Skip to main content

ASPIRE Prize 2018

Last page update:

The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (“ASPIRE”) is an annual award which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to both excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies.

The ASPIRE Prize supports APEC’s mission to:

  • Strengthen international science and technology networks;
  • Enhance economic growth, trade and investment opportunities in harmony with sustainable development, through policies, innovative R&D and technologies, and knowledge sharing;
  • Improve linkages and efficiency between research and innovation.

ASPIRE 2018: Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies

Each year, the chairing APEC member economy provides a theme for the ASPIRE Prize.  In 2018, Papua New Guinea selects "Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies” as the ASPIRE theme. This theme focuses on how scientists are capitalizing on smart technologies and digital platforms to provide better health care access and services across the APEC region. 

Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies in subjects such as: biomedical technology, healthcare supply chains, pharmaceutical technology, point-of-care systems, wearable technology, self-help devices, artificial gene fusion, medical Informatics, cell surface display techniques, robotics, nanomedicine, 3D printing and continuous manufacturing, blockchain technology and other relevant fields.


Any citizen of an APEC member economy is eligible to be nominated for the ASPIRE Prize.  He/she must be living at the time of his/her nomination and be under the age of 40 as of 31 December of that year (i.e., all 2018 nominees must be under the age of 40 as of 31 December 2018). 


Each APEC member economy, through its representative in the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI),  is invited to nominate one young scientist under the age of 40 to be considered for the ASPIRE Prize. 

Individually qualified applicants are encouraged to complete the “Local Nomination Form” and send it to PPSTI Program Director Ms. Zhongzhen LIU ([email protected]) by 13 April 2018 so it may be directed toward local economy reviewers.

Once nominations are received, PPSTI members rank the nominees through a selection ballot to determine the winner. PPSTI members are asked to judge the nominees based on how well they have demonstrated:

  • Excellence in scientific research, as evidenced through scholarly publication;
  • Commitment to cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies;
  • Contribution to the 2018 ASPIRE theme of “Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies.”  

The winner will be recognized at an award ceremony during the 12th APEC PPSTI Meeting in Papua New Guinea scheduled for August 2018.


Wiley and Elsevier, two of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge, have committed to funding USD25,000 in prize money.



2017: New Material Technologies—Dr Yanwu Zhu (China)

Dr. Yanwu Zhu of China was awarded the 2017 ASPIRE Prize in Ha Noi by Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Viet Nam, Tran Quoc Khanh. Dr. Zhu is a Professor at the University of Science and Technology of China where he researches the fields of nanomaterials and specifically new carbon materials. His publications have been widely cited and his research with other APEC scientists has been applied in large-scale production of graphene materials. Read news release here.
Read news release here.



2016: Technologies for Food Security—Dr Hua Kuang (China)

Dr. Hua Kuang of China was awarded the 2016 ASPIRE Prize in Lima by Dr. Gisella Orjeda, President of the Peruvian National Council for Science, Technology and Technological Innovative (CONCYTEC). Dr. Kuang is a Professor at Jiangnan University’s School of Food Science and Technology in Wuxi, China, where she works with researchers in other APEC economies to develop low-cost biosensors that detect food sanitation hazards. Her patented technologies have been used to improve food safety for millions in China and elsewhere.
Read news release here.



2015: Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability—Dr Jong-Seong Kug (Republic of Korea)

Dr. Jong-Seong Kug was awarded the 2015 ASPIRE Prize in Manila by Secretary Mario Montejo of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology. Dr. Kug is an Associate Professor at Pohang University of Science and Technology’s School of Environmental Science and Engineering in Korea, and his El Niño prediction model has helped the Korea Meteorological Administration better understand tropical climate dynamics, and forecast and track extreme weather—an area that addressed Philippines’ theme of “Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability.”
Read news release here.

Aspire2014 Winner  

2014: Intelligent Transportation--Dr Agachai Sumalee (Hong Kong, China)

Dr. Agachai Sumalee, a Thai professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, was awarded the 2014 ASPIRE Prize by Cai Jianlin, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology. China selected the theme of “Intelligent Transportaion”to reflect China’s interest in facilitating green and sustainable growth, environmental protection and low-carbon economies. Dr. Sumalee designed a model in collaboration with researchers from across the APEC region that allows highway managers to predict traffic conditions and prevent congestion. This led to ground breaking road traffic management system that slashed commuting times in the greater Bangkok area.
Read news release here
Read featured article here.


2013: Sustainable Ocean Development—Dr Carissa Klein (Australia)

Dr. Carissa Klein of Australia was awarded the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) by Gusti M. Hatta, Indonesia’s Minister of Research and Technology. Dr. Klein’s selection is a result of her research with the University of Queensland that uniquely addresses the issue of sustainable ocean development by striking a balance between biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic viability.
Read news release here


2012: Health Innovation—Dr Rossa Wai Kwun Chiu (Hong Kong, China)

Russia selected health innovation as its 2012 ASPIRE nominating theme, building on its desire that APEC actively foster cooperation among economies in major innovation areas, such as human health, to support healthy lifestyles, productivity and economic growth. Dr. Chiu’s groundbreaking research and innovations in chemical pathology has brought non-invasive prenatal diagnosis of fetal genetic diseases into routine clinical use around the world.
Read news release here


2011: Green Growth—Dr Ali Javey (United States)

The United States selected green growth as its ASPIRE nominating theme, building on its desire that APEC actively promote environmentally sustainable economic growth and development, and help economies successfully transition to a clean energy future. Dr. Javey’s innovative work with nanomaterials has made great strides in developing a new generation of solar energy technology and reducing energy consumption in "green electronics."
Read news release here