A. ABOUT THE VINFUTURE FOUNDATION

The events of 2020 – particularly the ongoing pandemic – indicate that more than ever before we need to inspire and support the brightest minds across the world to focus on using science and technology to solve the toughest global challenges.

It is with this context that the VinFuture Foundation came into being, with a mission to positively impact the everyday lives of millions of people across the world through science and technology. The core component of the foundation is the VinFuture Prize, which honors exceptional minds across the world, whose breakthrough scientific research and techno- logical innovations have the potential to create meaningful change at scale through improvements in people’s health, prosperity, productivity, and living conditions, as well as by promoting resilient, sustainable, and equitable growth and development.

The establishment of the VinFuture Foundation is a sign of Vietnam’s continued commitment to inclusive development driven by technological innovations. It aims to inspire talent from all backgrounds to reach higher, take inspiration from the best minds across the world, and contribute to the advancement of humanity.

The VinFuture Foundation strives to uphold four core values:

Equity: We hope to leverage the power of science and technology to serve marginalized communities, and provide equal opportunities to individuals regardless of gender, social status, or nationality.

Global Reach: We focus on technologies that have an impact or the potential to create a positive impact on a large-scale, by reaching billions of people across the world.

Sustainability: Sustainability is ingrained in our ethos, as technological innovations have the power to improve lives whilst preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations.

Pioneering: We aim to reward breakthrough research and technological innovations and support young researchers early on in their journeys to help them realize their fullest potential.

B. ABOUT THE VINFUTURE PRIZE

The Prize reinforces the idea of a holistic interdisciplinary approach for eligible areas within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields and focus on research topics rather than specific focused fields. The research/invention/innovations of the nominee(s) will need to have proven real-life impacts for the Grand Prize or the potentials to make real-life impacts for the Special Prizes that help solve real-world problems for millions of people which align with at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The VinFuture Prize is managed by the VinFuture Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Vietnam, which was set up with an initial endowment of VND 2,000 billion (~US$ 100 million) from Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong, the Founder and Chairman of Vingroup JSC, a technology, industry, and services company in Vietnam, and his wife, Madam Pham Thu Huong.

The VinFuture Prize pledges US$ 4.5 million annually to reward breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations. The VinFuture Prize consists of a Grand prize valued at US$3 million and 03 special VinFuture Prizes valued at US$500,000 each. The special prizes will be awarded for the following

The VinFuture Prize pledges US$ 4.5 million annually to reward breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations. The VinFuture Prize consists of a Grand prize valued at US$3 million and 03 special VinFuture Prizes valued at US$500,000 each. The special prizes will be awarded for the following categories:

VinFuture Special Prize for Innovators from Developing Countries: Dedicated to an exceptional researcher or innovator currently working in a developing country institute. A list of developing countries by the United Nations is available here.

VinFuture Special Prize for Female Innovators: Dedicated to outstanding female researcher(s) or innovator(s)

VinFuture Special Prize for Innovators with Outstanding Achievements in Emerging Fields: Awarded for research or innovations that are in an emerging field that has the potential to create positive changes for humanity. The specific emerging field would be decided by the Prize Council annually.

The prize can be shared, and it may be shared between people from different fields if contributions from different fields are necessary to deliver global benefit. Therefore, there may be people from one institution or from several institutions with different backgrounds, fields, and contributions solving the same problem. The Foundation and the Prize Council do not put an upper limit on the number of winners for a prize.

Yes, since the VinFuture Prizes are annual prizes, they are given every year.

C. NOMINATION CRITERIA

The key criteria for nominations are as below:

There should be clear evidence, or potential, for an end-product or service based on the solution, which has an everyday practical application;

Solutions should have already benefited millions of people in the past 10 years for the Grand Prize, or have the potential to benefit millions of people in the next 10 years for the Special;

Solutions should be aligned with one or more of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals;

Solutions must be scientifically proven (i.e., there should be clear evidence of passing relevant scientific trials, and in the case of research, it must be empirically proven or widely reviewed);

Nominations are open to researchers or inventors who were/have been involved in developing the underlying solutions, and not entrepreneurs or corporates who helped/have helped in the commercialization/ diffusion of the technology;

End-products of the research should benefit people globally, including those from developing and less developed countries, as well as lower-income and disadvantaged communities;

Nominations are open to individuals or teams of researchers/inventors;

Preference for nominees in the active stages of their careers;

The same individual/team can be nominated for one or more of the VinFuture Special Prizes if eligible.

