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UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science

An international distinction awarding outstanding contributions of individuals in communicating science to society and promoting the popularization of science.

By bridging the gap between science and society the benefits of scientific knowledge can be used to improve daily lives, empower people and find solutions to global, regional and local challenges. In order to strengthen communication between science and society it is important that efforts made in bridging the gap do not go unnoticed. Popularizing science needs to be championed, including all activities that communicate scientific knowledge and scientific methods to the public outside the formal classroom setting and promote public understanding of the history of science.

The UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is an international award to reward exceptional contributions made by individuals in communicating science to society and promoting the popularization of science. It is awarded to persons who have had a distinguished career as writer, editor, lecturer, radio, television, or web programme director, or film producer in helping interpret science, research and technology to the public. UNESCO Kalinga Prize winners know the potential power of science, technology, and research in improving public welfare, enriching the cultural heritage of nations and providing solutions to societal problems on the local, regional and global level.

Many past Prize winners have been scientists in their own right, while others have been trained in journalism or have been educators or writers. Some have also been Nobel Prize winners. Previous laureates include Sir Julian Huxley, Margaret Mead and Sir David Attenborough.

The UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is UNESCO’s oldest prize, created in 1951 following a donation from Mr Bijoyanand Patnaik, Founder and President of the Kalinga Foundation Trust in India. Today, the Prize is funded by the Kalinga Foundation Trust, the Government of the State of Orissa, India, and the Government of India (Department of Science and Technology).

Laureates of 2019 UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science

Karl Kruszelnicki (Australia)
In recognition of his longstanding commitment to fire up people’s curiosity for science and share his passion for the subject. “Dr Karl” has been a science communicator for over 30 years, using television, radio, podcasts, print media, books and social media to make science accessible to all.

Who can apply? ǀ How to apply? ǀ Laureates ǀ Contact

Application process

Who can apply?

The Prize rewards writers, editors, lecturers, radio/television/web programme directors or film producers who have devoted their career to interpreting science, research and technology for the general public. Applicants do not need to have a science degree or to conduct research. 

  • Writers, editors, lecturers, radio/television programme directors or film producers who have devoted their career to interpreting science, research and technology for the general public.
  • The applicant does not need to have a science degree.
  • This prize does not reward research.
  • This prize does not reward formal teaching (in a school/university), nor curriculum development for the formal learning sector.
  • Candidates are submitted by the government through the country’s National Commission for UNESCO.
  • Each National Commission for UNESCO shall propose a candidate on the basis of recommendations from: national associations for the advancement of science or other science associations, and/or national associations of science writers or scientific journalists.
  • Each Member State may propose a single candidature consisting of one individual only.
  • Candidatures sent directly to UNESCO by individuals will not be accepted.

How to apply?

The application dossier should preferably be submitted online through this platform.

The UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is awarded biennially. The deadline for the call for nominations is 14 June 2021.

The Prize is destined to candidates having contributed significantly to the popularization of science. The Prize may be awarded only to individuals. A work produced by a group of people shall not be considered.

Nominations shall be submitted to the Director-General by the governments of UNESCO Member States and Observer States, in consultation with their Permanent Delegations and National Commissions, or through PDF icon Non-Governmental Organizations maintaining formal relations with UNESCO. A self-nomination cannot be considered. Each Member State and Non-Governmental Organization may designate one candidate.

About the candidates

  • The Prize rewards writers, editors, lecturers, radio/television/web programme directors or film producers who have devoted their career to interpreting science, research and technology for the general public;
  • The applicant does not need to have a science degree;
  • This prize does not reward research;
  • This prize does not reward formal teaching (at school/university), nor curriculum development for the formal learning sector.

Checklist

Each application dossier shall include the following documents, in English or French:

  • Nomination letter by Permanent Delegation of Member or Observer State to UNESCO, National Commission for UNESCO, or Non-Governmental Organisations maintaining formal relations with UNESCO;
  • Description of the nominee’s academic/professional background;
  • Summary of the work or the results of the work on the popularization of science;
  • Description of how the submitted work has contributed to the popularization of science;
  • List of enclosed annexes (publications, books, digital supports, media articles, etc.);
  • List of translations.

The application dossier should preferably be submitted online through this platform.

If however it must be sent by postal services, the complete dossier should come in five hard copies, or copied on five digital supports (USB, CD or DVD).

Applications should be addressed to the Secretariat of the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science:

Mr Yoslan Nur
Programme Specialist
Division for Science Policy and Capacity Building
Natural Sciences Sector
UNESCO
7 Place Fontenoy
75732 Paris Cedex 07 SP
France
Email: y.nur@unesco.org

The deadline for reception of nominations by UNESCO is Monday, 14 June 2021, 23:59 (Paris time, UTC+1).

Evaluation process

The laureate is selected by the Director-General of UNESCO upon the recommendation of a Jury of five members. This Jury, composed of recognised personalities in the field, is designated by the Director-General on the basis of equitable geographical distribution.

By early July 2021, the jury members will receive all applications for evaluation. In September, the jury will meet at UNESCO to present the results of the evaluation to the Director-General and issue their recommendations for a laureate.

Assessment

The Secretariat reviews all applications and transmits the eligible to the International Jury.

The Jury provides the Director-General with a recommendation after careful assessment of all candidates.

More information

For further information or any question about the 2021 edition of the Kalinga Prize, please contact:

Mr Yoslan Nur
Programme Specialist
Division for Science Policy and Capacity Building
Natural Sciences Sector
UNESCO
7 Place Fontenoy
75732 Paris Cedex 07 SP
France
Email: y.nur@unesco.org

 

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Laureates

2017 laureate

Erik Jacquemyn (Belgium)
In recognition of his commitment to disseminate knowledge about the sciences among the general public. He is an expert in scientific communication, science centres, science museums and interactive museums.

2015 laureate

Diego Andrés Golombek (Argentina)
In recognition of his tireless contribution to science communication and education in diverse and entertaining formats, notably for his role in the development of Argentina’s first Science Cultural Centre.

Previous laureates

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Contact

Secretariat of the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science
Natural Sciences Sector
UNESCO
7, place de Fontenoy,
75352 Paris 07 SP
France
E-mail: y.nur@unesco.org

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