Submissions Open for NIH Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) is soliciting submissions for its Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition. The competition recognizes original research published by early-career scientists, and is part of the Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors.

OBSSR will cover travel expenses for up to four honorees to attend the ceremony to present the findings of their paper and engage in discussions about opportunities for future research.

To be eligible for submission, the first author of the paper must be an early stage investigator within 10 years of their terminal research degree or post-graduate clinical training. OBSSR seeks original research published in a peer-reviewed journal between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.

Additional eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Has yet to hold a substantial, independent NIH research award (e.g., an R01) as a principal investigator at the time of this competition.
  • Applicants may submit only one original research article on the study of behavioral and social phenomena relevant to health. Conceptual, review, or meta-analysis papers are not eligible for this competition and, if submitted, will not be considered. Articles without direct relevance to health will not be considered. Applicants who submit more than one article will not be considered.
  • Applicants must be the sole or primary author of the article. If the author appears other than as first-author, the contestant should provide a supporting explanation in the ‘Additional publication information’ text box.
  • The article must meet the following criteria that reflect research excellence in health-related behavioral and social sciences:
    a. Impact on theory and/or method: How well does the paper use sophisticated methodological approaches to address important empirical questions that are derived from or that inform theoretical frameworks?
    b. Integration of individual and social system influences: How well does the paper integrate multiple levels of influence, and/or the dynamic, longitudinal, and bidirectional effects of social systems on individuals and vice versa?
    c. Integration of scientific disciplines: How well does the paper integrate approaches from multiple disciplines to address the research question?

If interested, the deadline for candidates to submit their paper is January 31, 2022. For any questions, applicants may contact

To learn more about application requirements, and to submit your article to the NIH early-stage researcher paper competition, click here.

For an overview of the Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors, click here.

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