ASPIRE prize: Diverse knowledge for a sustainable future

The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (“ASPIRE”) is an annual award which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to both excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication, and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies.

This theme focuses on researcher insights from indigenous and ethnic minority cultures and communities to help inform new frontiers in science, technology, and innovation. This may include research that explores interactions between traditional and contemporary approaches to knowledge and science, as well as applications such as better management of natural resources, healthcare, and agricultural systems. Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies in subjects such as: biology, chemistry, environmental science, physics, mathematics and other relevant fields. 

Each APEC economy may nominate one individual to represent them in this year’s competition. The nominee must be from the APEC region (which includes New Zealand) and under 40 years of age. The impact of their work will be judged on their excellence in research and cross-border collaboration with peers from other APEC economies. Relevant academic disciplines include biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics, among others.

The winning entry will receive a cash prize of USD25,000 from the publishers Wiley and Elsevier. The prize will be awarded at a virtual ceremony hosted by New Zealand in August 2021.

Further information about APEC, including New Zealand’s 2021 hosting year(external link)

New Zealand has opened nominations for its candidate.

Key dates
Applications open 19 March 2021
Applications due 30 April 2021
Assessment panel pick the New Zealand candidate Early May 2021


Any citizen of an APEC member economy is eligible to be nominated for the ASPIRE Prize. All 2021 nominees must be under the age of 40 as of 31 December 2021.

Selection process

Each member economy, through its MBIE representative on the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI), is invited to nominate one young scientist under the age of 40 to be considered for the 2021 ASPIRE Prize. 

Once nominations are received, PPSTI members across the APEC region rank the nominees through a selection ballot to determine the winner. PPSTI members will judge the nominees based on how well they have demonstrated:

  • Excellence in scientific research, as evidenced through scholarly publication;
  • Commitment to cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies; and
  • Contribution to the theme of “Diverse Knowledge for a Sustainable Future.”

Apply now

To apply to be New Zealand’s candidate for this regional prize, please complete the nomination form and return by 30 April to

Aspire 2021 nomination form [DOCX, 365 KB]

Last updated: 19 March 2021