Additional criteria for identifying relevant solutions eligible for nomination include: Research/Solution/Invention can be underpinned in any discipline of science, engineering, or technology, including potentially multi-disciplinary approaches.

This prize is awarded only to researchers or innovators working in a developing country organization. In case of a nomination involving a team, then all the team members should be working in developing country(ies). The center of gravity of their work should be in developing countries.

The list of the developing countries can be found HERE.

This prize is awarded only to female researchers or innovators, with no restriction on nationality, age, social status, or economic background of the nominees. For collaboration involving male researchers, only female researchers or innovators will be awarded.

Solutions must be underpinned in an emerging field that is selected by the Prize Council annually. For the year 2020-21, the emerging field(s) will be decided by the Prize Council as they review the shortlisted nominations.

D. NOMINATORS

The roles and responsibilities of Nominators include:

Nominating outstanding researchers/inventors (nominees/group of nominees) in science, engineering, technology, or multi-disciplinary approaches to the Grand Prize and three Special Prizes for Developing Country Innovators, Female Innovators, and Outstanding Achievements in Emerging Fields. These nominees are people whose breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations have impacted or will potentially impact the everyday lives of millions of people.

Submitting the nomination using our nomination portal (https://online.vinfutureprize.org/nomination). In the nomination form, Nominators will be asked to provide inputs on how the nominated research/solution/invention fulfills the nomination criteria, as part of their rationale for submitting the nomination.

Providing additional information or clarification as requested by the Prize Council through the Secretariat, if any.

The VinFuture Prize accepts both organizational/institutional nominators and individual nominators. Eligible nominators come from recognized organizations such as universities, research institutes or centers, academies of science and technology, scientific associations or networks, corporations and industries, innovation incubators, and prominent individuals in the related areas.

 

VinFuture Prize is accepting nominations from both invited nominators as well as nominators who did not receive invitation letters from the VinFuture Prize, provided that they meet the criteria approved by the VinFuture Foundation. We would also note that organizational/institutional and individual nominators are both acceptable, but self-nominations are not.

If you are interested in nominating but have not received an invitation, please contact us at secretariat@vinfutureprize.org for further assistance or simply create an account on our online nomination portal to begin the nomination process.

Yes, you can nominate researchers/inventors from your own organization, provided that the nominated project/solution does not include yourself in the team. You can definitely nominate prominent researchers/inventors anywhere in the world if their breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations have impacted or will potentially impact the everyday lives of millions of people.

Follow-up emails may be needed for additional information requested by the Prize Council, operated through the Secretariat. Meetings and travels are not required.

As a matter of avoiding all conflicts of interest, we do not accept relatives of the Prize Council and the Pre-Screening Committee to serve as Nominators. However, we would be grateful if you could refer other qualified researchers and inventors to become nominators for the VinFuture Prize.

Self-nominations are not accepted. You may nominate a research group on behalf of an organization or institution as long as you are not a member of the nominated team. Additionally, you may nominate scientists within the same research organization as long as you are not collaborating on the nominated project with them.

That is acceptable as long as you are not submitting your own nomination.

E. NOMINEES

Yes, and such nominations are encouraged if they meet the criteria of VinFuture Prize. Prior recognition from other organizations or institutions has no bearing on the eligibility of a nomination and confers no advantage over other nominations. Please notice that VinFuture Prize’s eligibility and evaluation criteria are distinct from those used by other awards.

No. In this situation, if your institution nominates a group of scientists within your institution, that will not be considered as self-nomination.

A Prize may be awarded to a group of scientists or an individual scientist. Unlike the Nobel Prize, which limits the number of recipients for any of their prizes to three (3), VinFuture Prize has no such restriction. Science is collaborative in nature, and breakthrough discoveries are frequently the result of a team’s collective efforts. As such, we have decided to honor all key contributors. The inaugural VinFuture Grand Prize was, in fact, shared by three scientists from diverse fields, all of whom contributed to the extraordinary development of mRNA vaccines. We shall note that while an organization may be associated with breakthrough research, we are more interested in the team of scientists who are directly engaged and contribute to the project, rather than the institution itself.

