National Nominating Bodies
Can our institution become a National Nominating Body (NNB)?
National Nominating Bodies are appointed by the Frontiers Research Foundation (FRF). Institutions such as universities, academies and funding agencies are selected and invited to become a National Nominating Body on a case-by-case basis. Spontaneous applications are not accepted.
How is the National Representative Body (NRB) selected?
The FRF will select one of the National Nominating Bodies (NNBs) as the National Representative Body (NRB) after all NNBs have registered. Each participating country will have one NRB.
How does the National Nominating Body (NNB) select which scientist to nominate?
NNBs establish – within the scope of the Frontiers Planet Prize (FPP) – their own independent process for identifying and nominating the candidates as National Sustainability Science Champions. The Foundation requires that all nominated scientists are then informed about the prize and that the best science will be proposed but otherwise in not involved in the selection process.
Who is on the Jury and why?
The jury is made up of 100 world-leading environment and climate scientists, 50 of whom are members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that assesses the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information needed to understand the risk of human-induced climate change.
A further 25 scientists are then identified and invited by the Chairperson and IPCC jury members, while an additional 25 will be invited by Frontiers’ community of experts by the FRF. The format is designed to produce a highly independent and unbiased process for selecting the winners.
How is the Jury of 100 world-leading climate scientists selected?
The Chair of the Earth Commission and Chair of the jury select 75 members. The other 25 members are chosen by the Frontiers Research Foundation.
Who is funding this prize?
The Foundation raises funds from multiple donors, including companies, other foundations and individual philanthropists.
Is it only climate scientists who can win the prize?
The winners can come from any field of science related to sustainability. The prizes will be awarded to the research with the highest scientifically measurable impact on keeping the planet within the nine planetary boundaries.
When will the winners be announced?
The National Champions will be announced in February 2023 and the International Champions will be announced on Earth Day, 22 April 2023.
What is a sustainability scientist?
Sustainability scientists can come from any of the sciences that contribute to understanding how our planet behaves as an ecosystem.
What about the social sciences?
We recognize that keeping the planet within its nine boundaries requires human behavior to change, and that this could have one of the biggest impacts on achieving a stable planetary system. However, the focus of the FP is on scientific discovery – leading to technological innovations – that will accelerate the process of creating a sustainable future. If part of that acceleration requires novel insights from the social sciences, this can be part of the nomination.
Does a scientist’s affiliation have any bearing on their chances of being nominated?
The prize process will help to identify and support excellent scientists in every country who are addressing planetary challenges irrespective of affiliation as they are nominated by the countries’ own institutions.
Does this offer a way for promising technological startups to detect key science?
We hope indeed that the science and research showcased by the Prize will inspire green tech investors. We aspire to speed up the way planetary problems are addressed.
Can the prize be awarded to the same Champion more than once?
If one scientist makes a significant scientific breakthrough more than once – and is recognized for that by the NNBs and the Jury of 100 – then this scientist may be awarded the prize more than once.
How transparent is the selection?
NNBs establish – within the scope of the Frontiers Planet Prize – their own independent process for identifying and nominating the candidates as National Sustainability Science Champions. The Foundation requires that all nominated scientists are then informed of the nomination and have an equal opportunity to win the prize – ultimately only the best science should be proposed if the country is to progress in the selection process.
The Jury of 100 will not be disclosed until after the winners have been announced. The nominations will also remain private until this time.
Is this not a purely technocratic exercise?
The FPP aims to support scientific discoveries that have the potential to protect the planet. While we do not presume that technology-led approaches are the only way forward, we do believe that techniques and technologies embedded in science have the potential to offer new solutions to the growing challenges the planet faces.
Why not specifically fund research in resource-limited settings or areas?
We have limited budgets to change the direction of research funding ourselves. However, through the FPP and its impact, we hope to inspire and motivate research funders to prioritize and support science that addresses the current planetary challenges.
Where did the idea to launch this initiative come from?
The initiative is led by the founders of the Foundation, Kamila and Henry Markram, who recognize that science holds the potential to address the growing litany of challenges faced by people and planet. As the response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated, much can be achieved through scientific collaboration. The initiative will build on that, with the hope of driving and accelerating progress on the planetary challenges.
How is the Foundation governed?
The foundation and its operations are governed according to Swiss law.
What is the expected impact?
We hope the FPP will increase the level of urgency among the scientific community when it comes to addressing key planetary challenges. The prize seeks to inspire action, and to mobilize more scientists and funders to devote resources to addressing the major challenge of the 21st century. By recognizing and supporting excellence in research, our hope is that the prize may become the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for problem-orientated science that focuses specifically on planetary solutions.
How long has Frontiers agreed to commit to this initiative for?
This is our first year and, if successful, not only will we continue the initiative, we will increase the number of Frontiers Prizes.
Is the format final?
For this year, yes. We believe that this is a unique new format, with important aspects borrowed from the Olympics, Nobel Prize, the XPrize, awards and grants. Nevertheless, we are open to suggestions that may help us achieve the mission of enabling healthy lives on a healthy planet through the FPP in subsequent years.
Is the prize not overly focused on technological solutions?
It is, because that is where we can contribute the most. As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite lockdown, the world emitted only 5% less greenhouse gas (see Bill Gates’ book, p 13). So behavioral change alone is not the silver bullet that will reduce GHGs. As Gates argues so eloquently, we also need to find clean ways to live, to move around and to produce things, which is why technological solutions are needed.