Prime Minister's Prizes for Science

At a glance

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Provides prizes (that includes prize money and an award certificate) to Australian scientists and innovators, and to science educators for outstanding achievements in scientific research, research-based innovation and excellence in science teaching.

Who can apply:

At a minimum, the nominee must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia
  • not be self-nominated.

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 $750,000 in total each year from 2016-17 to 2019-20. Each prize recipient receives a medallion, lapel pin, prize money and an award certificate.

A prize nomination must be proposed by someone (a nominator) with knowledge of the nominee’s achievements and endorsed by two supporters. Nominators for the Science Prizes must also provide three independent referees.

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 in the commercialisation of scientific research that has had 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.

Recipients of the Science Teaching Prizes share the prize money with their school to fund a project that enhances science learning.

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

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 staff member at a primary or secondary school and be active in teaching science in the classroom at the time of their nomination. For a secondary school teacher, science teaching must be a substantial part (at least 0.5 full time equivalent) of their workload.

For more information on eligibility criteria for each prize, including criteria for nominees, nominators and supporters please refer to section 3 of the Science Prizes Programme Guidelines and section 3 of the Science Teaching Prizes Programme Guidelines. Please ensure you read the relevant programme guidelines before filling out a nomination.

How to nominate

The nomination process involves two stages.

Stage 1: where the nominator, provides a 1,000 word summary of the nominee’s achievement against the selection criteria for the particular prize.

Stage 2: where, if a nominee has been shortlisted, we invite the nominator and two supporters to prepare a more detailed submission addressing the relevant selection criteria.

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.

For the Science Teaching Prizes, the schools’ share of the prize money will be deposited into the schools’ accounts, following execution of a grant agreement with the Commonwealth.

Key documents

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

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