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; and
- improve linkages and efficiency between research and innovation.
ASPIRE 2020: BIODIVERSITY FOR A PROSPEROUS ECONOMY
Each year the APEC host economy is asked to provide a theme to guide nominations for the ASPIRE Prize to be awarded in their host year. For its host year of 2020, Malaysia selects “Biodiversity for a Prosperous Economy” as the ASPIRE nominating theme. Biodiversity is foundational for human health as it underpins the functioning of our ecosystems and dependence for food and water, climate, floods and disease, and more. This theme focuses on scientists’ contributions to biodiversity for prosperous economies across the APEC region by spurring research that contributes to local livelihoods, both traditional and modern medicines, and economic development.
Each member economy, through its representative on 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 2020 ASPIRE Prize. Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies in subjects such as: biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics, 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 2020 nominees must be under the age of 40 as of 31 December 2020).
Each member economy, through its representative on 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. Eva Nakamura ([email protected]) by 15 May 2020 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; and
- Contribution to the theme of “Biodiversity for a Prosperous Economy.”
The winner will be recognized at an award ceremony during the 16th APEC PPSTI Meeting in Malaysia tentatively scheduled for August 2020.
ASPIRE PRIZE SPONSORS
Wiley and Elsevier, two of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge, have committed to funding prize money in the amount of $25,000 USD.
ASPIRE PRIZE WINNERS
2019: Smart Technolgies for Healthy Societies
Dr. Yun Hau NG was awarded the 2019 ASPIRE Prize in Puerto Varas, Chile by Dr. Nicole Ehrenfeld, Director, Scientific Initiative Millennium, Ministry of Economy, Chile. Dr. Ng is an associate professor at the School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, China. His research is focused on the development of highly efficient photocatalytic systems to mimic natural photosynthesis to produce clean hydrogen from water. In short, he uses sunlight to split water into clean hydrogen. Read news release here.
2018: Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies
Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran of Australia was awarded the 2018 ASPIRE Prize in Port Moresby by Hon. Pila Niningi, Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology of Papau New Guinea. Dr. Bhaskaran is a professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia where her work transforms the way we imagine, use and interact with electronic devices and sensors. She has developed ways to combine functional oxide materials processed at high temperatures with elastic and plastic materials. Her work has led to the development of wearable elastic electronics and sensors, including gas and UV sensors and flat optical devices—all of which are stretchable, optically transparent and as thin as a nicotine patch.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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."