Frequently asked questions

The Lasker Awards were not given in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Is it necessary to re-submit nominations that were submitted for the 2020 Awards?
All nominations that were accepted in 2020 will be considered for 2021; nominators may submit updated packets if appropriate, but resubmissions are not required. Nominations submitted previous to 2020 will not be automatically carried forward. If you wish to re-submit such a nomination, please do so by completing a 2021 nomination with all pertinent previously submitted material, including updated letters of support and any significant new developments.

What are the criteria for the Lasker Awards?

Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award: For a fundamental discovery that opens up a new area of biomedical science.

Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award: For a major advance that improves the lives of many thousands of people.

Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science: For research accomplishments and scientific statesmanship that engender the deepest feelings of awe and respect.

Individuals or organizations must meet at least one of the following selection criteria for the Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award: 1) significantly improving the public’s understanding of medical research, public health, or healthcare; 2) playing a major role in the support of policy, legislative, or other initiatives that accelerate progress in medical science or health; 3) providing critical and generous financial support for initiatives to enhance health or medical research; 4) generating support for medical science or public health; 5) significantly benefitting the lives of many people through public health practice.

Who is eligible to be nominated?
Anyone who has made an original and significant contribution in basic or clinical medical research, or in public service, is eligible for nomination. Lasker Awards are highly competitive and are bestowed on individuals whose work opens new areas of biomedical science or public service. Award winners may reside in any country of the world. 

Who may submit a nomination?
Colleagues familiar with the nominee(s)'s work and with the relevant field of research (or area of public service) are ideal nominators. Self-nominations or nominations written by the candidates themselves will not be considered by the Jury. 

Are there limits as to how many nominations may be submitted by a single institution?
There are not; nominations are encouraged for all outstanding work. 

Are Lasker Awards given every year?
The Basic Award and the Clinical Award are given annually. The Special Achievement Award and the Public Service Award are given in alternate years: the Special Achievement will be given in 2021; the Public Service will be given next in 2022. 

Are word limits (and/or page limits) on nomination forms strictly enforced?
Yes. Word and/or page limits are necessary given the volume of nominating materials received by the Foundation. 

Nominators of the Basic and Clinical Research Awards are asked to identify other scientists(s) in addition to the nominee(s) who should also be considered for the Award. Why is this?
Scientific discoveries often result from collaborative work or from independent observations made by several individuals. The Lasker Jury considers this question a crucial one, and nominations without an answer to the question will be returned. 

Are letters of support required?
Supporting letters from colleagues familiar with the nominee(s)'s work are not required, but they are helpful for Jury members' evaluations and they are strongly encouraged.

Letters in support of basic nominations should address the nature of the nominee(s)'s discoveries, and how those discoveries have opened up a new area of biomedical science. Letters in support of clinical nominations should address uniquely innovative contributions of the nominee(s) that have advanced patient care for thousands of people.

No more than five (5) letters of support per nomination will be accepted for Medical Research Award nominations. While there is no limit to the number of letters that may be sent in support of Public Service Award nominations, quality should be emphasized over quantity. 

It is acceptable to send support letters by email (in PDF format) to

Is the nomination process confidential?
All nominations, support letters, and nominating materials are kept strictly confidential for 50 years, after which they may be accessed by researchers at the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. 

How are nominations evaluated?
Medical Research Award nominations are evaluated by a distinguished Jury of scientists chaired by Joseph L. Goldstein. Public Service Award winners are evaluated and selected by a Jury of Lasker Foundation board members chaired by Alfred Sommer. 

When are winners notified?
Winners are typically notified in late June.

Need more help?
Contact David Keegan by email or at 212-286-0222.