Trailblazer Prize for Clinician Scientists - Frequently Asked Questions

Trailblazer Prize Frequently Asked Questions

  • Process
  • Online Form
  • Nomination Content
  • Eligibility
  • Specific to U.S. Government Employees


Where can I find a description of the Trailblazer Prize?

On the FNIH website:

Where can I find the online nomination form?

Go to the Trailblazer Prize page on the FNIH website ( and look for “Submit a Nomination” at the top of the page. Click the button labeled “1 Candidate” if you are nominating one person for the prize. Click the button labeled “Team of 2 Candidates” if you are nominating a team of two people for the prize. 

May I submit a nomination via email or post?

No, all nominations must be submitted via the online form, which can be accessed from the Trailblazer Prize page on the FNIH website (

May I nominate myself?


Is a Word document version of the nomination form available?

Yes, from within the online nomination form. Click the link labeled “Nomination Form in Word” toward the top right-hand corner of the screen. This document is provided as a convenience to you as you draft the nomination and may not be submitted in place of the online form. If you prefer to write your nomination offline, you may then cut and paste text into the online form.

May I discuss my nomination with a juror?

No. It is unacceptable to contact any member of the Trailblazer Prize jury to ask about or discuss any aspect of the prize. The nomination submitted by any nominator or for any candidate who does this will be withdrawn from the competition. All questions should be addressed to directly.

Will you accept multiple nominations for one candidate?


May I nominate more than one candidate?



The FNIH has migrated the application software to Survey Monkey Apply (SMApply). Please be aware that e-mails will be coming to you from SMApply.

Will I need an SMApply account to submit a nomination? 

Yes, and you will need to verify your email address with SMApply to continue. For help on completing the application please visit the SM Apply FAQ page:

I created an account for FNIH applications in a previous year. Can I reuse it?

We upgraded our software to SMApply in 2020. If you applied in 2020 using SMApply, you may reuse your account. If you applied before 2019, you will need to create an account.

I am a Nominator, but the form is calling me an “Applicant?” 

  The “Applicant” is the nominator. The “Candidate” is your nominee.

I have already started a nomination. Can I give someone else access to complete it and submit it online?

Yes, if you have created an account, saved the nomination, and have NOT submitted the nomination, you may give them your user name and password to complete the nomination. 

The website looks odd, logos cover texts, etc... Can you fix it?

This is a browser issue. You will need to switch your browser to Google Chrome. That is the optimal viewing browser for SMApply.

I submitted my nomination by mistake before completing it! How do I get it back?

Send an email to requesting for it to be reversed. If the request was sent more than 48 hours until the nomination deadline, the application will be reversed so you may access it. You will need to re-submit the application when it is complete. It will only be able to be reversed one time. 

I accidentally deleted the nomination! Can you re-store it for me?

Unfortunately, if you delete your nomination on purpose or by accident, it will not be stored in the system and will not be retrievable at all. You are welcome to start a new nomination. Our suggestion is that once you start your application to download it as you pause through the process. 

I am having a different technical problem with the online form. How can I get help?

Send an email to and we will be in touch as soon as possible. Please include your phone number in the message. We strongly encourage nominators to visit the online form prior to the submission deadline to avoid any last-minute problems.


What do you mean by “a 50-word citation of the basis for nomination”?

The 50-word citation is a concise statement of the candidate's fitness for this prize. It should describe why he or she deserves this unique recognition as an outstanding early career clinician-scientist.

Do you want/accept letters of support from third parties?

Yes. Up to three brief letters (no more than two pages each) of support that specifically address the nominees’ accomplishments are encouraged. Letters submitted exceeding the 2-page limit will not be included in the review process.

May letters of support be submitted separately from the online nomination?

No. Brief letters of support must be uploaded as part of the online nomination. Letters submitted through another mechanism (e.g., email) will not be considered during the review process. Only letters received before the nomination deadline will be accepted.

I have uploaded my candidate’s CV, but the form is asking for letters of support and won’t allow me to “Mark It As Complete”. I thought those were optional, do I need to have those?

No. Once you arrive at the Letters of Support screen, there is a “Review and Submit” button on the left navigation you may click to continue if you have no letters to attach. 

How long can the CV be?

The CV may be up to 4 pages in length and contain no more than 10 citations of publications. Nominations submitted with CVs longer than 4 pages will be rejected.

Should the CV list only 10 publications? Or should all publications be listed and only 10 highlighted for consideration? 

The CV may contain no more than 10 citations of publications on which the nomination is based. Nominations submitted with CVs listing more than 10 publications will be rejected. Those nominations may be resubmitted in accordance with the guidelines if the submission deadline has not passed.

May the CV include books, book chapters and posters?

Yes, if you wish. However, be aware that the jury will focus most intently on publications.

May I submit an NIH Biosketch in lieu of a CV?

Yes, as long as it is no more than 4 pages in length and it lists no more than 10 publications.

Should I list publications specific to one topic or should I demonstrate the breadth of a candidate’s work?

This decision is at the discretion of the nominator. Choose the publications that you believe most strongly demonstrate the candidate’s merit.

Does the nomination really consist of answers to just two questions, the CV and optional letters of support?



What is meant by “early career”?

We define early career as no more than 10 years since the completion of clinical training or 10 years from the completion of their first post-doctoral fellowship (whichever was completed last).

Given that the nominator must be a member of an accredited educational and/or scientific institution, what is your definition of “scientific institution?” 

For purposes of the Trailblazer Prize, we consider a scientific institution to be a not-for-profit or for-profit organization or a government agency engaged in the pursuit of or support of biomedical research.

Does the candidate need to be a physician to be eligible?

No. Candidate must be a practicing clinician with at least 50% of time devoted to independent active research efforts.

May I nominate a scientist with whom I do not work directly?

Yes, as long as you know his or her work well enough to make a compelling case for the nomination.

May I nominate a team of two researchers that has worked together?

Yes. Two early-career researchers may be nominated if they have worked as a team; in this case, at least one of the two must be a clinician-scientist. The honorarium will be divided among the winners, and each will receive a citation and an inscribed crystal prize.

May I nominate a team of more than two researchers that has worked together?


Is this prize for candidates doing basic research only, or are those performing translational or clinical research suitable candidates as well?

The prize is for candidates engaged in achievement(s) in basic, translational and/or clinical research leading to new, innovative approaches in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment or cure of diseases and/or disabilities.

Must the candidate be a legal resident of the United States?

Yes. The finalists will need to be legal residents of the United States or its territories. Nomination materials must be in English.

If a team of two is nominated how is the monetary prize divided?

                Each winner will receive half of the monetary prize. 

Will the winner and finalists need to attend the ceremony?

Yes, and the date is October 19, 2022. The event format is to be determined.


Will you accept a nomination FROM a scientist working in a federal government research program?


Will you accept a nomination FOR a scientist working in a federal government research program?

Yes, though the FNIH does not determine eligibility for government employees. If the candidate is a U.S. federal government employee or anyone else whose receipt of personal cash prizes MAY be restricted, the nominator should confirm with the candidate and team member if two are nominated, their eligibility to receive this prize. (We encourage you to contact your Ethics Office if you have one with any questions.)

I am an NIH employee or funded researcher. May I nominate a researcher outside of the NIH?


Is the NIH considered to be an accredited educational and/or scientific institution?