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The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – Science Prizes

The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – Science Prizes award Australian scientists and innovators with prizes to recognise outstanding achievements in science and research-based innovation.

Close date: 09 Mar 2021 05:00 PM AEDT.

What do you get?

There are 5 Science Prizes ranging between $50,000 and $250,000.

Who is this for?

Nominees must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia. 


The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science are Australia’s most prestigious and highly regarded awards for outstanding achievements in:

  • scientific research
  • research-based innovation
  • excellence in science teaching

The prizes will award up to $750,000 each year for outstanding achievements. Information on the prizes for science teaching is on our Science Teaching Prizes page.

The Science Prizes recognise the achievements and success of Australian scientists and innovators to both Australia and internationally.

We welcome nominations of diverse candidates and those from a different range of backgrounds and geographical regions.

There are 5 Science Prizes for science and innovation:

  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Science ($250,000)
  • Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation ($250,000)
  • Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year ($50,000)
  • Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year ($50,000)
  • Prize for New Innovators ($50,000)

Each prize recipient receives a medallion, lapel pin, prize money as described above and an award certificate.


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. Where a nominee is nominated in more than one category, the Prizes Secretariat will ask the nominee to select a single nomination to pursue.
  • meet the specific eligibility criteria for the nominated prize

Prize nominees do not need to be a member of a professional association or have received any prior award to be eligible.

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


How do you nominate someone?

A prize nomination must be proposed by someone (a nominator) with knowledge of the nominee’s achievements and endorsed by 2 supporters. Nominators for the Science Prizes must provide 3 independent referees (2 referees must be based overseas).

The nomination process involves 2 stages.

Stage 1: the nominator provides a summary of the nominee’s achievement against the assessment criteria for the prize.

Preparing a stage 1 nomination is easy!

  • Make sure your nominee is willing to be nominated.
  • Ask them for a copy of their CV (2 page maximum and reference to 4 key articles or publications).
  • Prepare a summary of their achievement addressing the assessment criteria (500 words).
  • Identify 2 supporters.
  • Identify 3 referees (2 must be based overseas).

Complete the online form and submit it between 2 February to 9 March 2021 5pm AEDT.

You should read the grant opportunity guidelines before you make a nomination.

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

We refer the nominator and supporters’ Stage 2 statements to 3 independent referees with relevant expertise to seek their professional opinions on the claims in the nomination. Referees must return references by 28 June 2021.

Apply now for The Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science – Science Prizes.

Before you apply, make sure you:

  • understand the nomination process
  • read the grant opportunity guidelines
  • are ready to complete the online nomination form.
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Need help?

  • Contact us for help with your application or to find out more.

  • Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm across Australia

Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme

The Prime Minister's Prizes for Science is part of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme. This aims to:

  • engage the wider Australian community with the sciences, including through major activities and events like National Science Week
  • support public recognition, national awareness and pride in our best scientists and innovators
  • effectively communicate key science issues, between scientists, the general public and Australian decision makers in business and government
  • build skills and capability in STEM and digital literacy, in Australian schools and communities 

Find out what other grants and awards are available under the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme.

Key documents

Grant opportunity guidelines - Science Prizes 2021

Stage 1 – Achievement summary template

Nomination toolkit

Our nomination toolkit includes web graphics, flyers, email banners and signatures for you to promote nominations for the Prime Minister's Prizes for Science and raise awareness in your community.