Yidan Prize 2021 nominations now open until 31 March 2021

Follow this link for details of the nomination process.

The Prize

What will Yidan Prize Laureates receive?

Each Yidan Prize laureate receives a certificate, a gold medal and a monetary award of HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million). Half of this is a cash prize and the remaining half is distributed over three years to support a project.

Should the laureates be a group, each team member receives a certificate and a gold medal, while the cash prize and project fund is shared equally among the team members.

Are there any restrictions on the project fund use?

The HK$15 million (about US$1.9million) project fund is distributed over three years to support a project agreed by the laureate(s) and the Yidan Prize Foundation.

Laureates may use the project fund to expand their scope of work, replicate their existing work in a different region, or create new projects. Laureates have flexibility on how they distribute the funding among their projects.

The foundation hopes to facilitate positive change in education by supporting laureates through the project funding. Therefore, we will monitor and evaluate the project’s progress and during and after the three years to assess its impact.

When are the Yidan Prize laureates announced?

The Yidan Prize laureates are announced annually in September.

When is the Awards Presentation Ceremony held?

The Yidan Prize Awards Presentation Ceremony usually takes place in December every year.


Who can nominate potential Yidan Prize laureates?

Yidan Prize welcomes nominators from various sectors and any geographical region. Nominators may be members of government bodies, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, and thought leaders in education and/or beyond.

To make a credible nomination, the nominator should have a thorough understanding of the nominee(s)’ work. The nominator must also submit at least two recommendation letters from supporters.

The nomination system is built on our belief in celebrating one another’s work and achievements in the field of education. However, self-nomination is also accepted if the candidate can obtain recommendation letters from at least three supporters.

Directors, judging committee members and advisory committee members of the Yidan Prize are not eligible to make nominations, provide recommendation letters or be nominated. In addition, nominators and supporters should not be family members of the nominee(s).

What do I do if I want to nominate someone for the Yidan Prize?

You should first register a nominator account at our online nomination platform and then prepare your nomination.

To register for a nominator account, you will need to submit your full name, email address, postal address, mobile phone number, name of your organization, your position and title, and a soft copy of your business card. Once your account is created, it will be stored in the Yidan Prize database so you do not have to register an account every year.

Please note that all nominations and supporting documents must be submitted in English through the online platform.

Can I nominate myself?

Yes. Self-nominations are accepted from nominator/nominees who obtain at least three recommendation letters from supporters.

What is self-nomination?

When the nominator is the same person as the nominee or one of the nominee(s), the nomination is considered a self-nomination. If the nominator is from the same organization as the nominee(s) but they are not the same person, it is not a self-nomination.

Who should be a supporter?

Supporters are people who have a good understanding of the nominee(s)’ work and endorse the nominee(s)’ achievements. They may have an unique perspective on the nominee(s)’ work and can speak from their own expertise on how it made a difference. Supporters should be able to make a credible recommendation on the nominee(s)’ achievements.

For self-nominations, three supporters are needed while only two supporters are needed for regular nominations.

Is there an age limit for the Yidan Prize?

No. The judging committee will consider nominee(s) of all ages.

Is it possible to nominate someone for a posthumous Yidan Prize?

No. We do not accept posthumous nominations.

Can I nominate a team of people for the Yidan Prize? Do they need to work in the same organization?

Yes, we welcome team nominations of up to three persons.

If your team consists of more than three persons, the team would need to select three representatives that represent/ have played a critical role in the team’s achievement. They do not need to work in the same organization.

Can I nominate an organization for the Yidan Prize?

No. The Yidan Prize is awarded to individuals, recognizing either one person, or a team of no more than three members.

Is there a limit on the number of nominations that each nominator
can submit?

No. Each nominator can submit as many nominations as they wish.

When is the nomination deadline?

The nomination period usually begins in September and runs until March of the following year. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about the exact deadlines, and other relevant information about nominations.

Can I re-submit an unsuccessful nomination in the subsequent year?

Yes. Nominations that have not been selected are stored in the Yidan Prize database for future consideration. When nominations open for the following year’s entry, nominators may login to the platform, using the same account credentials, to edit and update their form(s). Nominators may opt-out by contacting the secretariat at nomination@yidanprize.org.

Will you disclose information on submitted nominations or nominees
each year?

No. All information pertaining to nominations is confidential. The Yidan Prize Foundation, including staff members, board of directors, advisory committee and judging committee, will not disclose any information without consent from the nominator, nominee(s) and/or supporters.

Nominations: what to submit

What makes a nomination valid?

