Call for Nominations 2021 – Research Prize

About the Prize 

The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize awards outstanding scientific contributions of individuals from all scholarly disciplines aiming at improving learning, development, and living conditions of children and youth. This includes, but is not limited to, educational sciences, psychology, economics, sociology, family studies, media studies, political sciences, linguistics, neurosciences, computer sciences, and medical sciences.

The prize is endowed with 1 Mio. Swiss Francs, of which 900’000 Swiss Francs are for use in a research project and 100’000 Swiss Francs are for related costs, such as travel, networking, and dissemination. The Jacobs Foundation invites experts in research on learning, children, and youth worldwide to nominate candidates. The prize will be awarded to a well-respected, outstanding researcher conducting groundbreaking research on learning and development of children and youth. It addresses scholars from all countries who have achieved major breakthroughs in understanding, learning, learning variability, and/or child and youth development, and at the same time have the potential to advance the field by actively conducting research. Self-nominations cannot be accepted.

A Prize Jury, consisting of internationally renowned scientists, will choose the laureate from the pool of nominated candidates. The Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize is awarded every other year in odd years. In even years, the Jacobs Foundation bestows a Best Practice Prize rewarding exceptional commitment of institutions or individuals who put into practice innovative solutions in the fields of learning and child and youth development.

Laureates to date:

2009: Laurence Steinberg (Temple University) for his research on the psychopathology, risk-taking and decision-making behavior of young people

2010: Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi (Duke University and King’s College London) for their research into the interplay between genetic disposition and environmental influences in the development of children and youth

2011: Michael Tomasello (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology) for his research on the identification of uniquely human forms of collaboration, communication and cultural learning

2012: Dante Cicchetti (University of Minnesota) for his research on the developmental consequences of child maltreatment and on resilience as a dynamic developmental process

2013: Greg Duncan (University of California, Irvine) for his interdisciplinary research on the long-term consequences of childhood poverty for life chances in adulthood

2014: Michael Meaney (McGill University, Montreal) for his research on the mechanisms for how parental care becomes embedded in children’s biology

2015: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (University College London) for her research on understanding emotional and social brain development during adolescence

2016: Orazio Attanasio (University College London) for his use of economic models and field experiments to assess and shape early child development programs and policies in low income countries

2017: Paul Bloom (Yale University) for his research into the origins, nature, and development of children’s moral thought and behavior

2019: Daphne Bavelier (Geneva University) for her research on promoting brain plasticity and learning by leveraging action video games.

All documents pertaining to the nomination should be submitted online by 14 March 2021. Incomplete nominations or documents received after this date cannot be considered. A complete nomination is composed of:

  • completed nomination form
  • 2 page nomination letter including an appraisal of the academic accomplishments of the nominee, making clear what the nominee’s scientific breakthroughs have been and how the nominee would bring distinction to the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize
  • nominee’s CV including the full list of publications as well as evide nce of his or her scientific leadership
  • information regarding possible future academic plans, fields of interest, and aspirations of the nominee

A bibliometric analysis of the research performance will be an integral part of the assessment process, thus the provision of a full list of publications is crucial for a nomination to be considered.

Please submit your nomination using the Nomination Form.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact Carmen Siller under or under

The Jacobs Foundation is one of the world’s leading charitable foundations dedicated to improving the living conditions of children and youth. The Foundation was established in 1989 by Klaus J. Jacobs and his family in an effort to benefit future generations by providing young people with better opportunities for development, so that they can become productive and socially responsible members of society.

As a research informed organization, we base funding decisions on solid evidence and enable systemic change through comprehensive approaches.

In the years 2021–2030 our work is structured around the core focus of understanding and embracing variability in learning during the early years (ages 2-12) and early transitions. Our approach is designed to foster learning from evidence to action to systems across diverse contexts.

Our portfolios are structured along three interwoven dimensions of learning—Learning Minds, Learning Schools, and Learning Societies—that form the bedrock of our 2030 strategy.

Learning Minds: A multi-disciplinary community of the most innovative researchers strengthens the global research and evidence base and shapes the future of learning and development.

Learning Schools: A strengthened community of school leaders learns together, collaborates and leverages resources to codify and replicate evidence-informed school practices across global contexts.

Learning Societies: In each target country, a community of change leaders drives systemic change together, by integrating evidence, learning, resources and advocacy.

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