Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science

2019 Winners

The 2019 Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science have been presented to neuroscientist Professor Vidita Vaidya and aerospace and fluid dynamics scientist Professor Roddam Narasimha

This year’s Nature awards for mentorship in science were presented in Delhi on 9 December 2019. The first award was for mid-career mentoring achievement and went to Vidita Vaidya, professor at the Tata Institute of fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai. The second award, for lifetime achievement in mentoring, was presented to Roddam Narasimha who is currently professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), and concurrently holds a position at the University of Hyderabad. Each winner received a cash prize of Rs700,00 (US$9,800), a certificate and a trophy.

Vidita Vaidya’s work focuses on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the neurobiology of depression. She has studied and worked in India, the US, Sweden and the UK before taking up a position at TIFR in 2000. Alongside her research she has been involved in mentoring many students.

“I would not be doing science if it were not for Professor Vaidya’s instruction and guidance. She was the first person in my life to be a generous mentor and demonstrated faith in my ability,” commented one mentee.

Vidita Vaidya said: “One of the biggest joys in science is the sharing of “oh, wow” moments of discovery. However, those moments don’t come that often, so a key part of mentoring is to provide the support to navigate the in-built failure and disappointment that is also a part of the scientific discovery process.”

Throughout his long career, Roddam Narasimha has been closely associated with aerospace technology development in India at both technical and policy-making levels. After studying in India he completed his PhD at Caltech in the US, and has held many visiting research positions around the world. His mentees speak highly of his inclusive approach that allowed others to express their views.

“He is completely free of biases and encouraged diversity decades before it was known by this term,” said one of his mentees.

Roddam Narashimha said: “All I can say is that I try to understand every student I have: his or her abilities, tastes, passion, commitment, excitement after understanding something, desire to pursue new paths or device new techniques. I do my best to encourage them.”

Nature congratulates both of this year’s exceptional winners.


Of all the activities that take place in the lab, perhaps the least remarked upon and the least rewarded is that of the mentorship of young researchers. This is why in 2005 Nature launched its annual awards for outstanding scientific mentorship. The awards focus on a specific country or region each year.

Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science 2019 – India

For its annual awards for science mentorship in 2019, Nature invites nominations of outstanding scientific mentors from the Republic of India. Two prizes of Rs700,000 will be awarded, one for a mid-career mentor and one for a life-time of achievement in mentoring.

2019 Shortlists

Mid-Career Achievement

Prof SP Arun

Prof NG Prasad

Prof Shubha Tole

Prof Vidita Vaidya

Lifetime Achievement

Prof Dipankar Das Sarma

Dr Shahid Jameel

Prof Roddam Narasimha

Previous awards

Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science – South of the United States (2018)

For its annual awards for science mentorship in 2018, Nature invites nominations of outstanding scientific mentors from the South of the United States, as defined by the US Census Bureau. Two prizes of $10,000 will be awarded, one for a mid-career mentor and one for a life-time achievement in mentoring.


  • Nominees for an award may be working in any discipline within the natural sciences.
  • Nominees should be currently working in: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.


  • Nominees may be nominated by colleagues and ex-colleagues or nominate themselves.
  • Nominations for a candidate must include independent testimonials by five researchers (no more or less) mentored by their nominee, not all over the same period.
  • Nominations will only be accepted as one complete package, which must include:
  1. Nomination package form: to be completed by the principal nominator
  2. Nomination forms: completed by five researchers mentored by their nominee, not all over the same period
  3. Nominee form: to be completed by the nominee, accompanied by a one page CV
  • Complete nomination packages should sent by email to
  • The closing date for nominations is Monday 30 July 2018.

Chair of the judges: Susan Wente, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Judging panel:

  • Meredith LeMasurier - Nature, Executive Editor, Nature life sciences journals
  • Frances E. Lund - University of Alabama,  Birmingham, Alabama
  • W. Gregory Sawyer - University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • Kim Cobb - Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia


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The 2018 awards –  Southern U.S.

