via email to Maya Sapir – m.sapir@ucl.ac.uk

2020 Early Career Neuroscience Prize winners

Junior Category: Yunzhe Liu, Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research

Winning Paper : Human replay spontaneously reorganizes experience. Yunzhe Liu, Raymond J. Dolan, Zeb Kurth-Nelson, and Timothy E.J. Behrens. Cell (2019); 178(3): 640–652 

Advanced Category: Dr Dimitar Kostadinov, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, UCL

Winning Paper - Predictive and reactive reward signals conveyed by climbing fiber inputs to cerebellar Purkinje cells. Dimitar Kostadinov , Maxime Beau , Marta Blanco-Pozo , and Michael Häusser. Nature Neuroscience (2019), 22: 950-962 

2019 Early Career Neuroscience Prize winners

Junior Category: Dominic Evans and Vanessa Stempel, UCL Sainsbury Wellcome Centre

Winning Paper - A synaptic threshold mechanism for computing escape decisions. Evans DA, Stempel AV, Vale R, Ruehle S, Lefler Y, Branco T. Nature. 2018 Jun; 558(7711):590-594

Advanced Category: Nathan Skene, UCL Institute of Neurology

Winning Paper - Genetic identification of brain cell types underlying schizophrenia. Skene NG, Bryois J, Bakken TE, Breen G, Crowley JJ, Gaspar HA, Giusti-Rodriguez P, Hodge RD, Miller JA, Muñoz-Manchado AB, O’Donovan MC, Owen MJ, Pardiñas AF, Ryge J, Walters JTR, Linnarsson S, Lein ES; Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, Sullivan PF, Hjerling-Leffler J. Nature Genetics. 2018 Jun; 50(6):825-833 

Trevor with Dominic and Vanessa
Trevor with Nathan Skene
Dominic Evans and Vanessa Stempel, the 2019 Junior Prize Winners receive their certificates from Professor Trevor Smart, UCL Neuroscience Domain Chair.Nathan Skene, the 2019 Advanced Prize Winner receives his certificate from Professor Trevor Smart, UCL Neuroscience Domain Chair.
2018 Early Career Neuroscience Prize winners

Junior Category: Anna Krasnow,  UCL Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology

Winning Paper - Regulation of developing myelin sheath elongation by oligodendrocyte calcium transients in vivo. Krasnow AM, Ford MC, Valdivia LE, Wilson SW, Atwell D. Nature Neuroscience. 2018 Jan; 21(1):24-28

Advanced Category: Dr Rebecca Lawson, UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging

Winning Paper - Adults with autism overestimate the volatility of the sensory environment. Lawson RP, Mathys C, Rees G. Nature Neuroscience. 2017 Sept; 20(9): 1293-1299

ECN Prize Winner Anna Krasnow
ECN Prize Winner Rebecca Lawson
Anna Krasnow, the 2018 Junior Prize Winner receives her certificate from Professor Trevor Smart, UCL Neuroscience Domain Chair.Dr Rebecca Lawson, the 2018 Advanced Prize Winners receives her certificate from Professor Trevor Smart, UCL Neuroscience Domain Chair.