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Taiwan businessman launches $1.36 million 'Asian Nobel prizes'

Posting in Energy

Earlier this week, billionaire businessman Samuel Yin announced a new science award called the Tang Prize -- at $1.36 million, it tops the Nobel Prize, which was $1.2 million in 2012.

“The world was a very different place when the Nobel prizes were established more than a century ago,” Yin tells Nature News. “I wanted to found a prize to reflect the new challenges faced by humanity -- such as climate change, energy shortages, emerging diseases, clashes of cultures and ideas, and shifting world orders.”

The prizes will be awarded every two years starting July 2014 to global leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Chinese studies, and the rule of law.

Each prize will consist of 40 million Taiwanese dollars (around $1.36 million) as well as a 10-million-Taiwanese-dollar ($341,000) research grant for 5 years, according to a press release.

Candidates of any nationality or ethnicity can apply. Taiwan’s Academia Sinica will be in charge of the nomination and selection process, and an international committee for each category will consist of two dozen experts.

Yin is the head of Taipei-based Ruentex Group and is worth around $3 billion, according to Forbes. He contributed about $100 million to set up the Tang Prize Foundation -- named after the Tang Dynasty, “renowned for its sophisticated cultural and scientific achievements,” he adds.

[Via Nature News, ScienceInsider]

Image: Samuel Yin (left), Chi-Huey Wong, President of Academia Sinica (right) / PRNewsFoto/Tang Prize Foundation

— By on February 3, 2013, 12:11 PM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure