VinFuture Prize pledges US$ 4.5M annually to reward breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations
On International Solidarity Day, VinFuture Foundation officially launches The VinFuture Prize, the first global science and technology prize from Viet Nam, and one of the world’s largest annual prizes in science and technology. VinFuture Foundation is founded by Mr. Phạm Nhật Vượng, the first Vietnamese billionaire – Founder and Chairman of the largest Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup Corporation, together with his wife, Mrs. Phạm Thu Hương.
The vision of this endeavor is to “create meaningful change in the everyday lives of millions of people by promoting breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations”. With that vision in mind, the VinFuture Foundation works to honour exceptional minds whose research and technological innovations will improve the quality of life and ensure sustainable living for future generations by addressing the everyday issues of people, aligned with one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Keeping in mind its origins in a developing country, VinFuture Prize will seek to ensure that fair and equal opportunities are accessible to all scientists and innovators, especially those who are making efforts under limited resources.
The VinFuture Prize comprises of a Grand Prize and three special prizes. The Grand Prize of $3M will be one of the largest annual global science and technology prizes in value. The Grand Prize would be open to all, regardless of the candidate’s nationality, age, gender, social status, or economic background. The prize will be awarded to proven breakthrough research and technological innovations that positively improve the quality of human life, and create a more equitable and sustainable world for future generations.
In addition to the Grand Prize, three special prizes of US$ 500,000 each will also be awarded annually, with a focus on promoting diversity, equity, and new fields of study. These prizes will be earmarked for the following groups:
One VinFuture Special Prize for an exceptional researcher or innovator from a developing country institute
One VinFuture Special Prize for an outstanding woman researcher or innovator.
One VinFuture Special Prize for breakthrough research or innovations in an emerging field of science and technology that has significant future potential to create positive change for humanity.
Nominations will be solicited from a large, diverse pool of distinguished nominators, including globally renowned scientists and innovators, academic institutions, technology corporations, and prestigious innovation incubators in all countries.
An independent Prize Council, consisting of distinguished, globally renowned experts from academia, research and industry, will adjudicate the Prize each year. Members of the Prize Council come from diverse sciences and professional disciplines, cultures, and viewpoints, including Prof. Gérard Albert Mourou (École Polytechnique, 2018 Nobel Prize winner); Prof. Sir Richard Henry Friend, FRS (Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge, 2010 Millennium Technology Prize winner); Prof. Jennifer Tour Chayes (University of California Berkeley, Founders of three Microsoft Research Labs); Prof. Michael Eugene Porter (Harvard University, the founder of modern competitive strategy); Prof. Leslie Gabriel Valiant, FRS (Harvard University, 2010 A.M.Turing Award winner); Prof. Pascale Cossart (Pasteur Institute of Paris, the foremost authority on Listeria monocytogenes); Prof. Sir Kostya S. Novoselov, FRS (University of Manchester, Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore , 2010 Nobel Prize winner); Prof. Van-Chi Dang (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Director); Prof. Ha-Van Vu (Percey F. Smith Professor of Mathematics and Data Science at Yale University); Dr. Xuedong Huang (Microsoft CTO); Dr. Padmanabhan Anandan (Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence CEO).
The founders have personally committed an initial amount of US$ 100 million, which would be further enhanced in the future to fund the VinFuture Prize’s resources and administration process, ensuring sustainability of the Foundation’s long-term operations. VinFuture Foundation, an independent, non-profit foundation, will manage the VinFuture Prize. The Advisory Council, which comprises of internationally recognised Vietnamese innovators, researchers, and industry leaders, co-chaired by Prof. Vũ Hà Văn, Yale University, and Prof. Nguyễn Thục Quyên, University of California Santa Barbara, will support the Founder in providing strategic advice to the Foundation.
The Prize is the vision and brainchild of Mr. and Mrs. Phạm. “Creating positive change and having a direct impact on people’s lives — this has always been my purpose — in business and life. The events of 2020 show that now more than ever, we need to bring together extraordinary individuals with good hearts and great minds, who can strive towards realising the power of science and technology in overcoming our toughest global challenges, and improving people’s lives,” said Mr. Phạm Nhật Vượng, regarding his motivations behind conceptualising this prize.
Nominations for the first edition of the Prize will be open from January to June 2021. The names of the selected VinFuture Prize Laureates will be announced on December 2021. The official prize award ceremony will be hosted in Viet Nam in January 2022.