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Wednesday, December 21 2022 - 03:59
Winners Of The Second Ever Vinfuture Prize Awards Unveiled
HANOI, Vietnam, Dec. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/AsiaNet/--

Today, the VinFuture Prize Council announced the 2022 VinFuture Prize winners – 
scientists whose breakthrough research projects are exceptional scientific 
accomplishments that positively impact the lives of billions of people on Earth 
now and in the future. They represent major advancements in science and 
technology that will reshape all aspects of life and promote sustainable 
development for humanity. 

Attracting 970 nominations from over 70 countries across six continents, the 
four most outstanding scientific works, aligned with this season's theme of 
"Reviving and Reshaping", were chosen as the winners.

They include: the breakthroughs that have made global network technology a 
reality; 3D protein structure prediction using AI system AlphaFold 2; isolation 
of the Sub1A gene that facilitated the development of submergence tolerant 
rice; and a low-cost filtration system to remove arsenic and other heavy metals 
from groundwater.

Grand Prize

The Grand Prize, valued at US$3 million, was awarded to Sir Timothy John 
Berners-Lee, Dr. Vinton Gray Cerf, Dr. Emmanuel Desurvire, Dr. Robert Elliot 
Kahn and Professor Sir David Neil Payne for their breakthroughs in making 
global network technology a reality, forever changing the way we live, 
communicate, and work and laying the foundation for modern socio-economic 
progress and future technological innovations.

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, wrote the first web 
browser, and led the design and establishment of three critical internet 
standards including HTML, HTTP, and URLs. These have enabled the seamless 
sharing and use of information resources across the global internet.

Dr. Vinton Gray Cerf and Dr. Robert Elliot Kahn led the design and 
implementation of the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol 
(TCP/IP) which are the basis for the functioning of today's internet.

Current global network technology relies on optical fiber communication, the 
development of which was enabled by the work, over five decades, of Sir David 
Neil Payne. His work related to fiber design, optical amplifiers, specialty 
fibers, and high-power lasers and amplifiers, together with the breakthrough 
work of Emmanuel Desurvire on Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, made internet 
transmission possible on a global scale, thanks to their ability to boost 
high-speed optical signals repeatedly.

This ground-breaking research on global network technology is the result of 
numerous layers of invention, allowing all forms of information to be reliably 
communicated, transferred, and shared at the speed of light. This has enabled 
real-time interaction, collaboration, and co-creation between individuals and 
groups across the world. The impacts of these inventions are both 
transcontinental and transoceanic. From fiber-to-the-home and enterprise 
communications, they affect all aspects of our world including society, 
government, economics, security, and defense.

Special Prizes

In addition to the Grand Prize, three Special Prizes, each valued at 
US$500,000, have been awarded to innovators in emerging fields, female 
innovators, and innovators from developing countries.

The Special Prize for "Innovators with Outstanding Achievements in Emerging 
Fields" was awarded to Dr. Demis Hassabis and Dr. John Jumper for their 
pioneering work on AlphaFold 2, an artificial intelligence program that has 
revolutionized the modeling of protein structures, accelerating advances in 
biomedicine, health, and agriculture.

The problem of determining protein structures is central to enabling a 
fundamental understanding of cellular processes, developing new drugs, 
proposing new synthetic biology, and numerous other applications.

Dr. Demis Hassabis conceived a solution to this problem through deep learning, 
assembling the pioneering DeepMind team, on which Dr. John Jumper was the lead 
scientist. Together, they reduced what previously took years of work to mere 
hours, accelerating progress on some of the most important problems in 
biomedicine and health, agriculture, sustainability, and beyond. The team made 
openly available a database of the structures of over 200 million proteins, 
enabling the public to benefit from their work and helping thousands of 
scientists tackle problems across the world.

The Special Prize dedicated to "Female Innovators" was awarded to Professor 
Pamela Christine Ronald for her breakthroughs in isolating the Sub1A gene which 
facilitated the development of submergence tolerant rice varieties, helping 
feed millions of people in South and Southeast Asia. In this region of the 
world, four million tons of rice enough to feed 30 million people is lost to 
flooding each year.

Professor Ronald and team showed that expression of the single rice gene Sub1a 
is sufficient to confer submergence tolerance. This discovery facilitated the 
development of new varieties of rice by breeders at the International Rice 
Research Institute The new Sub1 varieties have a 60% yield advantage compared 
to conventional varieties following floods. The new varieties of submergence 
tolerant rice are helping farmers in countries affected heavily by flooding, 
which is occurring with increasing duration and frequency in the changing 

The Special Prize dedicated to "Innovators from Developing Countries" was 
awarded to Professor Thalappil Pradeep for his development of a low-cost 
filtration system to remove arsenic and other heavy metals from groundwater, 
helping hundreds of millions of people around the world living with 
contaminated water get access to clean water.

Safe water is the most important enabler of life and is central for 
socio-economic development.

To mitigate the health hazards of using water contaminated by arsenic, iron and 
other metals, a long-standing problem particularly in North India, Professor 
Pradeep discovered affordable and sustainable nanomaterials which could be used 
to them to produce clean water. The arsenic and other materials removed by 
these materials do not cause impact on the surrounding environment. This 
method, employing simple designs, provides a means to purify groundwater at a 
very low cost to reach millions of impacted households. In remote areas, this 
technology is even more advantageous because it does not require electricity.

Far exceeding the Prize Council's expectations on the quantity, quality, 
applicability, and practical impacts of nominations, the second season of the 
VinFuture Prize and the VinFuture Award Ceremony 2022, specifically, have 
helped affirm Vietnam's position and scientific reputation in the eyes of the 
global scientific community. The prize laureates have developed innovative 
scientific projects and technologies focused on fostering meaningful change and 
bringing diverse and exceptional advancements to humanity with the goal of 
building a flourishing, equitable, and sustainable world. 

The third cycle of the VinFuture Prize has now started, immediately following 
the conclusion of the 2022 VinFuture Prize Award Ceremony. After concluding the 
mission of revival and reshaping, VinFuture Prize 2023 will aim to honor 
scientific and technological inventions or initiatives that contribute to 
building a "resilient and revolutionary" world. The VinFuture Prize will 
officially call for nominations starting 7:00 am (EST) January 9th and running 
until 7:00 am (EST) on May 15th, 2023.

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SOURCE: VinFuture Foundation