About the Contest
The Lasker Essay Contest engages young scientists and clinicians in a discussion about big questions in biology and medicine, and the role of biomedical research in our society today. The Contest aims to build skills in communicating important medical and scientific issues to broader audiences. The Essay Contest topics are announced annually no later than the second week of February and can be found on this webpage.
The topic of the 2018 Essay Contest is: How can social media help build trust in science and the research enterprise? Your answer should include a discussion of the benefits and challenges of your recommendations.
The deadline to submit all materials is March 30, 2018. Winners will be announced in early July on our web site.
The Contest is open to medical school students, interns, residents, and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health professions programs. The 2018 Essay Contest is open to both US and international applicants, including those from programs outside the US.
First-place award is $10,000 and an expense-paid trip (economy class travel and one-night hotel stay) to New York City to meet the 2018 Lasker Award winners (on September 21, 2018). Second- and third-place prizes are $5000 and $2500, respectively. All monetary prizes are to be used towards educational expenses.
Essays should be of 800 words or less and must be written in English. The file containing the essay should include the essay title and the applicant's name, email, and institutional affiliation. Figures and references are not required but one image (uploaded separately) and up to 10 references (included within the text body) may be submitted. Specific examples from the world of biomedical research should be included in your essay to illustrate your ideas more effectively. Field-specific scientific jargon should be avoided or explained.
Essays will be evaluated based on 1) the innovation of the ideas and proposals and 2) how well these ideas are conveyed, i.e. the quality of writing, style, and clarity. Essays that are not written in English or are longer than 800 words will not be considered.
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive updates about the Essay Contest program and winners:
2017 essay contest and winners
2016 essay contest and winners
2015 essay contest and winners
2014 essay contest and winners
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First and Second Year Students
The First Prize winner earned a $3,000 scholarship to a Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) school, the Second Prize winner earned a $2,000 scholarship to a WaCLA institution, and the Third Prize winner earned a $1,000 scholarship to a WaCLA school. Winners must be admitted to and matriculate in a WaCLA institution to receive their scholarship. Participating institutions can be viewed on the Member Institutions page.
This contest is part of the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts outreach program designed to promote the power and value of the liberal arts. Numerous colleges and universities, both public and private, two-year and four-year, all across the state of Washington have come together to create a cohesive, coherent voice.
The student essays responded to the following prompt, in 500 words or less:
Explain how a liberal arts education can illuminate an issue that's important to the people of Washington State.
On behalf of WaCLA, thank you for participating!
Vice President for Academic Affairs
The Evergreen State College