Bold Pioneer Award

Recognizing early career investigators pushing the boundaries in neurological disease, neuroscience or fundamental aging research.

The WashU Medicine Bold Pioneer Award is a $10,000 funding opportunity established in 2022 by Randy Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine.

We believe that rewarding daring approaches to research early in investigators’ careers will catalyze the mindset required to accelerate research breakthroughs and advance clinical impact. We are grateful to our donor for supporting and believing in this work.

2024 WashU Medicine Bold Pioneer Award

$10,000 personal financial award, recognition ceremony and medallion

Applications due: Sept. 1, 2024


The goal of this award is to recognize and encourage early career investigators who have demonstrated bold, pioneering research that is high-risk by virtue of being fundamentally different from standard approaches. The intent is to encourage scientific research investigators to challenge status quo approaches by developing fundamentally different methods, approaches, or experiments that increase the odds of discovering unexpected findings. The bold pioneering experimental approach is by definition high-risk because of many unknowns and lack of precedent.

Applications should demonstrate that an approach was successfully completed, regardless of whether there is evidence of long-term validation or benefits. Validation of results, translation into later stage findings, positive or successful outcomes from the findings are not part of this evaluation. This award recognizes the daring investigator, regardless of if the findings pan out to long-term benefit.


Applicants are not limited to Washington University, but must be at an academic, public or non-profit institution and junior as defined as less than the equivalent of Associate Professor status or tenure (or the WashU equivalent at another institution).

Both self-applicants and nominations are accepted.

Application & review process

Applications will open annually in the spring with the intent of awarding the winner in the summer. The call for applicants will be sent to leaders in Neurology, Neuroscience, and Aging research; including departmental chairs, Institute and Center directors, NIH leadership and others as appropriate. Applicants and nominators will submit applications via email.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel with expertise in identifying bold pioneers. The award may or may not be awarded each year. If no awardee is recognized, funds will accumulate to be awarded to future awardees.