Winners of VinFuture’s $4.5m global sci-tech prizes announced


The VinFuture Prize rewards breakthrough scientific research and technological innovations with humanitarian outcomes

●        The VinFuture Prize is aligned with one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is grounded in recognising proven, real-life impact

●        Winners demonstrated breakthrough innovations in science and technology focused on driving meaningful and scalable change through improvements in health, prosperity, productivity, equity, and sustainability

●        Recipients were selected from nearly 600 nominations across 60 countries


HANOI, VIETNAM – Media OutReach – 21 January 2022 – The inaugural VinFuture Award Ceremony honors inventors of core mRNA vaccine technology; metal-organic frameworks (MOFs); flexible semiconductors with the sensing properties of human skin; and tenofovir gel for the prevention of HIV. These projects are exceptional scientific accomplishments that will positively impact the lives of billions of people on Earth in the present and future.

Professors Salim Abdool Karim (second from right) and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim (second from left) win VinFuture Special Prize

The Special Prize, for “Innovators from Developing Countries”, is awarded to Professors Salim Abdool Karim and Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim from South Africa for their research on effective HIV prevention. With extensive experience in the field of epidemiology, the two scientists developed a tenofovir-based gel that prevents sexual transmission of HIV, laying the foundation for the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) method of preventing HIV. Salim Abdool Karim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim also created an oral medicine to create an HIV prevention strategy across the world, including for women and infants.

The Karims’ research was recognized by UNAIDS and WHO as a pivotal scientific breakthrough, with significant impact on the prevention of an epidemic in the African continent and the world.

Speaking about the results of the inaugural season of the VinFuture Prize, Professor Sir Richard Friend, VinFuture Prize Council Chair, stated: “The VinFuture Prize 2021 recognizes truly outstanding scientific work that has made and will make, a positive impact on the lives of millions, or even billions, of people around the world. The winners have brought new solutions for some of the most significant challenges that humanity is facing, such as infectious diseases and meeting the urgent need for zero carbon energy. The VinFuture Prize celebrates the power of science and technology to solve global problems.”

On behalf of the Prize Laureates, Professor Katalin Kariko shared: “It is an incredible honor to learn that the Prize council selected me, together with my fellow scientists Drew Weissman and Pieter Cullis, to receive the inaugural VinFuture Grand Prize. We, as scientists, work at the bench in the laboratory, performing experiments day-after-day and hope that one day – maybe in our lifetime – we can witness that the advancements we made will be beneficial for the common good. We are all relieved and thrilled that our scientific discoveries laid the foundation for the development of the mRNA vaccines. It is also important to note that the vaccines were developed based on a century of scientific and technological progress and recent discoveries by hundreds of thousands of scientists, doctors, engineers and experts who advanced the knowledge of their respected fields, and the combination of that work led to the creation of these very effective and safe mRNA vaccines. We hope that our scientific adventure will also inspire the next generation of researchers and doctors, and that their contributions will advance our scientific knowledge on a higher level leading to the treatment of patients with unmet medical needs.”

The first VinFuture Award Ceremony was broadcasted live on major communication channels across the world, with the appearance of Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of Vietnam, leaders of domestic ministries and agencies, global ambassadors, industry leaders, and in particular, eminent international scientists.

The Award Ceremony signals the end of the first season of the VinFuture Prize, with results far exceeding the expectations of the Prize Council in terms of both quantity, quality, and practical application potential of the nominations. The early success of the Prize lays the foundation for broadening the Prize’s impact in coming years, recognising scientists who seek and deliver solutions to humanity’s problems, contributing to creating a better life for everyone, and building a sustainable environment for future generations./.

Officially starting the second season of the VinFuture Prize

The second cycle of the VinFuture Prize has now started, immediately following the conclusion of the inaugural VinFuture Award Ceremony. The VinFuture Foundation will open the nomination portal from February 15 running until June 3, 2022.


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