ALBA-Roche Research Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience

The ALBA-Roche Research Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience recognises outstanding work in brain research by mid-career scientists from underrepresented backgrounds, whose work focuses on the nervous system and may improve our understanding of the causal mechanisms of brain diseases.

Awarded through a partnership between the ALBA Network and Roche, this annual prize is being launched in 2024 and will recognise mid-career scientists who have made remarkable contributions in the field of neuroscience and foresee their potential for translation, and belong to an underrepresented group. This prize aims to celebrate the achievements of researchers who have reached a pivotal stage in their career, demonstrating independence, originality and the potential to shape the future of their respective areas of study. The inaugural ALBA-Roche Prize will be presented at the upcoming FENS Forum in Vienna, Austria on 25-29 June 2024.

Prize details

  • 15,000€ in prize money for personal use.
  • Presentation of the prize at an official award ceremony at the FENS Forum 2024.
  • Waived registration to the FENS Forum 2024 and a travel allowance of 3500€ to cover expenses associated to the attendance to the ceremony.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Candidates can be of any origin, can reside in any country, and must identify with one or more underrepresented group(s) as defined by ALBA (see below).
  2. Nominees should hold a doctoral degree (Ph.D.), have accrued at least 5 years post-PhD and hold a junior research or assistant professor position. Importantly, holders of a Ph.D. that also hold a D.V.M. or an M.D. degree are not eligible. Candidates with unconventional career trajectories (e.g., career breaks, cross-disciplinary shifts, etc.) are highly encouraged to apply.
  3. Candidates must have a proven track record of conducting innovative and influential research, as evidenced by high-quality independent publications. This can include challenging existing paradigms, exploring new hypotheses or unchartered territories, using unconventional research methods or interdisciplinary approaches, or establishing significant international collaborations involving countries with developing research infrastructure.
  4. Candidates should have achieved a notable level of scientific independence, typically by securing a faculty position (e.g., assistant professor or junior group leader, etc.) and leading their own research group or laboratory, guiding research directions. Showing commitment to ethical considerations in research, and acting as principal investigators on externally funded research projects is seen as a plus.
  5. Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to mentoring and nurturing the next generation of scientists, as well as a commitment to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in their laboratories and/or communities.
  6. Candidates must be members of the ALBA Network (or become members —which is free and easy— at the time of application).

Who qualifies as an underrepresented person?

The ALBA Network’s definition of an underrepresented person is someone who identifies with one or more of the following:

  • Women
  • LGBTQIA+ individuals
  • With disability, neurodivergence or chronic medical condition
  • Of first generation status (being the first in a family to attend university)
  • Born into racial, ethnic, indigenous or caste groups that are historically underrepresented in their country of origin and/or work
  • Who do not speak English as their primary language
  • Living in low socio-economic area
  • Facing forced migration or displacement due to war, human rights abuses, political conflict, natural disasters
  • With difficult personal circumstances (e.g., caregiving responsibilities)
  • From families with low-income or limited social mobility
  • Weak passport holders (according to latest Henley Passport Index)
  • Studying or working in a country with low gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) (according to latest UIS data)
Please note that this is a working definition. Practices, identities and minority status may change over time, depending on culture and geopolitics, and as such, feedback is very welcome.

Nomination Procedure 

Self-nominations and nominations by a fellow neuroscientist or by an institution are accepted. Due to potential conflicts of interest, members of the selection committee may not be nominees, nominate others or write recommendation letters. Nominations must include the following documentation:

  1. Statement of motivation from the nominee not exceeding one page, describing their eligibility and how this award will impact their career in science.
  2. Brief curriculum vitae not exceeding three pages, which should include: a record of previous and current positions, list of top publications (max. 15), selected presentations at conferences, full record of secured research funding, awards and grants for research and conference travel, and any other relevant information, such as alumni.
  3. A summary of the nominee’s research (max. one page, font 11) indicating how it fits with the scope of the Prize (that is, describing the brain processes they study and how their work may significantly impact our understanding of the causal mechanisms of brain diseases).
  4. Identification with one or more underrepresented groups listed in the application form and personal statement indicating the reasons behind their choice.
  5. A brief letter of endorsement (max. one page) by a neuroscientist (from students to PIs), outlining the suitability of the candidate for the award, should accompany the nomination.

Please note: Applications must be electronically submitted through the ALBA Network's website as a single, consolidated electronic document in PDF format, using a standard font size not smaller than 11 points and with 2.54 cm (1 inch) margins.

The 2024 call for nominations is closed.


Selection Committee

Carmen Sandi, Co-Chair (Switzerland)

Gilles Laurent, Co-Chair (Germany)

Abdel El Manira (Sweden)

Amadi Ihunwo (South Africa)

Carlos Ribeiro (Portugal)

Elisabeth Binder (Germany)

Flavia Gomes (Brazil)

Hailan Hu (China)

Mauro Costa-Mattioli (USA)

Vidita Vaidya (India)

Sonja Kleinlogel (Switzerland)



Dr Mootaz Salman

Winner 2024

University of Oxford, UK