The Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award - Nominations

The Franklin Institute invites you to nominate candidates for the Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award, presented to an early-career investigator for a transformative discovery, development, innovation, or invention in science or engineering. The focus annually rotates through seven disciplines: chemistry, civil and mechanical engineering, computer and cognitive science, earth and environmental science, electrical engineering, life science, and physics. Interdisciplinary awards will also be considered. The 2026 Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award will be presented in Computer and Cognitive Science (Nomination Deadline: September 15, 2024).

Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award recipients are presented with a crystal award and $10,000 honorarium per award.

Award Subject Schedule: 

2026: Computer or Cognitive Science
2027: Civil or Mechanical Engineering (or related discipline)
2028: Physics and Astronomy
2029: Earth or Environmental Science
2030: Life Science
2031: Chemistry
2032: Electrical Engineering 

Deadlines: View the nominating schedule.


  • This is an international competition for early-career investigators who have made a transformative discovery, development, innovation, or invention in science or engineering. Nominees should be in the early stages of their career as an independent investigator as defined by their field.
  • Award recipients are expected to participate in the Awards Ceremony at which their award is presented as well as educational and social events during Awards Week. Events take place each spring locally to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • Nominations will be accepted from any individual, organization, or institution, including self-nominations. 
  • Nominations of candidates traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering are particularly encouraged. 
  • A single awardee is preferred, but the award may be presented jointly to up to two people.
  • Sufficient submitted documentation to support further investigation must be provided by the nominator in order for the nomination to be considered.
  • Questions about nominee eligibility or award or nomination timing should be directed to the Awards Office at The Franklin Institute: 


Selection Process

  • Nominations will be forwarded to the appropriate subcommittee within The Franklin Institute’s Committee on Science and the Arts, the all-volunteer body of scientists and engineers from academia and industry who investigate award candidates and recommend awardees to The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees. 
  • The Committee carefully selects candidates in a thorough case investigation process. 
  • The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees ratifies all awardees.
  • Awardees are typically announced in January of the year of their award presentation.

Nomination Checklist

  • Please see the Nominating Schedule for submission deadlines.
  • Nomination materials are considered confidential for a term of 50 years.
  • Nominations must be submitted in English and must include the following:
    • Award name for which nomination is being submitted
    • Name and contact information of the nominee
    • Name and contact information of nominator
    • Nominee’s curriculum vitae and bibliography of significant publications
    • Proposed citation of 50 words or fewer, highlighting the achievement(s) for which the candidate is nominated
    • A comprehensive narrative statement describing the nominee's qualifications for the award and potential for future contributions. If applicable, statements may also include the nominee’s activities in education, outreach and/or public communication. 
    • Names and contact information for a minimum of five references for the nominee. References should not include those in roles of direct advisement such as Ph.D. or postdoc advisors. These references may be contacted by The Franklin Institute during the case investigation process. 


Nominations should be emailed to:

Beth Scheraga
Director, The Franklin Institute Awards | 215.448.1329