It would be most helpful if nominators can really help by identifying all those who have made essential contributions to the innovation. It would be much more helpful if the nominator does provide as much information as possible so that we definitely do not miss important contributions from another team. Therefore, the nomination can certainly be for several groups of people or individuals working in different countries.

VinFuture Prize focuses on science, engineering, and technology. The fundamental focus of the research must be inventions related to science as in STEM.

Yes. We hope to see more of these nominations in the future, as the evaluation process is highly rigorous, and we value the perspectives of multiple nominators. Therefore, you do not have to contact the nominee(s) for this matter. We shall note that nominations with a single nominator are equally welcome. Our team will exercise additional diligence and commitment to evaluating such nominations.

The VinFuture Prize is focused on individuals or small groups, therefore, you cannot nominate a country for the Prize. However, you are more than welcome to nominate deserving individuals/groups from your country to be considered for the next Laureates of the VinFuture Prize.

Yes, the same person can be nominated for more than one annual VinFuture Prize.

Yes. We hold each nomination in the highest regards, and as such, we encourage all nominations regardless of the nominee(s)’ country of origin, background , religious belief or social status.

Yes. There are no distinctions made between young, emerging, or established scientists; awards are made on the basis of the impact of the research on humanity and society. We are committed to supporting scientists from all backgrounds, regardless of their nationality, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. Indeed, we are expanding our support for scientists from developing countries whose work can demonstrate a (potential) global impact.

F. NOMINATION PROCESS

We require personal information about the nominator(s) and nominee(s), a description and evaluation of the research being nominated, and at least one (01) letter of endorsement. Additional optional documents may include, but are not limited to: the nominee’s curriculum vitae, a list of relevant publications, patents and intellectual property, products, and a list of former awards/recognitions. All of these requirements and detailed instructions can be found in our online portal.

You can access the nomination form on our online portal. We recommend that you download the most recent version and work on it offline, as each question has a word count limit, and there may be some updated questions that require more time to work on. The evaluation criteria are available on our official website for your review. Nonetheless, we shall emphasize that the nomination’s most critical components are the significance of the nominated technologies/innovations and their impact.

In the nomination form, we allow up to 10 spots to upload the files for the supporting documents. It does not mean that nominators will have to upload all 10 files.  You can leave them blank if you do not have any other additional documents to upload.

 

The letter of support should come from the nominator. And the letters of endorsement would come from up to three endorsers who know the nominee’s work very well.

There is core information that we do require such as the discovery/invention and the impact. At the same time, there is additional information, which will be helpful to us. We would not want to discourage a nominator from submitting a nomination due to the challenge of finding endorsers. If we can have more information from the endorsement, that will be helpful, but it is not essential.

You should select the country where the nominee currently lives and works if you are not sure of their nationality or if they have dual citizenship.

If you want to nominate someone for the Special Prize for Innovators from Developing Countries then both the research and the scientist who conducts the research must be from a developing country. If you want to nominate a candidate for the Grand Prize or other Special Prizes, where s/he comes from will not matter.

Yes, it is if the research breakthrough was carried out in the developing country.

If two people working in the same field are nominated for discovery or breakthrough, that will be counted as one nomination. That nomination has two nominees.

It would be very helpful for us if we have a fuller context of the trajectory from early inspiration and discovery through to maybe completely critical and innovative implementation phases. We encourage you as a nominator to provide us as much information as possible.

The VinFuture Foundation keeps the information about the nominations confidential. While we leave it to the nominators to decide, we encourage the nominators to keep their nominations confidential as well. We do not have a specific requirement or control from our side. Therefore, it is at the nominators’ discretion to contact the nominees to ask for their consent.

While having a granted patent or patentable research is appealing, it is not a requirement for nomination and shall not give a competitive advantage over other nominations. Nonetheless, we strongly recommend nominators include any novel patents as supporting documents if there are any.

