Lila R. Gleitman Prize

The Cognitive Science Society is pleased to announce the Lila R. Gleitman Prize for Early-Career Contributions to Cognitive Science in honor of Lila R. Gleitman’s foundational role in the field of cognitive science. The recipient will be an early-career woman in cognitive science whose outstanding research and scholarly promise best represent the intellectual depth, ingenuity and significance of the work carried out by Lila R. Gleitman throughout her long scientific career. The award is jointly directed by the Cognitive Science Society Governing Board and the leadership of the Society for Language Development which Gleitman founded and led for many years.

The recipient of the prize will be honored at the Cognitive Science Society’s Annual Meeting in a ceremony in which a framed certificate and a monetary award of $35,000 will be presented. In addition, the recipient will be invited to give a talk on her work during one of the regular sessions of the Annual Meeting.


Lila R. Gleitman, a winner of the David E. Rumelhart Prize for her contributions to the theoretical foundations of human cognition, passed away on August 8, 2021. Gleitman was Professor Emerita of Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and a pioneering figure in the field of modern cognitive science.

In a career that spanned six decades, Gleitman made numerous foundational discoveries in the study of language and cognition. She is particularly known for her research on how children acquire language, how language and thought are related, and the role of syntax in shaping the direction of word learning.

Gleitman was widely recognized for her influential research: She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and an elected fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She served as President of the Society for Language Development, the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and the Linguistic Society of America.

In addition to winning the Rumelhart Prize, she won the Prix Internationale Award from the Fyssen Foundation, the John McGovern Award in the Behavioral Sciences from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Psychological Association.

Gleitman was a legendary mentor who trained a long and distinguished list of psycholinguists, many of whom went on to become central figures in the field. In 1991, Gleitman co-founded the famous Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at Penn, which she co-directed until 2001. Under her leadership, the Institute became a model for promoting interactions between psychology, linguistics, computer science, philosophy, neuroscience and other branches of inquiry that contribute to the computational study of the mind.

Read more about Dr. Gleitman:

Obituary in The New York Times

Cognitive Science Society Tribute

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Retrospective



The Gleitman Prize nominations process will be open from January 4, 2023 to March 6, 2023

The committee does not accept self-nominations. To qualify for nominations,

  • Nominees must self-identify as women.
  • Nominees must be within 10 years of completing their PhD degree, medical degree, or other type of doctorate by dissertation. The 10 years can be extended by maternity leave(s), care-taking leave(s), career breaks, or other relevant leaves of absence. Details of these absences should be specified during the nomination process.
  • At the time of the nomination, nominees must be conducting research in cognitive science; any sub-field of cognitive science is welcome.

Please note that nominations will be active for two years.

Nominations should include the following materials:

  • a two-page statement of nomination outlining how the scientific merit, theoretical contributions and impact of the nominee’s research exemplify the intellectual depth, ingenuity and significance of Gleitman’s work and merit recognition through this award
  • a complete curriculum vitae for the nominee
  • pdf copies of five of the nominee’s most significant publications
  • names and contact information of two individuals who could provide supporting letters (these letters will be requested for shortlisted nominees only)

Materials should be sent to the Society Secretariat by March 6, 2023 for the attention of the Chair of the Gleitman Prize Committee.

Selection Committee

The Gleitman Prize is administered by the Prize Selection Committee.  Screening of nominees and selection of the prize winner will be performed by the Prize Selection Committee. Scientific members (including the Chair) of the Prize Selection Committee will serve for up to two four-year terms.  Selection of the award recipients will strive to achieve disciplinary balance and diversity (within the eligible pool) broadly construed, and recognize professional integrity.

Committee members:

Barbara Landau (Committee Chair), Johns Hopkins University
Ulrike Hahn, Birkbeck, University of London
Elissa Newport, Georgetown University
Kia Nobre, University of Oxford
Anna Papafragou, University of Pennsylvania

Donation to the Gleitman Prize Endowment

A special fund for the Gleitman Prize has been created through contributions in Gleitman’s honor by her family, students, colleagues, and other members of the field. We invite anyone who wishes to recognize Lila R. Gleitman and her pioneering role in cognitive science to donate specifically for this purpose. Such donations will enable the Society to recognize Gleitman’s legendary life in science long into the future.

Donation queries can be directed to Erica Wojcik, Executive Officer, at

Tax efficient giving The Cognitive Science Society is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code, so US donors can qualify for an income tax deduction to the limits allowed by law. It also is possible to give tax efficiently through Transnational Giving Europe from the following European countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, and The Netherlands. To donate and claim tax relief please contact your national foundations and explain that you wish to make a gift to the Cognitive Science Society.

The Cognitive Science Society is pleased to announce the establishment of the CogSci Grove which aims to mobilise cognitive scientists to offset carbon emissions associated with their professional activities.  To date, 1681 trees have been planted in protected sites in the Scottish Highlands where they will create homes for wildlife and forests for the future.

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