Vinfuture’s second season has honored 9 scientists and four scientific works in the prize award ceremony on December 20. This year, over 970 nominations from over 70 nations on six continents were submitted to compete for the prize under the theme of “Reviving and Reshaping.”
The Vinfuture Prize was created in 2021 to recognize outstanding scientific breakthroughs and promote innovations. Hosted by the VinFuture Foundation, a unit of VinGroup, it is the first significant international prize founded in Vietnam. Last year, the grand prized was granted to 3 scientists including Katalin Karikó, Drew Weissman and Pieter Cullis for making a significant contribution to the development of mRNA vaccination technology. Additionally, scientists Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim received the award of Developing Country Innovator, while scientists Zhenan Bao and Omar M. Yaghi were recognized as Female Innovator and Developing Country Innovator, respectively.
This year, the four scientific works honored were the breakthroughs that have made global network technology a reality; 3D protein structure prediction using AI system AlphaFold 2; isolation of the Sub1A gene that facilitated the development of submergence tolerant rice; and a low-cost filtration system to remove arsenic and other heavy metals from groundwater.
Accordingly, the Grand Prize, valued at US$3 million, was awarded to scientist Timothy John Berners-Lee, Dr. Vinton Gray Cerf, Dr. Emmanuel Desurvire, Dr. Robert Elliot Kahn and Professor Sir David Neil Payne for their breakthroughs in making global network technology a reality. These innovations forever changed how we live, communicate, and work as well as laid the groundwork for contemporary socioeconomic advancement and upcoming technological innovations.
4 scientists received the grand prize. Photo by VinFuture
Scientist Timothy John Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, wrote the first web browser, and led the design and establishment of three critical internet standards including HTML, HTTP, and URIs. These have made it possible for information resources to be shared and used on the international internet with ease.
Dr. Vinton Gray Cerf and Dr. Robert Elliot Kahn led the design and implementation of the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) which are the basis for the functioning of today’s internet.
Modern global network technology depends on optical fiber communication. its development was made possible by Scientist David Neil Payne’s work in over a five-decade period. Together with the ground-breaking work of Emmanuel Desurvire on Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, his work on fiber design, optical amplifiers, specialty fibers, high-power lasers, and amplifiers made it possible for internet transmission on a global scale due to their ability to boost high-speed optical signals repeatedly.
In addition to the Grand Prize, three Special Prizes, each valued at US$500,000, have been awarded to innovators in emerging fields, female innovators, and innovators from developing countries.
The Special Prize dedicated to “Female Innovators” was awarded to Professor Pamela Christine Ronald for her breakthroughs in isolating the Sub1A gene which facilitated the development of submergence tolerant rice varieties, helping feed millions of people in South and Southeast Asia. In this region of the world, four million tons of rice enough to feed 30 million people is lost to flooding each year.
Professor Pamela Christine Ronald received the prize of Female Innovators. Photo by VinFuture
The Special Prize dedicated to “Innovators from Developing Countries” was awarded to Professor Thalappil Pradeep for his development of a low-cost filtration system to remove arsenic and other heavy metals from groundwater, helping hundreds of millions of people around the world living with contaminated water get access to clean water.
Professor Thalappil Pradeep received the prize of Innovators from Developing Countries
In addition to these above prizes, this year VinFuture added the Special Prize for “Innovators with Outstanding Achievements in Emerging Fields” which was awarded to Dr. Demis Hassabis and Dr. John Jumper for their pioneering work on AlphaFold 2, an artificial intelligence program that has revolutionized the modeling of protein structures, accelerating advances in biomedicine, health, and agriculture.
Commenting on the results of the VinFuture Prize, Professor Sir Richard Friend, VinFuture Prize Council Chair, stated “The scientific works awarded are all research projects that have changed, and are continuing to change the lives of billions of people, and will serve as a strong foundation for sustainable development in the future. The VinFuture Prize Council is honored to award brilliant scientific minds for their outstanding innovations. It is my hope that the prize will contribute to promoting scientific research, create more breakthroughs that can positively impact society, and help build a better life for everyone. This is a mission and responsibility that we take very seriously.”
Right after the second season closed its chapter, the third cycle of the VinFuture Prize – The 2023 season started. VinFuture Prize 2023 will aim to honor scientific and technological inventions or initiatives that contribute to building a “resilient and revolutionary” world. The VinFuture Prize will officially call for nominations starting at 7:00 am (EST) January 9th and running until 7:00 am (EST) on May 15th, 2023.
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