Over the past three years, 150 young talents have received the Xplorer Prize with an overall grant of 450 million RMB ($69.7 million), as a recognition for their visions in science exploration. The Xplorer Prize was founded in 2018 by Tencent. It aims to support work in areas of fundamental and cutting-edge science and technology.
Despite being newly established by a private company, this grand prize has played an important part in recent breakthroughs, such as the world’s first non-invasive method for estimating lung function during the pandemic, led by Zhou Xin, a former award winner.
Xplorer particularly encourages female scientists and those from smaller cities to step forwards in innovation. Amongst the 50 prize winners being announced for this year, 8 were female, increasing the number of female awardees for another consecutive year. This growth is partly due to the policy of making young people and women priorities in the selection. This year also saw recipients from smaller cities like Suzhou, Taiyuan and Changsha selected for the first time.
Although being a non-government award, Xplorer is gaining a good reputation across China. It promotes strict rules in nominating, recommending, and reviewing. To avoid personal contact between the referees and candidates, over 800 prestigious scientists and 20 presidents of famous universities across the world were involved in this year’s selection process. “This implies that the prize is now being acknowledged by the society and building a good reputation”, said Fan Jianwei, an initiator of the Xplorer Prize and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.