Minister of Education and Research, Kristin Clemet, signed the partnership agreement with the Kavli Foundation and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for the awarding of three new science prizes. The three parties are entering into a collaboration to award prizes for outstanding research in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. To be called the Kavli Prizes, the awards are intended to advance scientific and technological research in key future-oriented areas. This is in keeping with priorities in the report Commitment to Research, which the Government submitted to the Storting before Easter.
Each of the three prizes will be in the amount of USD 1 million, paid by the Kavli Foundation. In addition, the winners will receive a medallion and diploma. This will bring the prizes up to the level of the Nobel Prizes, and they will be awarded for the first time in Oslo in September 2008.
The Norwegian-American Fred Kavli is the founder of the Kavli Foundation. Born in Eresfjord (Møre og Romsdal), Kavli trained as a physicist at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (now part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology) in Trondheim. In 1956 he emigrated to the US and amassed a considerable fortune from the production of sensors for aviation and other industries. After retiring from business, Kavli established the Kavli Foundation, which has donated nearly USD 100 million to scientific research.
“We are very pleased that Fred Kavli is choosing to award the research prizes in Norway,” said Minister of Education and Research, Kristin Clemet. “This will make a serious contribution to developing professional contacts with the top research communities in the world in the areas of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.
Kavli is particularly keen on supporting basic science. “Almost everything we come in contact with in our daily lives has been developed or improved through basic science. It is my hope that the Kavli Prize will help research and science to also attain the recognition they deserve. Unfortunately, it is all too often the case today that only athletes and movie actors are worshipped as heroes,” said Fred Kavli.
Prize winners will be nominated by professional panels within each field. Panel members will be nominated by the academies of science in countries that are technically strongest in the fields in question, something that is measured in the number of scientific publications. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters will select the winners of the Kavli Prizes.