Young Investigator Awards

Young Investigator Awards – Sponsors

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, under the AFRI Food and Human Health Program A1343

Instructions and Criteria for DOH Young Investigator Award Selection

The Diet & Optimum Health Conference recognizes the work of outstanding young investigators during its biennial conference through the presentation of competitive Young Investigator Awards (YIAs). These awards encourage young scientists to pursue careers in research on various aspects of diet, dietary factors, bioactive compounds, and micronutrients on human health and disease. Award winners may receive up to $1000 in cash, depending on award.

Applications for Young Investigator Awards are submitted online during the abstract submission process for the conference. Application submissions are now closed.


  1. Visit the abstract submission page to submit an abstract.
    • Indicate if you want the abstract considered for the YIA competition*.
    • Provide a brief letter (no longer than 300 words) of achievements, career goals, and how your work contributes to the emerging roles of diet, dietary factors, and bioactives on human health and disease.
  2. Visit the registration page to register to attend. If an applicant has not registered for the conference when abstract is reviewed, they will be asked to register at that date (late fees may apply).

*Important Note: Finalists for the Young Investigator Award will be asked to present a poster and give a lightning talk during the conference.


  • Applicants must have completed the majority of work reported in the accepted abstract as an undergraduate, graduate student, or during the first two years of postdoctoral study. For a young scientist with a medical degree, the two years refers to the actual time spent performing research. The time spent as an intern/resident is not considered part of the two years.
  • Applicants must have had a primary role in the reported experimentation, as evidenced by first-author status on the abstract.
  • Applicants appointed to faculty positions at the time of the competition are asked to recuse themselves.

Competition Information

  1. Selection committee members will evaluate all abstracts submitted for the YIA competition and select finalists for an oral presentation at the conference. Abstracts must adhere to the length given in the submission guidelines.
  2. To evaluate abstracts in a fair and equitable manner, only the title and abstract will be shared with the selection committee members. No names or departmental affiliation will be known to them at the time of evaluation.
  3. Committee members will evaluate abstracts individually on a scale of 1 to 10 for the following criteria:
    • Is the title informative and does it match with the abstract content?
    • Does the abstract provide a good synthesis of the research being done?
    • Is the abstract written so the research is accessible to a scientifically diverse audience?
    • Does the abstract indicate an interesting talk?
    • Is the abstract area of research relevant to Diet & Optimum Health?
  4. The committee will meet for a detailed discussion of the abstracts based on the above criteria and select those abstracts scoring highest amongst the majority of the members.
  5. The committee will notify selected participants prior to the conference to allow adequate time for preparation of the oral presentation.
  6. The selection committee will send detailed presentation instructions to successful applicants by mid-August.
  7. Each participant will present a 6-minute talk and allow 2 minutes for questions and answers for a total of 8 minutes.
  8. The selection committee will evaluate the talks on the day of competition on the following criteria:
    • Organization (clear objectives, logical structure, signposting)
    • Mastery of the subject and ability to synthesize
    • Communication skills, stage presence
    • Effective slides
    • Depth of commentary
    • Ability to answer questions
    • Staying within the time limits for the talk (6-minutes)


Please note the abstract submitted for poster presentation at the conference will be the same abstract presented as a talk. The Young Investigator Award recipients will receive their awards at the banquet on the final night of the conference (September 20).

Quick Links

Young Investigator Award PDF
Abstract Submissions
Competition Information
Conference Registration

Important Dates

Early Registration Deadline: July 1, 2023 (additional fees after)
Award Application Deadline:
  August 7, 2023
Abstract Submission Deadline: August 7, 2023
Award Presentation: September 20, 2023