The Prize

How many laureates are selected each year?

Each year we award two prizes: Yidan Prize for Education Research, and Yidan Prize for Education Development. Each prize can be awarded to either an individual or a team of up to three people.

If a team is awarded a prize, each team member receives a certificate and a gold medal, while the cash prize and project fund is shared equally among the team members.

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.

What is the schedule of payments (cash and project funds part)? When do they start?

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. The exact schedule of payments is to be discussed between the laureates(s) and the Foundation.

The cash portion of the prize will be arranged by the time the laureate(s) receives their prize at the Awards Presentation Ceremony, usually held at the end of December.

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.

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.

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.

Is there any public data on the number of nominations last year?

We treat all data regarding nominations as strictly confidential and cannot share any specific numbers.

You may subscribe to our newsletter for any tips and news we share with our community regarding nominations and other Yidan Prize Foundation activities.

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.

Nominator

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).

Can the nominator be an employee in the organization where the nominee(s) work?

Yes, as long as they are not family members of the nominee(s).

Also, Yidan Prize Foundation’s board directors, judging committee members and advisory committee members are not eligible to make nominations.

Can the nominee(s) be nominated by more than one nominator?

Yes, the Judging Committee will review all nominations submitted for the same nominee(s) as a whole. Nominators can also submit more than one nomination and/ or at the same time, be a supporter for different nominee(s).

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.

Self-nominations

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.

Will self-nomination be a disadvantage?

It is one of our most important tasks to ensure that judging is fair, open, and unbiased. All nominations are evaluated the same way and self-nominations are not disadvantaged. The Judging Committee evaluates each nomination according to the judging criteria.

The only difference for self-nominations is that three supporters are needed, while only two supporters are needed for third-party nominations.

Who to nominate

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 members of the nominating team work in different organizations?

Yes. The nominating team (up to three people) do not need to work in the same organization. We encourage nominations on collaborative projects between different organizations.

Examples of possible team compositions:

  • Colleagues working together in the same organization
  • Researchers working on a research project together
  • Representatives from different organizations working collaboratively on an idea/ project
What if there are more than three people in the working team?

If your team consists of more than three people, the team would need to select three representatives that represent/ have played a critical role and made a unique contribution in the team’s achievement.

If the potential nominee’s project is in its initial stages, should I still nominate them?

We’d encourage you to submit a nomination that recognizes the source of insight for projects in their initial stages of development. New research and development projects are often built on and/ or inspired by existing research or projects; we encourage nominations that recognize the individuals of teams (up to three people) whose research and/or practices are acting as the basis of new research or development projects.

Can I nominate individuals or teams working in for-profit organizations?

Yes. Nominees from non-profit or for-profit organizations are eligible, and either option is considered equally, as long as the social impact of the nominee(s)’ work is demonstrated in the nomination.

It is good to take note that, in addition to the judging criteria, the judges will be looking at the nominee(s) future project plans (through the two minute video submission). Judges are also interested to see how the Yidan Prize project fund can potentially be used for wider social impact.

Would nominations for nominee(s) from smaller organizations be disadvantaged? For the education research prize, do nominee(s) need to be affiliated with an institution of higher education such as a university?

We trust that future-oriented, innovative, transformative, and sustainable education initiatives exist not only in big or high-profile organizations.

For the education research prize, we hope to see young researchers being nominated, whether or not they are based at a large organization. They do not need to be affiliated with a university.

For the education development prize, we look forward to receiving any nominations for nominee(s) with projects that are transforming lives and making an impact on any area of education, regardless of the size of their organization.

Can nominee(s) who does not have a leadership role in the organization be nominated?

Yes, it is not a requirement to nominate the top leader of an organization; however, the nominee(s) should be the leader or co-leaders of the work/project they are being nominated for.

We trust that in many organizations, there are many different innovations initiated by its members through collaborative efforts. We are happy to receive nominations that recognizes individuals or teams (up to three people) making a unique contribution to any specific education research/ project at any organization.

Some of the best work is exactly at the interface between research and practice - falling between both the research and development categories. Any guidance on how to decide which category to nominate for.

If you have a difficult time deciding which category to nominate for, we’d encourage you to submit a nomination for both. We believe that education research and education development informs one another; the best education research have practical implications, and the best education development work are evidence based.

Below is how we define education research and education development, and their different submission requirements:

  • Education Research: The theory of learning – science, psychology, statistics – that can help educators understand different approaches with a methodical lens. For the education research prize, you will need to submit the five most relevant publications/ papers.
  • Education Development: The practice of learning – new methods, ways to make education more widespread – so we can champion techniques that work. For the education development prize, judges are looking forward to seeing independent external evaluation reports, although it is not a requirement.
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.

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?

Content

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).

Technical

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 any guidance on the amount of additional material that you would welcome? What other supporting documents can I submit? Can supporting documentation include videos?

You may submit additional documents to support your nomination in part 4 section 2 of the online nomination form (template forms for education research and education development). 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.

Other supporting materials could be articles, publications, papers, videos, or any form of documentation that supports the nomination. The total file size of all uploaded files should not exceed 20MB.

