A few final words of encouragement for prospective applicants for the ASN Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Awards (applications due Jan. 1!) (UPDATEDx2)

The Jan. 1 application deadline for the ASN Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Awards is fast approaching. In my role as chair of the YIA committee this year, I wanted to offer a few final words of encouragement to any prospective applicants who are still on the fence about applying.

  • As I said in the post linked above, all applicants are evaluated thoroughly and holistically by a diverse committee with broad expertise (Luke Harmon, Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, Renee Duckworth, and me).
  • You can’t get the award if you don’t apply. Every year we’re proud to get an outstanding group of applicants–but we also know that there are many other outstanding young researchers who don’t apply. If you believe you have done strong synthetic work in any area of ecology, evolution, behavior, or genetics, I encourage you to apply.
  • Don’t think that you shouldn’t bother applying because you “only” have X papers, or your h-index is “only” Y, or you’re “only” in your first year of eligibility, or you applied before, or etc.  Again, all applicants are carefully considered and evaluated holistically, considering your scientific work on its merits rather than relying on crude qualification cutoffs or crude quantitative metrics. The award does not always go to applicants in their final year of eligibility, or to applicants who’ve never applied before, or to the applicants with the most publications or highest h-indices, or etc. Every year our applicant pool varies quite a bit on many dimensions.
  • Along the lines of my recent post on how you shouldn’t see requesting reference letters as burdening your letter writers…don’t worry that your application will somehow be a burden on the YIA committee! I’m sure I speak for the entire committee when I say that we enjoy reading every application. Serving on this committee is a tremendous privilege, but also a great gig. I find it to be a fantastic way to learn about a ton of excellent science. And I love getting to know about many of the outstanding young investigators who are moving our field forward.
  • As I’ve said before, one of my goals as committee chair this year is to increase the diversity of research areas in which the applicants work (without wanting to discourage applicants working in areas traditionally well-represented in the applicant pool, of course!)
  • UPDATE: a brief clarification of something a couple of prospective applicants have asked about: applicants may include unreviewed preprints and in review mss among the (maximum four) publications included in their application packets.
  • Finally, a brief clarification: the symposium in which the award winners will speak will not be held at the ASN standalone meeting in Asilomar in Jan. 2018. The symposium will be held as part of the annual ASN joint meeting with SSE and other societies, in Aug. 2018 in France. So in a textbook example of burying the lede, DON’T YOU WANT A FREE TRIP TO MONTPELLIER NEXT SUMMER?! 🙂 If you do, apply!
  • UPDATE #2: The Jan. 1 deadline is firm, I’m afraid. The committee needs to choose the awardees by early Feb., and it’s a big job. We have no flexibility to push the deadline back. And it wouldn’t be fair for us to grant ad hoc extensions to some people but not others.


4 thoughts on “A few final words of encouragement for prospective applicants for the ASN Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Awards (applications due Jan. 1!) (UPDATEDx2)

  1. Hey Jeremy, quick question: Would it help at all to have 3 letter writers, or would that just annoy the committee? If it would annoy, would you think it would be more strategic to have letters from mentors (say PhD mentor, postdoc mentor). Or a 3rd party who knows and collaborates with the applicant?

    • We only ask for two letters, and we need to have every applicant on a level playing field. If anyone sends three letters, I’m just going to have to ask which two they want the committee to read.

      The letters should be from whichever two people can best speak about the applicant and the applicant’s research.

  2. Hi Jeremy,

    Small question – what weight does the committee give to the “integrativeness” of the work? I mean, If one “just” does very good work in a specific field (e.g. community ecology) – is this less favorable?


    • Hi Michael,

      The award is for “integrative” work, but one can’t really summarize just how integrative someone’s work is by naming the subfield(s). I suggest that you have a look at the cv’s of some past award winners to get a sense of what “integrative” means in this context.

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