10 Jul

Contest for the Tang Prize

The Tang Prize Foundation, officially established in Taiwan, has signed a contract with the main country’s research institution, Academia Sinica, which will be responsible for the nomination and selection for prizes in four categories: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology (excluding literary works), and Rule of Law. By recognizing the most original and influential work in these four fields, the Tang Prize will help to promote the best research.

The four Prize nominations are linked with important fields of humankind’s future social development. It is supposed that the Tang Prize will help to increase attention to research in academic, engineering and public circles.

The Tang Prize Foundation is NT$3 billion (around US$102,000,000). According to Dr.Yin, “Setting up the Tang Prize has been one of my biggest dreams. I hope that the prize will encourage more research that is beneficial to the world and humankind, promote Chinese culture, and make the world a better place.”

The Tang Prize will be awarded from 2014, once every two years. Each award will be equal to the amount NT$40 million (around US$1,340,000), and a further NT$10 million (around US$341,000) as a grant for scientific research.

Nominations for the first Tang Prize will be drawn up by the Tang Prize Selection Committee, and invitations will be sent to the candidates in May 2013. The closing date for candidates to accept their nominations is September 30. The Tang Prize selection committee will present detailed reports on the final candidate(s) to the Tang Prize Foundation board at the end of April 2014. The Tang Prize Foundation board will announce the laureates on June 18, 2014.

What makes Tang Prize different from other prizes?

It is designated for areas that have become increasingly important in modern society, but are not covered by the Nobel prizes and other prestigious awards. In addition to the originality of the research, significant emphasis is made on the significance of discovery for society, with the ultimate goal of improving human life. Most prizes offer just cash awards, but winners of the Tang Prize — either individuals or institutions — will not only get the 40-million Taiwanese dollars as prize money, but also receive 10 million Taiwanese dollars for their areas of research.

Why the Prize was named after the Tang Dynasty?

The Tang Dynasty was renowned for its cultural and scientific achievements. It was a time of the fusion of different cultures — Western and Eastern. It was also a time when exchange of ideas gave rise to great prosperity and self-confidence, and when creativity flourished in a pluralistic, inclusive and peaceful society. These are the ideals not only of Chinese civilization, but also of humanity at large. That is what the Tang Prize seeks to promote.

How the prize will acquire international credibility?

The Academia Sinica, the most prestigious scientific institution in Taiwan, will be in charge of the nomination and selection process. The international committee in each prize category will consist of two dozen or so world-leading experts. Together, they will provide fairness and transparency of the process, and ensure that it is entirely meritocratic. Only the best candidates will be selected, regardless of their nationality. Even in the category of Chinese studies, Chinese scientists may not have an advantage, as there are a lot of excellent sinologists in Europe and the United States.

There is every reason to believe in development of higher education and science. New projects to support studies in life sciences and civil engineering are also expected.