Local science prizes welcome global brains

Foreign scientists are now allowed to compete in the city's top science awards, the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission has said.

Foreign scientists are now allowed to compete in the city’s top science awards, the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission has said.

In 2006, the city introduced an international cooperation category into the Shanghai Science and Technology Awards to honor foreign scientists for their involvement in local projects.

So far, 26 expats have been the beneficiaries of these awards.

This year, for the first time, scientists from overseas have been allowed to compete directly with local scientists in a number of categories, the commission said on Friday.

“We have changed our outlook from simply recognizing foreign scientists based in Shanghai to rewarding those who have made, or are making, great contributions to the scientific life of Shanghai, no matter from where they come,” said Han Yuanjian, of the commission.

Swiss Nobel chemistry laureate Kurt Wuthrich, for example, has been recognized for his work in building the first nuclear magnetic resonance lab at ShanghaiTech University in Zhangjiang Science City.

Foreign scientists with global reputations will also be invited to be judges of the awards and encouraged to nominate projects they deem suitable for recognition.

This year, a science education category was introduced to the list of city awards.

Earlier this month, three education projects were honored in the country’s top science awards, two of which came from Shanghai.

Science education is more than just spreading knowledge. It is an important stimulus that can be used to trigger young people’s interest in science and to encourage their endeavors, said Liu Haifeng of the science and technology awards center.

The city is to offer much more prize money from this year. The winner of the top prize will receive 2 million yuan (US$300,000), four times the original prize in 2006.

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