Taiwan businessman launches $1.36 million 'Asian Nobel prizes'

Billionaire Samuel Yin contributed $100 million to establish the Tang Prizes for topics like sustainable development and biopharmaceutical science. The winnings are bigger than the Nobel.

Earlier this week, billionaire businessman Samuel Yin announced a new science award called the Tang Prize -- at $1.36 million, it tops the Nobel Prize, which was $1.2 million in 2012.

“The world was a very different place when the Nobel prizes were established more than a century ago,” Yin tells Nature News. “I wanted to found a prize to reflect the new challenges faced by humanity -- such as climate change, energy shortages, emerging diseases, clashes of cultures and ideas, and shifting world orders.”

The prizes will be awarded every two years starting July 2014 to global leaders in four fields: sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Chinese studies, and the rule of law.

Each prize will consist of 40 million Taiwanese dollars (around $1.36 million) as well as a 10-million-Taiwanese-dollar ($341,000) research grant for 5 years, according to a press release.

Candidates of any nationality or ethnicity can apply. Taiwan’s Academia Sinica will be in charge of the nomination and selection process, and an international committee for each category will consist of two dozen experts.

Yin is the head of Taipei-based Ruentex Group and is worth around $3 billion, according to Forbes. He contributed about $100 million to set up the Tang Prize Foundation -- named after the Tang Dynasty, “renowned for its sophisticated cultural and scientific achievements,” he adds.

[Via Nature News, ScienceInsider]

Image: Samuel Yin (left), Chi-Huey Wong, President of Academia Sinica (right) / PRNewsFoto/Tang Prize Foundation

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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