An opening ceremony of the 2023 World Young Scientist Summit is held in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, Nov 11, 2023. [(Photo/China News Service)
Three scientists from China and the United Kingdom won the first Young Scientist SDGs Award at the opening ceremony of the 2023 World Young Scientist Summit held in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, over the weekend.
Professors Henry Snaith from the University of Oxford, Xiong Wen (David) Lou from City University of Hong Kong and Zhang Qiang from Tsinghua University were awarded for their contributions in the fields of perovskite solar cells, the synthesis and application of nanostructured materials, and lithium-sulfur batteries and high-performance energy materials, respectively.
"The award is not just an honor to me, but also to the field that I focused on," Zhang said. "It reflects that human beings have great expectations for sustainable development toward a more fair and prosperous society."
Lou said, "I hope that with the encouragement of this award, more young scientists will contribute more to solving challenges in the global environment, society and the economy."
The awards were handed out by notable scientists Hartmut Michel, a recipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and Joseph Hooton Taylor Jr., who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1993, as well as Shu Wei, vice-chairman of the China Association for Science and Technology, and Lu Shan, vice-governor of Zhejiang.
"The number of publications from scientists in China in journals such as Nature and Science has been substantially increased, and they are now No 1 in the world, even ahead of the United States," Michel said.
Taylor said: "What happened in China over the past few decades is tremendously impressive. People around the world appreciate the advances in technology and applied science, especially here in China. For example, the big radio telescope in the southwest of China, Guizhou province, it's a wonderful instrument and it's doing first-rate science.
"Technology is necessarily an international effort. Science does not understand national boundaries, so cooperation across national boundaries around the world is important to the progress of science," he said.
The Wenzhou World Youth Scientist Development Foundation provided each laureate with a prize of 1 million yuan ($137,000).
The award was jointly initiated by the WYSS and the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to recognize young scientists who have made significant achievements and outstanding contributions through natural science research or engineering technology in support of one or more of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
Guo Huadong, joint chairman of the award evaluation committee and director of the International Research Center for Sustainable Development Big Data, said that in the past two years, 51 of the 92 environmental goals set by China related to SDGs, which were planned to be accomplished by 2030, have been achieved.
"This is the achievement we have made with science and technology and big data," he said. "The SDGs, although facing challenges, will hopefully advance with the development of science and technology."
The first Young Scientist SDGs Award focused on the 17 SDGs set by the UN in seven fields. Since its global launch in March, the award has attracted candidates from 35 countries and regions around the world, according to the China Association for Science and Technology. The evaluation committee, consisting of 11 internationally renowned experts, conducted a two-month evaluation process.
The WYSS invited more than 30 world-renowned scientists, nearly 300 Chinese and foreign academicians and over 4,000 young scientists to participate.