31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Jan 21, 2022 / 09:17

Vietnam-founded VinFuture Prize becomes world biggest award for scientists

The annual prize with value tripling the Nobel Prize is aimed to rewards breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations with humanitarian outcomes.

A VinFuture Grand Prize worth US$3 million founded by Vietnamese millionaire Pham Nhat Vuong and his wife becomes the world’s biggest annual science award, tripling the Nobel Prize.

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the inaugural VinFuture Prize award ceremony in Hanoi on Jan 20. Photos: VGP, Vingroup

Three special prizes each valued at $500,000 are dedicated to Female Innovators, Innovators from Developing Countries, and Innovators with Outstanding Achievements in Emerging Fields.

At the award ceremony held at the Hanoi Opera House on January 20, the VinFuture Grand Prize worth $3 million was given to three scientists for their work on mRNA technology, which paved the way for effective Covid-19 vaccines.

Hungarian-American biochemist Katalin Kariko, American physician-scientist Drew Weissman, and British-Canadian physicist and biochemist Pieter Rutter Cullis were awarded the VinFuture Grand Prize in the event attended by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The VinFuture Special Prize honors inventors of core mRNA vaccine technology; metal-organic frameworks (MOFs); flexible semiconductors with the sensing properties of human skin; and tenofovir gel for the prevention of HIV.

A VinFuture Special Prize for Innovators from Developing Countries was bestowed to a pair of South African scientists Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim for the research on Tenofovir gel, a product for women to prevent HIV infection.

A VinFuture Special Prize for Female Innovators was given to Chinese-American scientist Zhenan Bao for her research on “electronic skins” capable of stretching, healing like normal skins, and is biodegradable.

A VinFuture Special Prize for Outstanding Achievements in Emerging Fields is granted to Jordanian-American scientist Omar M.Yaghi for his work on discovering MOFs (water and material science).

Prize with the council of renowned scientists

VinFuture Prize: “Science for Humanity”, a new global science award, aims to inspire innovators to create meaningful change for millions of people around the world.

The inaugural VinFuture Sci-Tech Week taking place on January 18-21 2022 in Hanoi focuses on four key highlights: the Conversation with the Prize Council and Pre-screening Committee; the “Science for life” Symposium; the inaugural VinFuture Award Ceremony; and the Scientific Dialogue with the inaugural VinFuture Prize Laureates.

This annual event will lead the way in positioning Vietnam as a new destination for global science and technology.

In its inaugural year, the VinFuture Prize received 599 nominations from over 66 countries across six continents. All nominations were evaluated by the Pre-screening Committee and the Prize Council.

The Pre-screening Committee is co-chaired by Prof. Albert P. Pisano, University of California, San Diego, co-inventor of more than 20 patents in micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and co-author of more than 300 archival publications; co-chaired by Prof. Nguyen Thuc Quyen, University of California, Santa Barbara, who has been one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds for many years and is among the Top 1% Highly Cited Researchers in the world.

The VinFuture Prize Council, which consists of 11 globally renowned scientists and innovators, is chaired by Prof. Sir Richard Henry Friend, a 2010 Laureate of the Millennium Technology Prize and owner of more than 20 patents.

Ten other distinguished members of the Prize Council include: Nobel Prize Laureate Gérard Albert Mourou, École Polytechnique Palaiseau, France; Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Sir Kostya S. Novoselov, University of Manchester; Prof. Michael Porter, Harvard University – recipient of 26 honorary doctorates and author of “the Competitive Advantage of Nations” theory; Laureate of the A.M. Turing Award Prof. Leslie Valiant, Harvard University; Pascale Cossart, Pasteur Institute of Paris, recipient of the FEMS-Lwoff Award; Dang Van Chi, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, chair of the US National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors; Prof. Vu Ha Van, Yale University, Scientific Director of VinBigdata Institute, recipient of the Polya Prize from the Society of Applied and Industrial Mathematics; Prof. Jennifer Tour Chayes, University of California, Berkeley, co-inventor of approximately 30 patents; Dr Padmanabhan Anandan, Chairman of the Governing Board at Telangana AI Mission (T-AIM) Graphic with more than 15,000 citations on Google Scholar in computer vision; and Dr Xuedong David Huang, CTO at Microsoft, one of “25 Geniuses Who Are Creating the Future of Business”.

With world-renowned scientists in participation, the award ceremony also marks the performance of Grammy-award winner John Legend and Vietnamese pianist, winner of the Chopin Competition Dang Thai Son.

The award ceremony was broadcast live on Vietnam Television (VTV), CNN, CNBC, Euronews, and TechNode.

The second cycle of the VinFuture Prize has now started, immediately following the conclusion of the inaugural VinFuture Award Ceremony. The VinFuture Foundation will open the nomination portal from February 15 running until June 3, 2022.

 Vietnam's PM Pham Minh Chinh (3rd left) and winners of VinFuture Grand Prize: Pieter Rutter Cullis (1st left), Drew Weissman, and Katalin Kariko.  
Chinese-American scientist Zhenan Bao, winner of VinFuture Special Prize, and Prof. Sir Richard Henry Friend, chairman of the VinFuture Prize Council. 
 Winner of VinFuture Special Prize Jordanian-American scientist Omar M.Yaghi.
Winners of VinFuture Special Prize South African scientists and couple Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim. 
 Grammy-award John Legend, American singer, songwriter, and producer performs at the award ceremony. 
 Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son, winner of the Chopin Competition.
 Art performance featuring Vietnam's Ao Dai at the ceremony.