APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize)

Status

The call for applications for the ASPIRE Prize 2019 is now closed.

Details

The ASPIRE Prize is an annual award, valued at US$25,000 (approximately A$35,000 – $36,000), which recognises young scientists from APEC economies 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 2019 nomination theme

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 2019 Chile selects Natural Laboratories as the ASPIRE nominating theme. This theme focuses on scientific developments through discovery in nature, or natural laboratories, which can include determining risks in infrastructure by observing weather patterns and protecting communities through enhanced detection of tectonic activity.

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 (as of 31 December 2019) to be considered for the 2019 ASPIRE Prize.

Given the important role of science cooperation and research to support economic prosperity across the region, the Australian Government and the Australian Academy of Science are running a national competition to select three Australian finalists.

The winner of the national competition, along with other economies’ candidates, will be nominated for the ASPIRE prize which will be presented at an award ceremony during the 14th APEC PPSTI meeting in Chile later this year.

Selection criteria

Applications will be assessed on the following APEC criteria:

  • Excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication
  • Cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies
  • Contribution to this year’s theme of Natural Laboratories

The selection panel will also take into consideration the extent to which the applicant uses science to solve real-world problems and/or whether their scientific outputs have practical applications.

Relevance of the application to the Australian Government’s Science and Research Priorities is not a requirement but will be highly regarded. Australian Government priority areas are:

  • food
  • soil and water
  • transport
  • cybersecurity
  • energy
  • resources
  • advanced manufacturing
  • environmental change
  • health.

Eligibility

The application must be submitted by the research office or grants office of the applicant’s institution. Applications from individuals will not be accepted. Each institution may only submit one application on behalf of one early-career researcher (ECR).

Please note that applications submitted to APEC directly will be sent to the Academy for review. If the application was submitted by an individual, the Academy will send the application to the relevant research office for resubmission by the institution. No applications will be accepted from individuals.

Eligible research institutions include:

  • higher education institutions/provider
  • publicly funded research agencies, defined as an Australian organisation to which the following criteria apply:
    • it is at least 50% owned or controlled by the Commonwealth or an Australian state or territory government
    • primarily carries out research and development activities
    • is providing services, or making facilities available, in relation to science and technology; training of persons in the field of scientific or technological research; or collecting, interpreting or publishing information relating to science or technology
  • cooperative research centres
  • incorporated Australian private and not-for-profit research organisations.

The ECR must:

  • be under the age of 40 as at 31 December 2019
  • be an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent resident who is a citizen of an APEC member economy, living in Australia at the time of submitting the grant application (if the ECR was not born in Australia, please provide proof of Australian citizenship or Australian permanent residency).

Terms of prize

Australia may nominate one young scientist from Australia under the age of 40 to be considered for the 2019 ASPIRE Prize.

The top three Australian ranked applicants from this competition will receive a prize of A$2000 each. The highest-ranked applicant will become the Australian nominee for the ASPIRE Prize.

The nominees from each APEC member economy will then be considered by the full APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation working group for selection as the 2019 ASPIRE Prize winner, with prize money in the amount of US$25,000 (equivalent to A$35,000 – $36,000).

Selection process

The Academy will provide the six most highly ranked applicants to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science as a shortlist. The selection of the successful applicant by the Department will be final.

Applications are considered carefully against the selection criteria by a committee of scientists with diverse expertise. The decisions of the committee are based upon the assessed competitiveness of the proposal. Neither the Academy nor the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science is able to enter into discussion or correspondence regarding the reasons why an application is or isn’t successful.

Notification of outcome: late May 2019

Applications are considered carefully against the selection criteria by a committee of scientists with diverse expertise. The decisions of the committee are based upon the assessed competitiveness of the proposal. Neither the Academy nor the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science are able to enter into discussion or correspondence regarding the reasons why an application is successful or not.

Past Australian finalists

The following researchers were named as finalists for Australia’s nomination to the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE).

2018

Name Organisation
Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran RMIT University 
Professor Igor Aharonovich University of Technology Sydney
Professor Michael Milford Queensland University of Technology

Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran was named as Australia’s nominee for the 2018 ASPIRE Prize, and went on to win the prize in August 2018. Find out more about the 2018 finalists

2017

Name Organisation
Professor Dayong Jin University of Technology Sydney
Dr Mohsen Rahmani Australian National University
Associate Professor Sharath Sriram RMIT University

Professor Dayong Jin was named as Australia’s nominee for the 2017 ASPIRE Prize. Find out more about the 2017 finalists

2016

Name Organisation
Dr Lee Baumgartner Charles Sturt University
Dr Margaret Hardy University of Queensland
Dr Wei Xu Murdoch University

Dr Lee Baumgartner was named as Australia’s nominee for the 2016 ASPIRE Prize. Find out more about the 2016 finalists

2015

Name Organisation
Dr Jaclyn Brown CSIRO
Dr Katharine Haynes Macquarie University
Dr Hannah Power University of Newcastle

Dr Katharine Haynes was named as Australia’s nominee for the 2015 ASPIRE Prize. Find out more about the 2015 finalists

© 2019 Australian Academy of Science

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