Joint-recipients of the lifetime achievement award: Jorge Alberto López (University of Texas at El Paso) & Isiah Warner (Louisiana State University)                                                              Joint-recipients of the mid-career achievement award: Kjersti Aagaard (Baylor College of Medicine) & Anita Corbett (Emory University)

Nature coverage

The 2017 awards –  Spain


Nature is withdrawing a 2017 mentoring prize awarded to Carlos López-Otín, a molecular biologist at the University of Oviedo in Spain. Following concerns reported to Nature after the announcement of the 2017 Nature Awards for Mentoring in Science, an assessment of papers co-authored by López-Otín has identified image-integrity issues. The withdrawal of the award is a reflection of the judges’ opinion that high-quality mentorship in a laboratory should not lead to such significant issues. It is not a judgement of the overall calibre of López-Otín’s research. 

Joint-recipients of the lifetime achievement award: Carlos Belmonte (founding Director of the Institute of Neuroscience of Alicante) & Margarita Salas (former Director of the CSIC Centre for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa)
Joint-recipients of the mid-career achievement award: Carlos López-Otín (University of Oviedo) & Lluís Torner (founding Director of the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona)

Nature coverage

The 2016 awards – US West Coast (Washington, Oregon and California)

Lifetime achievement award: Julie Overbaugh (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
Mid-career award: Susan L. Forsburg (The University of Southern California)
2016 award page
Nature coverage

The 2015 awards – China
Northern China

Lifetime achievement award (joint winners): Xuetao Cao (Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) & Xingwang Deng (Peking University)
Mid-career award: Yigong Shi (Tsinghua University)
Southern China
Lifetime achievement award: Hongyuan Chen (Institute of Analytical Science and Nanjing University)
Mid-career award: Hongbing Shu (Wuhan University)
2015 award page
Nature coverage

2014 awards – Ireland and Northern Ireland
Lifetime achievement (joint winners): Cliona O'Farrelly (Trinity College Dublin) & Martin Clynes (Dublin City University)
Mid-career award: Cormac Taylor (University College Dublin)
2014 award page
Nature coverage

2013 awards – Italy
Lifetime achievement (joint winners): Giorgio Parisi (University of Rome I, La Sapienza) & Vincenzo Balzani (University of Bologna)
Mid-career award: Michela Matteoli (University of Milan)
2013 award page

2012 awards – Nordic Countries
Lifetime achievement: Staffan Normark (The Royal Swedish Academy of Science)
Mid-career award (joint winners): Jens Nielsen (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden) & Anders Hagfeldt (Uppsala Universitet)
2012 award page
Nature coverage

The 2011 awards – France
Lifetime achievement: Jean Rossier (ESPCI ParisTech, Paris) & Moshe Yaniv (Pasteur Institute, Paris)
Mid-career award: Barbara Demeneix (UMR CNRS Evolution des Régulations Endocriniennes, Paris)
2011 award page
Nature coverage

The 2010 awards – Canada
Lifetime achievement: Chris Wood (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario)
Mid-career award: John Smol (Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario)
2010 award page
Nature coverage

2009 Awards – Japan
Lifetime achievement: Fumio Oosawa (Aiichi Institute of Technology)
Mid-career award: Hiroaki Kitano (Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc.)
2009 award page
Nature coverage

2008 Awards – Germany
Lifetime achievement (joint winners): Klaas Bergmann (Technical University of Kaiserslautern) and Heinrich Betz (Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt)
Mid-career award: Peer Bork (European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg)
2008 award page
Nature coverage

2007 Awards – South Africa
Lifetime achievement: Professor Barry Fabian (University of the Witwatersrand)
Mid-career award: Professor Charles de Koning (University of the Witwatersrand)
2007 award page
Nature coverage

2006 Awards – United Kingdom and Australasia

United Kingdom
Lifetime achievement (joint winners): Andrew McMichael (Wetherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford) and Godfrey Hewitt (University of East Anglia)
Mid-career award: Steve Watson (University of Birmingham)
2006 (UK) award page
Nature coverage

Lifetime achievement: Professor Tom Healy (University of Melbourne)
Mid-career award: Professor Rachel Webster (University of Melbourne)
2006 (Australasia) award page
Nature coverage

2005 Awards – United Kingdom
Lifetime achievement: Tom Kibble (Imperial College, London)
Mid-career award: Innes Cuthill (University of Bristol)
2005 award page
Nature coverage

Related Articles
Mentoring and networking: how to make it work
Nature's guide for mentors
In search of the super–mentor
Mentoring mismatch
Learning to mentor

Related links

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