A nomination is valid if submitted through the online nomination system before the nomination deadline, and includes the following supporting documents:

  1. Nomination form completed in English within the word count specified for each section.
  2. The nominee(s)’ personal details, including full name, date of birth, email address, residential address, mobile phone number, name of his/ her/ their organization, and his/ her/ their position and title
  3. CV of the nominee.
  4. Minimum of two recommendation letters from supporters that endorse the nominee(s)’ achievement. For self-nomination, a minimum of three recommendation letters of support are required.
  5. Each supporter’s personal details, including full name, email address, address, mobile phone number, his/ her organization, his/her position and title, and a soft copy of their business card.
  6. For the Education Research category, at least one and up to five softcopies of the most relevant published research by the nominee(s).
  7. A 2-minute video from the nominee(s) on how they would use the project funding of HK$15 million (about US$1.9million) if selected as the laureate(s).
For the Education Research prize, what published research should I submit?

Nominations for the Education Research Prize must include at least one and up to five relevant works published by the nominee(s) via soft copy. If any difficulties, hyperlinks to online publications are also acceptable.

Works accepted include books, book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles, thesis, newspaper/ magazine/ newsletter articles, presentations, teaching or educational manuals, digital media articles, or videos.

Please note that all submitted information should be in English. If the original text is not English, please submit a translated version in English.

What is a business card?

A card issued by your organization detailing your full name, your organization name, your position and title, and your contact details.

What if the nominator and/ or supporters cannot provide a business card?

We seek photos or soft copies of business cards from nominators and supporters to verify their professional identity. If business cards are not available, the below alternatives are also acceptable: 

  • Screenshot of a professional biography on an official website
  • Photo or scan of a staff card or student card
  • Letterhead with name and contact details
  • You may also submit other forms of employment proof showing name, position title, and contact details. Please conceal any personal or sensitive information

Please do not upload your passport, ID card, or other forms of sensitive personal identification.

Are there any guidelines on the 2-minute video submission?


Nominee(s) should prepare a 2-minute video on how they would use the project funding of HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million) if selected as the laureate.

The video allows judges to better understand the nominees’ commitment and plans for their projects’ future. The judges would like to see how the project funding can be applied for maximum impact. Judges focus more on the content than the production qualities of the video.

The submitted video will be viewed by judges for the sole purpose of judging and will not be circulated or published in any channels without consent from the nominee(s).


We only accept mp4, mov, avi, and m4v video formats. Video dimensions should be 1920 x 1080 (1080p).

Please upload your video if it is under 84MB. If you have difficulty compressing your video, upload it to a third party video platform and submit a hyperlink. Please ensure that the link is accessible during the entire judging period, which is to the end of September.

What other supporting documents can I submit?

You may submit additional documents to support your nomination in part four section two of the online nomination form. This section provides additional information should the judging committee wish to learn more about the nominee(s) and their work.

For the Education Development category, we encourage you to provide all external independent evaluation reports on nominee work in this section.

Do nominators need to submit a letter of recommendation?

No, the nomination form itself is a sufficient letter of recommendation and an additional letter is not required.

Is there a limit on the number of nominations that each supporter can support?

No. Each supporter can provide recommendation letters for as many nominations as they wish.

Can recommendation letters be re-submitted for future entries?

Yes, as long as the supporters agree to endorse the nomination again. Supporters will get an email notification from the secretariat once the nomination is submitted.


Who selects the Yidan Prize laureates?

Chaired by Dr Koichiro Matsuura, former director-general of UNESCO, the judging committee comprises two independent judging panels. They screen all valid nominations and select candidates for each category. 

Mr Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, heads the judging panel for the Yidan Prize for Education Research, and Ms Dorothy K. Gordon, Chair of the UNESCO Information For All Programme, leads the panel for the Yidan Prize for Education Development. 

Final decisions on both awards are made collectively by the full committee. The list of chosen nominees is given to the Board of Directors for approval and endorsement before announcing the laureates. Please click here for a complete member list of the judging committee.

What are the judging criteria?

Presented annually, the Yidan Prize recognizes and supports individuals and teams of up to three members around the world whose forward-looking innovations promise sustainable impacts on the education system of today and tomorrow. Each nomination is reviewed according to a set of rigorous criteria to identify the most deserving individuals. These criteria are future-oriented, innovative, transformative and sustainable. Please click here for a list of guiding questions, an elaboration on each criteria.

Is there a particular theme or focus for this year’s prize?

No. Yidan Prize does not focus on particular themes or regions, we value all subjects equally.