Conference Awards

Steve Reznick Early Career Award

The Steve Reznick Early Career Award was created to recognize an early career researcher who has a history of scholarly work that has advanced the field.  The award is administered by the CDS Awards Committee.

About Dr. Steven Reznick

Dr. Reznick obtained his B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill in 1973, followed by his M.A. from Wake Forest University in 1975. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1982. He soon became the Research Director of the Harvard Infant Study and served on faculty at Yale University, before returning to UNC as a Professor of Developmental Psychology in 1998. Dr. Reznick was a key contributor to the world of Cognitive Science; besides founding the Cognitive Development Society he also authored several books and helped develop the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory and the First-Year Inventory, both popular scientific assessment tools. He was awarded multiple honors including the C. Know Massey Distinguished Service Award, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, and the Order of the Golden Fleece. It is only fitting that there is now an award in his name to highlight up-and-coming Cognitive Scientists.


Awards Committee

Amy Needham, Vanderbilt University (Chair)
Deb Kelemen, Boston University (Co- Chair)
Karl Rosengren, University of Rochester
Su-hua Wang, University of California, Santa Cruz


Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

This award was established by the Cognitive Development Society to recognize a young scholar who has made outstanding research contributions to the study of cognitive development, and who shows continued promise to be a leader in the field. The award recognizes excellence in the study of cognitive development, broadly defined.

Nominees must be within 10 years of their PhD, although we will allow an extension of the 10-year limit of up to two years for applicants who have been granted an institutionally approved childbearing, parental, or medical leave. In these circumstances, documentation from the appropriate department head or institutional official will be required with the application in order for eligibility to be determined.

Nominators and nominees must be active members of CDS. Preference will be given to nominees who have provided service to the CDS.

Nominations must include the following:

  1. Nominee’s CV
  2. Three letters of support in addition to the letter of nomination
  3. Copies of 2 representative publications.
  4. A 3-5 page letter of nomination addressing the following main criteria for the award:

(i) Eligibility: Statement indicating how the nominee meets the eligibility criteria and whether the nominator has been involved in the work of the CDS.

(ii) Novelty of Research: Is the research novel and creative?

(iii) Transformative Potential: Does the research have the potential to change how we think about cognitive developmental science?

(iv) Methodological Innovation and Rigor: Is the research characterized by rigorous and innovative scientific methods?

(v) Scholarship: Does the research build upon existing cognitive development science in scholarly ways?

(vi) Breadth of Influence: Is the research influencing multiple fields of psychological / developmental science?

Key Dates

Nominations open: October 4, 2021
Nominations close: December 10, 2021

The award recipient will be announced at the meetings of the Cognitive Development Society in April, 2022.


How to apply

Applicants must submit the required materials directly to the CDS Secretariat via email (please email: ) with the subject line: Steve Reznick Early Career Award.

Applications will be accepted until December 10 at 11:59pm Central Daylight Time.

Past Steve Reznick Early Career Winners

Elika Bergelson (2019), Duke University

Marjorie Rhodes (2017), New York University

The CDS Excellence in Cognitive Development Research at Undergraduate-Focused Institutions Award

The Cognitive Development Society is excited to announce a new award recognizing excellence in cognitive development research at undergraduate-focused institutions.

The CDS Excellence in Cognitive Development Research at Undergraduate-Focused Institutions Award celebrates the research being conducted at a wide range of institutions around the globe.

Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

  • The nominee must have completed the nominated work while at an institution that primarily focuses on undergraduate teaching (for example, in the U.S. this may be an institution that does not have a Ph.D. program in psychology). Candidates can be from or work in any country in the world.
  • The nominee should have been the “senior” author of the work (i.e., a project done while a postdoc at an research intensive institution, with a senior mentor, but published when the nominee was at a teaching-focused college is not eligible.) The work may be in collaboration with colleagues at research intensive institutions but the nominee should be the primary investigator.
  • The nominee’s example paper must have been published (i.e., formally published in a journal, not “accepted” or “early view”) in 2020 or 2021 on a topic of relevance to the Cognitive Development Society (in any peer-reviewed journal
  • For this award, “research excellence” is defined broadly, including papers that make important theoretical and/or empirical contributions to our understanding of cognitive development, present innovative methodological advances, and/or reflect critical initiatives to increase the diversity and/or generalizability of developmental science.
  • Ideally the nominee is a member of CDS, but this is not essential.

Nomination Process

To nominate yourself or someone else, please submit the following materials:

  • A pdf of a 2020 or 2021 paper by the nominee that best illustrates their research excellence
  • The nominee’s CV
  • A brief explanation (one paragraph) of how the paper meets the description of research excellence and the nominee’s role as a senior author on the paper, as well as how the nominee’s school fits the criterion of a teaching-focused school.  There is no need to include additional information for this award (e.g., information about teaching abilities, other papers, etc), as the selection criteria will focus solely on excellence in research in undergraduate-focused institutions, as described above.

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the required materials directly to the CDS Secretariat via email using the ‘Submit Application’ button below, with the subject line: Excellence in Cognitive Development Research Award.

Applications will be accepted until February 15 at 11:59pm Central Daylight Time.

The award recipient will be recognized at the 2022 meeting of the Cognitive Development Society in April, 2022.

Key Dates

Nominations open: December 15, 2021

Nomination close: February 15, 2022