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Scientists excited about VinFuture awards

By Nhu Quynh   January 18, 2022 | 11:14 pm PT
World-leading scientists said they are excited about Vietnam's $4.5 mln VinFuture Prize, one of the world's largest annual awards in science and technology.

Global scientists had gathered in Hanoi on Tuesday for a program called "Conversation with VinFuture Prize Council and Pre-Screening Committee."

Dang Van Chi, director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in the U.S., said he had agreed to join the Prize Council as he realized VinFuture Prize honors scientific works that serve humanity.

"An award that would bring hope to millions of people around the world and Vietnam."

That is why it is different, he said.

Dang Van Chi, director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in the U.S. and Professor Albert Paul Pisano of the University of California at the Conversation with VinFuture Prize Council and Pre-Screening Committee event in Hanoi, January 18, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Nam

Dang Van Chi, director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in the U.S. and Professor Albert Paul Pisano of the University of California at the "Conversation with VinFuture Prize Council and Pre-Screening Committee" event in Hanoi, January 18, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Nam

Returning to Vietnam after 50 years, Chi said he is really proud as Vietnam has pioneered such a "unique award." He is also surprised by the fact that in less than a year, the award has attracted almost 600 applications from scientists on all six continents.

The inaugural VinFuture Prize ceremony will be held on Jan. 20 during VinFuture Sci-tech Week from Jan. 18-21 in Hanoi.

In its inaugural year, VinFuture has received 599 quality nominations from 1,200 nominators in more than 60 countries around the world. Among these, nearly 100 nominations came from the world's top 2 percent most-cited scientists, many of whom are laureates of distinguished awards, including the Nobel Prize, Breakthrough Prize, Tang Prize, Japan Prize, among others. All the nominations were assessed in multiple evaluations and selection rounds by a 12-member, Pre-screening Committee, and then by 11 Prize Council members.

Professor Sir Richard Henry Friend from Cambridge University in the U.K. said he is "excited" about the award and that he highly appreciates all the applications.

Professor Sir Richard Henry Friend from Cambridge University. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Nam

Professor Sir Richard Henry Friend from Cambridge University. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Nam

The award is qualified both in terms of quantity and quality, he said, adding that the scientific connections and discoveries have gone beyond the criteria for nominations.

Nguyen Thuc Quyen from the University of California, the U.S., co-chair of the VinFuture Prize Pre-Screening Committee, said she is proud of the prize, which represents Vietnam and its people, and called it "a wonderful initiative."

Born and raised in a poor and remote village of Vietnam that had no electricity for 16 years, Quyen said she feels that technology does not really benefit the poor and the working class.

Therefore, she thinks what makes this award different is that it would bring innovations that impact the poor.

She also said she feels happy now that the mission and importance of the award has touched the hearts of many people.

Nguyen Thuc Quyen from the University of California. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Nam

Nguyen Thuc Quyen from the University of California. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Nam

Professor Albert Paul Pisano of the University of California said the award recognizes the efforts of scientists who have left positive impacts on the lives of millions of people.

"There are very few awards that could honor and connect scientists right from the step of ideation to implementation and networking," he said.

He added that at first, organizers expected to receive only about 200 applications, but then the actual figure rose three times higher.

"The delicately selected award category is the factor that attracts attention.

"People are the ultimate goal we aim for," and this is the distinction of this award, he said.

VinFuture Prize will celebrate four scientific innovations for humanity: VinFuture Grand Prize valued at $3 million and three special prizes, each valued at $500,000, for female innovators, innovators from developing countries, and innovators with outstanding achievements in emerging fields.

The Prize is a global science and technology award founded by Pham Nhat Vuong, chairman of Vingroup, and his wife, Pham Thu Huong, to recognize groundbreaking scientific discoveries and technological inventions proven to create, or having the potential to create, better changes in the everyday lives of millions of people and foster a sustainable living environment for future generations.

 
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