George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award

The 2025 award cycle is now open. Apply today!

Application Deadline: October 1, 2024

The ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation awards the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award. This award recognizes nutrition leaders for their achievements as outstanding research mentors. Named in honor of Dr. George Blackburn, this award celebrates his commitment and generosity to the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation and honors his academic and research mentorship.

Recipients will be awarded each year during a Foundation event at the ASPEN Nutrition Science & Practice Conference


  • The nominee must be at least 10 years into his/her research and/or academic career.
  • The nominee's research focus should relate to clinical nutrition, metabolism, and/or nutrition support.
  • The nominee must be a member of ASPEN.
  • The nominee must be an effective mentor.

Application Information

George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award Instructions and FAQs

  • To nominate a colleague, please submit a letter of recommendation to ASPEN staff at [email protected], who will then contact the nominee for an application.
  • To nominate yourself, please complete the online application.

Candidates must complete the online application and include the following materials:

  1. Two nominations or supporting letters outlining the nominee's research mentoring activities. Letters should describe the following qualities that make the nominee an outstanding research mentor:
    • Highlight research accomplishments.
    • How the mentor has actively encouraged inquiry, innovation, and created opportunities for trainees to conduct research.
    • How the mentor has supported and influenced trainees’ educational and career paths (presentation and publication opportunities, planning for continued research and/or graduate studies, further academic positions).
    • Provide examples of inspiration, encouragement, or challenge as well as any other attributes or actions that make this mentor truly exceptional.
  2. Nominee’s curriculum vitae.
  3. Completed evaluation forms of at least two mentees of the nominee. (Please do not include mentee CVs and make sure that the mentees completing evaluations are different from those providing nominating or supporting letters.)
  4. Complete list of past and present mentees with their topics of research, current status, and any progress made in the development of their research career.
Current ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation Board members and the ASPEN President are ineligible during their active terms. 


    Nominations will be presented to a committee appointed by the Foundation President. 

    Congratulations to the 2024 George Blackburn Research Mentorship Awardee

    Paul WalesPaul W. Wales, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, FASPEN 
    Professor of Surgery, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati;
    Surgical Director Intestinal Rehabilitation Center, Pediatric Surgeon, Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

    A message from Dr. Wales 
    "I am truly honored to be a recipient of the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award for 2024. It is especially meaningful to me as it represents recognition from prior trainees.

    Over the last 22 years, I have been privileged to have trained so many outstanding individuals who are intelligent, motivated and challenge me to think of things in new ways. I am grateful for all they have taught me. I am also thankful to ASPEN for creating an environment that fosters scientific research and collaboration. I always look forward to the annual meeting to learn new things, exchange ideas, and catch up with colleagues.

    As a trainee, I benefited greatly from the mentorships I received, and being able to return the favor is immensely rewarding." 

    Click here to view all of the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award Recipients 

    NEW! In addition to the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award, the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation would like to announce the establishment of a new grant in honor of Dr. George Blackburn focused on nutrition and metabolism. The ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation relies on the generosity of members of the parenteral nutrition and enteral nutrition community and friends through their gifts of support. There are many opportunities to aid in the tremendous work of nutrition science. With your help, the establishment of a new grant named in honor of George Blackburn is possible. For more information about Dr. George Blackburn and to find out how you can help fund this prestigious grant, please click here