VinFuture is an annual prize. If you cannot make it to this year’s deadline, then the nominations submitted after the deadline this year will be considered for the VinFuture Prize of the following year.

We will keep it for three years. However, we may reach out to the nominator to see if he/she would like to update the nomination or provide additional information.

Yes, you can nominate the same person for this year’s Prize. But you must update the nomination documents since the 2022 nomination form has new features and contents.

You may include as many innovations and technologies in a single nomination as you see fit. Please keep in mind that the number of qualified innovations or technologies will not be a determining factor in the evaluation process, as we place a much stronger emphasis on the nomination’s impact and potential to change people’s lives.

Yes, and such nominations are strongly encouraged as long as they have the potential to make a significant positive change and improvements for the global community. Excellent nominations are most often incredibly impactful. Our Pre-Screening Committee and Council members are adept at evaluating nominations that fall outside their areas of expertise. Furthermore, we do seek opinion from outside experts.

No. It is entirely up to you whether to nominate in the 2022 round. We strongly advise you to begin the process soon, even if you are missing some mandatory information. Our team is available to assist you throughout the process. And we will notify you if additional information is required.

Each nominator is eligible to submit a maximum of four nominations, one for each Prize category. Ensure to include all key contributors who, in your opinion, qualify as co-winners in the proposed category.

It depends on your familiarity with the nominated research: the more familiar you are, the less time is necessary. There are mandatory and optional information sections on the nomination form; completing just the mandatory fields should not take a considerable amount of time. We encourage that you complete the nomination form even if you lack sufficient information at the time, as our team is happy to follow up later if extra information is required.

You may submit any documents, files, or media that you believe would strengthen your nomination, and there are no limitations on the number of supporting materials you may include. Additional supporting materials are valuable for our Prize Council and Pre-Screening Committee in the decision-making process.

Our online nomination form is simple and convenient to use. The system saves your work automatically as you work through it and also keeps track of the word count. If you prefer to work on the nomination form offline, a soft copy is available for download at https://bit.ly/VFPNominationForm. We can also send the form to you by email; just notify us at secretariat@vinfutureprize.org.

Yes, in part. As you can see, our Prize Council and Pre-Screening Committee are composed of people from different backgrounds and disciplines. As such, we also look for respectable endorsers who are either active science supporters or scientists themselves. Even for endorsers who are distinguished scientists, we require a clear and credible explanation of either proven impacts or a description of potential impact.

G. EVALUATION PROCESS

We have a team comprising of the Prize Council, the Pre-screening Committee, and the foundation secretariat to reach out and do rigorous investigations. We will also invite external council members to provide their opinion in that area of expertise to ensure the validity and accuracy of the claims. 

There are different ways to measure the impact of an innovation. Sometimes, the impact can be measured in terms of citations, publications, or reports. However, in other cases, it is measured by the real-life impact the innovation brings about.  For example, with the Covid vaccine discovery, the impact is substantial and the discovery really changes the world. Or else, a breakthrough in agriculture can lead to better crops and provide more food for people. Those inventions may not have an impact in terms of citations, but they can impact the lives of people.

In such a case, please pick as many relevant SDGs as possible. We do not set limits on how many SDGs you can choose for a nominated invention.

If there is a need for clarification, the Secretariat may contact the nominator.

“Emerging field” is any field that is non-traditional and its researchers may come from different disciplines. In other words, when multiple disciplines are combined to merge and to form something new, that is what we mean by “emerging fields.” Some examples of emerging fields are Quantum Computing or Neuromorphic Computing, Bioelectronics, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Biometrics, Quantum Biology, Bioengineering, etc.

What the Foundation looks for is breakthrough scientific discoveries that should be affordable and impactful for many people, especially those from developing countries. It does not matter if the breakthrough is a lifetime achievement or a single scientific publication.

Yes if they have shown impacts on people’s daily lives. We highlight once again that impact is the most critical component of the evaluation criteria, as this is what distinguishes the VinFuture Prize from the Nobel Prize.

The VinFuture Foundation, our Pre-Screening Committee and Prize Council aren’t looking for any particular issues. What we are looking for is any innovation that has an impact on millions of people. For example, in the case of last year’s Grand Prize Laureates, we certainly cannot overlook the impact of mRNA technology and vaccines on the state of the world. We are keeping an open mind about the areas that the nominations can come from, as long as the innovation can convince the Pre-Screening Committee and Prize Council that it is deserving.

