The Tang Prize will be a showcase of Taiwan’s ability to select major international awards and map research directions, the president of Academia Sinica said yesterday.
“It shows that we are capable of playing a leadership role,” said Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠), a chemist and board member of the Tang Prize Foundation.
The Tang Prize, established by Taiwanese tycoon Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) in December 2012, seeks to honor top researchers in sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology and the rule of law.
Winners will be selected by a panel of judges convened by Academia Sinica and comprised of prominent researchers and academics, whose names could not be disclosed due to confidentiality concerns.
More than two-thirds of the institution’s academicians reside in the US, where more than 80 are members of the US’ National Academies and 15 are Nobel laureates, Wong said.
Wong said he believes the Tang Prize will give recognition to and encourage more research in the four fields, which he said do not always receive enough attention in the academic world.
Sinology, for example, has been a largely ignored area, he said.
However, perhaps the prize’s biggest potential contribution will be in the message it sends to the next generation, he said.
“Young students will understand the importance of these fields and will be motivated to study related subjects,” Wong said.
Winning a Tang Prize will be a challenge, as both the originality of research and its impact on society will be considered, he said.
“It is easier to make a discovery, but it takes time to see its impact on the society or the economy,” said Wong, who is a recipient of the prestigious Wolf Prize in Chemistry.
The first winners of the Tang Prize are scheduled to be announced on June 18, with an award ceremony set for three months later.
There will be up to three winners in each category who will share a cash prize of NT$50 million (US$1.65 million).