Prime Minister's Prizes for Science

At a glance

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Provides prizes to Australian scientists and innovators, and to science educators for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation and excellence in science teaching. Winners receive a medallion, lapel pin, award certificate and prize money.

Who can apply:

At a minimum, the nominee must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia
  • not be self-nominated
  • not be nominated in more than one prize category in any given year
  • meet the specific eligibility criteria for the nominated prize.

Other eligibility requirements apply.

Contact information:

13 28 46

business.gov.au/contact

Overview

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science is an element of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme. The prizes recognise the achievements and success of Australian scientists and innovators to both Australia and internationally, as well as the critical role science educators play in inspiring and encouraging students to take an interest in science and consider science as a career.

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science will award up to $750,000 in total each year. Each prize recipient receives a medallion, lapel pin, prize money and an award certificate.

There are five prizes for science and innovation (referred to as the Science Prizes) and two prizes for science teaching (referred to as the Science Teaching Prizes).

Science Prizes

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Science is awarded for a significant advancement of knowledge through science. Prize money of $250,000 is awarded to the recipients.
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation is awarded for the innovative translation of scientific knowledge into a commercially available product, service or process that has had substantial economic, social and where relevant environmental benefits. Prize money of $250,000 is awarded to the recipients.
  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year and Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year each recognise an exceptional achievement in science that benefits, or has the potential to benefit, human welfare or society. Prize money of $50,000 is awarded to the recipients.
  • Prize for New Innovators recognises an exceptional early achievement towards the successful commercialisation of scientific research with substantial economic, social and where relevant environmental benefits. Prize money of $50,000 is awarded to the recipients.

Science Teaching Prizes

These prizes are awarded to teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to science education.

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools — prize money of $50,000 is awarded to the recipient
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools — Prize money of $50,000 is awarded to the recipient.

Changes to the prizes in 2018

Guidelines for The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science have been changed in 2018. The changes are summarised below:

Changes to the Prize for New Innovators

  • Nominations need to show exceptional achievement towards successful commercialisation to be recognised instead of demonstrated commercial success and the amount of research experience necessary reduced from four to two years (full-time or FTE) in Australia.

Changes to the Science Teaching Prizes

  • Mathematics and technology teachers are now eligible for nomination.
  • Part-time teachers are eligible for nomination.
  • Prize money to be awarded in full to recipients of Science Teaching Prizes. This change will align the awarding of prize money and obligations of the prize recipients with other Science Prizes.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a Science Prize, a nominee must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia
  • not be self-nominated
  • not be nominated in more than one prize category in any given year
  • meet the specific eligibility criteria for the nominated prize.

To be eligible to be nominated for a Science Teaching Prize a nominee must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia
  • have undertaken their teaching achievement for which they are nominated, in Australia
  • not be self-nominated
  • be a full time or part time staff member at a primary or secondary school and be active in teaching science, mathematics or technology in the classroom at the time of their nomination. For a secondary school teacher, science, mathematics or technology teaching must be a substantial part of their workload.

For more information on eligibility criteria for each prize, including criteria for nominees, nominators and supporters please refer to section 4 of the Science Prizes Programme Guidelines and section 4 of the Science Teaching Prizes Guidelines. Please ensure you read the relevant guidelines before filling out a nomination.

How to nominate

The Prime Minister's Prizes for Science are currently closed to nominations.

How we assess nominations

We will assess nominations against the eligibility criteria and if the nomination is eligible, it will be forwarded to an independent committee for assessment against the selection criteria.

If the nomination is short-listed, the nominator will be invited to participate in stage 2. For the Science Prizes, the committee will also contact the proposed independent referees during this stage.

The committee will assess stage 2 nominations and recommend prize recipients.

If the nominee is successful

Prize recipients will be notified in writing, and invited to receive their awards at the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science awards dinner. The recipients are publicly announced at the awards dinner.

The prize money is deposited into the recipients’ accounts shortly after the awards dinner, following receipt of bank account details.

Key documents

  • Guidelines – Science Prizes
  • Guidelines – Science Teaching Prizes
  • Factsheet – The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science

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