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Science Prizes in China You Should Know About

There is hardly any person in the world who hasn’t heard of the Nobel Prize.

As Alfred Nobel defined, the purpose of the prize was to award “for the greatest benefit to humankind”. From this year’s laureates Syukuro Manabe and Benjamin List to the greatest minds of humankind such as Albert Einstein, Pavlov, Pierre and Marie Curie – the Nobel Prize celebrates the triumphs of world’s progress in the fields of science and humanities.

In order to promote the development of science and technology, China has established a number of awards dedicated to science achievements as well. The following prizes are the most respected ones in the Chinese scientific research community.

DAMO Academy Young Fellow 阿里 达摩院青橙奖

This Tuesday (October 19), the 2021 DAMO Award Ceremony was held during the China Cloud Computing Conference. Ten young scholars aged 35 and below received one million RMB prize. Among them is one of the awardees, Zhao Huichan, a 32-year-old female professor from Tsinghua University.

DAMO Academy Young Fellow is a special prize presented by Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group to young Chinese scholars in China. DAMO fellows should demonstrate the potential to contribute to the progress of global science and technology. The award aims to discover outstanding young researchers working on the most crucial scientific problems and fundamental science. Founded in October 2017, DAMO Academy annually awards one million RMB (USD140,000) to each fellow and provides all-round support including data resources.

According to Alibaba, the goal of DAMO for the next two decades is “to build the world's fifth-largest economy, provide 100 million jobs for the world, serve 2 billion people across borders, and create a profitable platform for 10 million companies”.

Every year, fellows mainly include promising young scientists from the leading universities of China such as Peking University and Tsinghua University, as well as other research institutions.

Future Science Prize 未来科学大奖

With the motto of “push for scientific improvement, aim for future development”, Future Science Prize is a privately funded science prize established by a group of renowned scientists and successful entrepreneurs in 2016 with the goal of recognizing scientific breakthroughs and innovations in the Greater China region (including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau).

The Prize is awarded in three categories: Life Science, Physical Science as well as Mathematics and Computer Science. Awardees get 1 million RMB each. Among donors who fund the Future Science Prize are entrepreneurs involved in social activities, charity and contributing to the society’s development.

During the last several years the award was given to 20 scientists, researchers and practitioners, all widely recognized in China. One of the most prominent ones was Yuan Longping, known as "the father of hybrid rice," who got the prize in 2018 "for pioneering the use of hybrid vigor to achieve higher yield and increased stress resistance in rice."

This year,the ceremony of Future Science Prize is going to be held in November.


The XPLORER PRIZE is a non-governmental and public interest award for the scientists and researches under 45 and works in China.

The prize was jointly initiated in 2018 by Tencent, the biggest Chinese internet company, and 14 scientists with the mission to support science in the country and the progress in fundamental research. Besides the recognition, each awardee gets a funding of 3 million RMB. Every year, 50 scientists are selected from more than 1000 applications.

“The scientific development of the 20th century is unprecedented in human history. For any young scholar, it is a fortunate yet challenging time to enter this field.” Mr. Yang Chen-ning, a Nobel laureate in Physics and an initiator of the Xplorer Prize, said once at the award ceremony. “As a scientific researcher, the toughest time is 5 to 10 years after obtaining a doctoral degree, when one is faced with the challenge to choose a field on which to build their research. The Xplorer Prize’ is a visionary plan designed with these scholars in mind."

Compared with the previous years, this year's cohort is more diverse, with some scientists already widely recognized by other awards, as well as young researches who just emerged to the scene. Number of female awardees is also growing each year – at a total of 8. The Xplorer Prize is also becoming younger: there are 7 winners aged 35 and below, with the youngest winner only aged 32.

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