The time period in which the nominated innovations/technologies were created will have no direct impact on the evaluation process. We place a much stronger emphasis on the impact and potential to transform people’s lives now and in the future. As a result, nominators are advised to include detailed information about the nomination’s impact and potential to transform humanity.

We define impact as both current and potential. Thus, research that will have an impact in the future but has not yet been realized is most welcome. We have created a special category for such nominations, titled “For Innovators with Outstanding Achievement in Emerging Fields.” We will remind you that such nominations must also address one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For example, a “qualified-for-nomination” research may focus on developing more affordable food supplies; in that case, the potential solutions can help achieve Goal 2: Zero Hunger, thereby affecti61. ng millions of people living in poverty.

We welcome inventions, innovations, ongoing research, and studies that are impactful and have the potential to change the lives of millions or billions of people. We make no restrictions on the finality of the research that is nominated.

No. There is no bias against any country or any other category. When we choose prize winners, we consider their work’s impact and potential to transform humanity. We remain objective in our evaluations and do not discriminate on the basis of a nominee’s background, country of origin, or religious belief. The Foundation adheres to the highest academic and professional standards when evaluating nominations.

We place the greatest emphasis on the nominations’ impact. However, in some cases, modest impact in the development stage or promissing potential impact on millions or billions of people in the future should be considered in the VinFuture review process.

We put a great emphasis on the impact on humanity. We believe that science should be affordable and accessible to all people, and the benefits should not just pertain to a particular group or class of people. While we recognize that technology and research have the potential to generate enormous economic rewards, VinFuture Prize still puts humanity at the heart of its mission.

The theme is set out to honor outstanding scientific innovations that can help reimagine post-pandemic life and stimulate sustainable development. We do not exclude nominations that fall outside of this scope since we are always on the lookout for exciting scientific research that can benefit humanity in the long run. We are more interested in nominations that have a (potential) impact on a large scale, thereby benefiting the lives of billions of people.

Yes. We expect to get many outstanding submissions on the topic of environmental research, since this is a significant and complex global issue that requires a considerable multidisciplinary scientific effort. We shall note as well that, while VinFuture Prize nominations must coincide with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we make no distinction between countries when it comes to environmental studies. In addition, although proven impacts are required for the Grand Prize, potential impacts are acceptable for the Special Prize categories.

Emerging Fields are defined as fields with new technologies or innovative breakthroughs that can demonstrate the potential to address global issues and create a positive impact on humanity and society. While the impact of such research may not be immediate, it should be anticipated within the next 10-20 years.

While we understand the impact and significance of such research, VinFuture Prize is primarily dedicated to recognizing innovative research and technological breakthroughs in STEM.

H. CONFLICT OF INTEREST - CONFIDENTIALITY

It is always helpful for us if the nominator states in the letter the relationship between him/her to the nominee, whether he/she is a former student or someone the nominator admires from afar. The Prize Council will look carefully at why somebody might have made a nomination.

We do not make the list of nominations public. This is a standard procedure for many global prizes.

No, you cannot serve as a nominator and be a member of the research team that you nominate. This is a conflict of interest.

Due to the high volume of nominations received, we are unable to provide feedback on individual submissions. Scores and assessments are kept strictly confidential. This should not, however, restrict you from re-submitting the nominations if you believe there has been a significant proven impact from the nominations. Please notice that the nomination form has been revised this year to include additional information fields, so remember to log into your account and complete the updated mandatory fields.

Similar to other global prizes, we place a high value on confidentiality and will keep the identities of all nominators and nominees anonymous. You can contact the individuals and/or group of scientists you are nominating to obtain additional information.

Yes. We expect to get many outstanding submissions on the topic of environmental research, since this is a significant and complex global issue that requires a considerable multidisciplinary scientific effort. We shall note as well that, while VinFuture Prize nominations must coincide with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we make no distinction between countries when it comes to environmental studies. In addition, although proven impacts are required for the Grand Prize, potential impacts are acceptable for the Special Prize categories.

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