“The Kavli Prizes are awarded in three areas: astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience – the largest, the smallest, and the most complex. I believe these prizes are in the most exciting fields for the twenty-first century and beyond.” – Fred Kavli
The Kavli Prize was established in 2005 in a partnership among The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and The Kavli Foundation.
Three one-million-dollar prizes are awarded every other year in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters selects the laureates based on recommendations from three independent prize committees.
The Kavli Prize Laureates are celebrated in Oslo, Norway, in a ceremony presided over by the Royal Family. Since the first awards in 2008, The Kavli Prize has recognized innovative scientific research – from the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9 to the detection of gravitational waves – transforming our understanding of the very big, the very small and the very complex.
The vision for The Kavli Prize comes from Fred Kavli, a Norwegian-American physicist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, who turned his lifelong fascination with science into a lasting legacy for recognizing scientific breakthroughs and for supporting basic research.
The Kavli Prizes have so far honored 54 scientists from thirteen countries − the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Lithuania, Japan, Norway, Russia, Czechia, Sweden and Switzerland. Eight laureates received The Nobel Prize after receiving The Kavli Prize.
The three Kavli Prize partners
The three Kavli Prize partners cooperate in the planning and implementation of all global Kavli Prize events. Distinct roles for the partners include:
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters administers The Kavli Prize Week in Oslo, Norway, The Kavli Prize Selection Committees and the announcement of The Kavli Prize Laureates.
The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research hosts The Kavli Prize Banquet and provides funding to The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for the administration of The Kavli Prize.
The Kavli Foundation provides the award money and gold medals to The Kavli Prize Laureates and for publicizing the laureates and their science.
The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and The Kavli Foundation are not part of the laureate nomination and selection process.
The Kavli Prizes recognize breakthrough scientific achievements in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.
The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics is awarded for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the origin, evolution and properties of the universe, including the fields of cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy, planetary science, solar physics, space science, astrobiology, astronomical and astrophysical instrumentation, and particle astrophysics.
The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience is awarded for outstanding achievement in the science and application of the unique physical, chemical and biological properties of atomic, molecular, macromolecular, and cellular structures and systems that are manifest in the nanometer scale, including molecular self-assembly, nanomaterials, nanoscale instrumentation, nanobiotechnology, macromolecular synthesis, molecular mechanics and related topics.
The Kavli Prize in Neuroscience is awarded for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the brain and nervous system, including molecular neuroscience, cellular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, neurogenetics, developmental neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and related facets of the brain and nervous system.
Selection of the Kavli Laureates
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters appoints the three prize committees after receiving recommendations from the following international academies and equivalent scientific organizations:
- The Chinese Academy of Science
- The French Academy of Sciences
- The Max Planck Society (Germany)
- The National Academy of Sciences (US)
- The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
- The Royal Society (UK)
The prize committees review the nominated candidates and submit their recommendations to the board of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The President of the Academy announces the prize winners in late May or early June every other even-numbered year.