'Really interesting and exciting nominations' in inaugural year: VinFuture Prize Council Chair

Update: June, 22/2021 - 10:04

VinFuture Foundation officially announced the closing of its Call for Nominations for VinFuture Prize early this June. This global sci-tech award attracted nearly 600 applications including scientific achievements, innovations and inventions with significant contribution to the human development from many recognized organizations and individuals across the globe.

Dr. Le Mai Lan, Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup and Designated Representative of the VinFuture Foundation introduce the VinFuture in a webinar in April, 2021. — Vingroup photo.

There have been favourable responses from representatives of the Harvard University (USA), National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA), Max Planck Society (Germany) and University of Tokyo (Japan), etc.

Professor Sir Richard Henry Friend, who holds the Cavendish Professorship of Physics at the University of Cambridge (UK), Chairman of the VinFuture Prize Council said: “I am really impressed by the very constructive response from the nominators. We clearly have a broad set of really interesting and exciting nominations. I think there has been real enthusiasm from nominators across the whole world about this prize. That is certainly the impression I have picked up from the enquiries I have received. The connection between science discovery and real impact on everyday lives is really welcomed.”

Dr. Le Mai Lan, Vice Chairwoman of Vingroup and Designated Representative of the VinFuture Foundation said three main factors that brought initial success for the Prize were introduction at the right time, meeting the right demand and right persons.

“The Prize has been introduced whilst we are facing global challenges. VinFuture continues looking for well-deserved and impactful scientific innovations and solutions that bring not just purely academic research significance but also changes to humanity. Perhaps that is why VinFuture has attracted attention of the scientific community, including scientists from remote places, disadvantaged groups, and fields of little interest," said Ms. Lan.

Introduced in the context of global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, VinFuture Prize also attracted many topical and humanistic nominations. The foundation's representative also added that nominations this year address many pressing health and human health issues, notably methods to prevent and treat infectious diseases on a global scale. Moreover, the development of clean energy, sustainable agriculture, ensuring food security, hunger eradication and poverty reduction, application of artificial intelligence and big data, rebuilding the world after the pandemic, etc., are also focused on by many scientists.

Dr. Mai Lan affirmed that human is the prerequisites for the success of the first call for nominations of the Prize. “We are so lucky and grateful that members of the Prize Council and Pre-screening Committee are experts from academia, research and industry. We have a Secretariat and dedicated associates to support and answer questions of thousands of scientists working in all time zones across the globe in a timely and accurate manner."

Nominations will be reviewed by a twelve-member Pre-Screening Committee – prominent scientists and experts from various disciplines and countries – who will present the shortlisted candidates to the Prize Council in August 2021. After that, the Prize Council led by Prof. Friend will conduct an independent evaluation of the candidates.  The final results will be officially announced on December 20th, 2021.

Regarding the criteria for evaluation, Prof. Friend emphasizes that one of the key criteria is the global impact of the research, inventions and innovations. Additionally, the Prize Council also focuses on all stages of the application of science to life, from the idea concept to research, development, patenting and commercialization.  

“I think that science and technology play a very central role in the development of both economies and societies. The scientific approach has underpinned huge increases in living standards and has allowed unprecedented access to education for all.  It does support new businesses, and it does also inform societies about steps that have to be taken in the future.”, said Prof. Friend. VNS