A look back at the first 2023 VinFuture Prize information webinar: Call for Nominations

The event, which was held to encourage potential nominators to put forward suitable entries for the third year of the VinFuture Prize, featured speeches and discussions from Professor Thuc-Quyen Nguyen (Co-chair of the VinFuture Prize Pre-screening Committee) and Professor Daniel Kammen (Member of the VinFuture Prize Council).

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The webinar also featured a special guest appearance from Professor Thalappil Pradeep, the 2022 VinFuture Prize Laureate for Innovators from Developing Countries, who remarked, “The VinFuture Prize celebrates the future – a future transformed by science that has a positive impact on society. In the grand saga of humanity, we have reached where we are today because of transformative science”.

Several prospective nominators and respected scientists sought to understand the nomination criteria for the Grand Prize, valued at US$3 million, to which Professor Thuc-Quyen Nguyen explained, “The Grand Prize should have already demonstrated an impact that has benefited millions of people over the past 10 years and has the potential for even greater and more pervasive impact, leading to meaningful change in the future. We also want to see the continuous and growing impact that will benefit millions of people in the next 10 years.”

In a constantly changing world, it is more important than ever to recognize and celebrate the potential of innovation. Professor Daniel Kammen recently expressed his enthusiasm for the third season of the VinFuture Prize, emphasizing the importance of recognizing even the most overlooked discoveries or inventions that have a positive impact on people’s lives.

He stated, “When we look at our cellphones, the technology we use, we see that some of the innovations in agriculture, for example, don’t receive recognition from many prizes until the VinFuture Prize said, ‘we’re going to look for things that will shape our society forward, not just wonderful things we’ve done in the past.’” These words highlight the importance of acknowledging the potential of innovations around us and how they can help create a better world.

For those seeking inspiration and guidance in their pursuit of the VinFuture Prize, Professor Thalappil Pradeep is an excellent example. His award-winning water filtration system which removes arsenic from groundwater and provides clean water to those in need has earned him international recognition and admiration.

There were several questions about the competitiveness of nominees from developing countries. Professor Pradeep provided a thoughtful answer to these concerns, emphasizing the importance of innovation in developing countries: “The developing world faces a multitude of problems, and all of them are critical for a sustainable world. These problems can only be solved by innovating within the developing world. Imported solutions do not work here. Therefore, it is essential to innovate in this place, even though it may be challenging. This needs to be celebrated so that the world can become a better place.”

Professor Thuc-Quyen Nguyen provided additional comments from her perspective, stating that if someone has to solve challenges with limited resources, then they have to be creative. “I have seen many labs with very limited resources, but they made things work and it was very impressive to me,” said Professor Nguyen.

Professor Pradeep echoed this opinion by citing an old saying: “If the only thing you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And I keep discovering newer and newer things with all the tools.”

To wrap up the webinar, the webinar’s chair and co-chair proceeded to answer viewers’ questions about the nomination process. “Anyone can be a nominator,” confirmed Professor Daniel Kammen. “This allows the Pre-screening Committee, as well as the Prize Council, to think about the people in their institutions or just working alone who have really made a difference both today and going forward. That is how the VinFuture Prize is unique. We can see potential based on your nominations and we go to assess what it might do to society, and try to help those innovators in their careers along.”

The VinFuture Prize has quickly become a symbol of progress, hope, and recognition for scientists, innovators, and visionaries all around the world. Since its inception, the Prize has sought to create a platform for individuals to share their life- changing stories while providing an opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their hard work. With its upcoming webinar in April, the VinFuture Prize continues to honor its mission to encourage scientists around the world to make use of the opportunities available to them and make their voices heard through a submission to the Prize.

The 2023 VinFuture Prize nomination portal will close at 14:00 (GMT+7) on May 15th, 2023. Nominators can submit their nominations at https://online.vinfutureprize.org/nomination.

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