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


The call for nominations is currently closed

The call for nominations for the ASPIRE Prize 2023 is now closed. 


The ASPIRE Prize is an annual award, valued at US$25,000 (equivalent to A$37,000 – $38,000), 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.

Each member economy, through its representative on the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI), is invited to nominate one scientist under the age of 40 (on 31 December 2023) to be considered for the 2023 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. The winner of the 2023 ASPIRE Prize will be recognised in an award ceremony at the APEC PPSTI meeting in August, held in the United States. 

ASPIRE 2023 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 2023, the United States has selected the ASPIRE Prize theme ‘Inclusive Science, Technology and Innovation for a Resilient and Sustainable Environment’. 

The theme focuses on advancing environmental resiliency and sustainability through science, technology and innovation that centres on diverse perspectives and promotes an inclusive scientific ecosystem. Unlocking the diversity of thought and experience can expand the boundaries of scientific knowledge, which is vital to fundamental research and underpins resilient and sustainable solutions to global environmental and societal challenges. 

The theme highlights scientific research dedicated to inclusivity at all stages of career development. This goal additionally incorporates all facets of society in an effort to shape a more balanced world. This may include research that encourages the increased societal connectivity of underserved and marginalised populations, promotes self-sustaining ecosystems, or achieves solutions to mitigate public health risks. Action toward this end may take various forms: enhancing climate mitigation and resilience; reducing disaster risk; promoting food security, safety, and agriculture biotechnology; tackling environmental challenges; or fostering an enabling environment to accomplish these goals.  

Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies, including inclusive and interdisciplinary collaborations in subjects such as: biology, oceanography, chemistry, environmental science, public health, economics, data sciences, social sciences and other relevant fields. 

Terms of prize

Australia may nominate one scientist from Australia under the age of 40 to be considered for the 2023 ASPIRE Prize. 

The top three Australian ranked nominees from this competition will receive a prize of A$2000 each. The highest-ranked nominee 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 on Science, Technology and Innovation working group for selection as the 2023 ASPIRE Prize winner, with prize money in the amount of US$25,000 (equivalent to A$37,000 – $38,000). 


Please note that nominations submitted to APEC directly will be sent to the Academy for review.  

The nominee must: 

  • be under the age of 40 on 31 December 2023 
  • be from an eligible research institute (as defined below)  
  • be an Australian citizen, or an Australian permanent resident who is a citizen of an APEC member economy and is living in Australia at the time of submitting the nomination.  

Eligible research institutions include: 

  • higher education institutions/providers 
  • 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. 

Selection criteria

Nominations will be assessed on the following APEC criteria: 

  • Excellence in scientific research, as evidenced through scholarly publication. 
  • Commitment to cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies. 
  • Contribution to the theme of ‘Inclusive Science, Technology and Innovation for a Resilient and Sustainable Environment’. 

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

Selection process

The Academy will provide a shortlist of the six highest ranked nominees to the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, who will select the Australian nominee and finalists. The selection of the successful nominees by the Department will be final. 

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

Notification of outcome: late June 2023 

Past Australian finalists

Click here to find out about the past Australian finalists.

This program is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science and Resources.


© 2024 Australian Academy of Science