What if my documents aren’t in English?

Judges will only be able to assess documents submitted in English. If the original document is not in English, you must provide a translation for your documents to be reviewed.

In which section do I specify the nominee(s)’ expertise? What type of expertise should be emphasized?

In part 3 section 4 of the nomination form (template forms for education research and education development), we ask you to indicate the nominee(s)’ expertise. You may input up to ten areas of expertise for each nominee (maximum 10 words for each expertise).

We are most interested in knowing the nominee(s)’ specialized area of focus within the field of education, and in particular, areas in which the nominee(s) take a pioneering role.

Why do we ask for a two-minute video?

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 social impact. Judges focus more on the content than the production qualities of the video.

Judges’ final decision is solely based on merit and they will not take the nominee’s appearance (including race, gender, or age) into consideration.

Can I edit my nomination after submitting it?

Yes, you’re able to make edits after submission. Please ensure that you resubmit it again before the nomination deadline at 12pm HKT (GMT +8) on 31 March.

After editing, your previous record will be erased and replaced. If you’d like to keep records, please download the pdf of your nomination form after each submission.

Judging

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 level of education, theme or focus region for this year’s prize?

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

To what extent does global reach of the nominee's work matter? Are future plans that purport to have a wider geographic impact more competitive than those who propose more regional/ local impacts?

Judges are interested to know the impact of a research/development project; both the project’s existing impact and future implications. Depending on the work, it is possible that a project with deep impact in one region is more powerful than one with light impact in multiple regions.

While we do not have a specific requirement on reach, “future-oriented” and “sustainability” are two of our four main judging criteria that points towards the importance of scalability. We understand a lot of projects may not have a global reach yet; it would be important to show in the nomination, whether the nominee(s)’ work has the potential to be scaled and replicated in other regions, therefore creating a greater impact.

Nominee(s) are also encouraged to make best use of the two minute video submission to address their future plans and explain to judges how the Yidan Prize funds and the Yidan Prize network may support them to spread and scale-up their work.

Is the judging panel focusing on responses to COVID-19? If the project is created specifically in response to COVID-19, will it be considered?

We welcome nominators and nominee(s) to share through their nominations, how COVID-19 impacted their work and their response to it.

Yidan Prize does not focus or prioritize particular themes or regions. We welcome nominations on all innovative education ideas, including those stemmed from the pandemic.

Will there be a session where the judges will interview the nominees directly?

No, judges evaluate nominations through the nomination form and the two minute video submission. We encourage nominee(s) to make the best use of the two minute video and let judges know how they would use the project funding of HK$15 million (about US$1.9 million) if selected as the laureate.

Re-submission

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 [email protected].

Does the chance of being selected diminish if I re-enter the same nomination a second time without making any changes?

Starting in 2021, all nominations made from the previous year will be stored in our system (whether submitted or not) for easy re-submission. We encourage nominators to re-submit their nominations and it is not a must to edit the form, if you feel it is not necessary. It is important to ensure that all contact information is updated.

Can I use the same recommendation letters?

Yes, if your supporters are willing to support your nominee(s) again. Please provide an updated contact where needed, we will be sending all supporters a confirmation email when you submit your nomination. We may contact them directly and separately as well for more information.

If I am re-submitting, but for a different area of our work, should I submit a new nomination, or edit the existing nomination?

Nominee(s) can be nominated by more than one nomination, and judges will assess all nominations on the same nominee(s) as one; if you find appropriate, you may submit both nominations (resubmitting the existing one and submitting a newly created one). It is up to you to make the most appropriate decision.

Supporter

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 a unique perspective on the nominee(s)’ work and can speak from their own experience about how the nominee(s)’ work makes an impact. 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 third-party nominations.

The nominator and fellow nominees (if team nomination) cannot be supporters.

For team nominations, can the recommendation letter mention only one of the nominees?

When the nomination is for a team (up to three people) and their collaborative work, we hope to see supporters sharing their views and recommendation on this team effort and collaboration. While each nominee’s individual achievements and contributions should be mentioned, it is also important to illustrate how the nominees work as a team and they – together – deserve the merit.

What should the supporter write about in their recommendation letters? Is there a word limit?

Each recommendation letter should not exceed the word limit of 5,000.

The supporter should write about the reasons behind their recommendation. They can share their perspectives on the nominee(s) work, the impact they observed, and the potential they foresee. They may also write about how they came to know about the nominee(s) and/or their work and where their knowledge of the nominee(s)’ work stem from.

Can a recommendation letter come from a group of people, instead of an individual?

It is required that you submit the name and contact details of a single individual behind each recommendation letter. Your recommendation letter may be written on behalf of a group, with the official “supporter” being a representative.

In cases where you do not wish to identify an individual as the representative, you may submit a recommendation letter from the supporting group in the “other supporting documents” section of the form (part 4 section 2). However, recommendation letters submitted in this section will not be counted as an “official” recommendation letter – you will still need to find a minimum of two or three (for self-nominations) supporters in addition to it

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.