Life sciences visual

UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences

The UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences rewards significant efforts of individuals or institutions through scientific research towards improving the quality of human life.

Life sciences hold the key to a better future, as they contribute to poverty eradication, improved health, food and water security. The core objectives of the Prize is to encourage research, enhance collaboration amongst researchers and reinforce networks of centers of excellence in the life sciences towards these goals.

The Prize, funded by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, is given annually to a maximum of three laureates. They receive a monetary award of USD 350,000 divided equally among laureates, to help further their research, together with a certificate and the “Integracion Tribal” statuette by Equatorial Guinean artist Leandro Mbomio.

The Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, to support the achievement 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as UNESCO’s global priorities.

The call for applications is currently closed.

Prize-giving ceremony: UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences
14 March 2022

Dr Chad MIRKIN (United States of America), Professor Lunaju LI (China) and Professor Christofer TOUMAZOU (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) will receive the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, during a ceremony that will take place at UNESCO House in Paris, France, on 14 March 2022.

Application process

Who can apply?

Individual(s) or Institutions endorsed by:

Each can endorse up to 5 candidates no later than the deadline set each year. Self-nominations will not be considered.

How to apply

Candidates must register online.

After registration, candidates will receive a temporary password to access and complete an online form in English or French.

Application form includes:

  • Background Information ;
  • Outline of the candidate’s contribution to the Prize’s objectives;
  • Summary of the work/research;
  • List of Publications.

All supporting material (e.g. publications, photos, videos) must be transmitted electronically through the online system.

Once complete, applications may be submitted in two ways:

  • Candidates invited to apply by a NGO can upload proof of their endorsement and submit to the UNESCO Secretariat.
  • Candidates can submit their application to a National Commission through the online process.

The UNESCO Secretariat receives only applications that have been officially endorsed. The candidate should make all efforts to ensure endorsement with the relevant National Commission.

Nominations after deadline or by individuals without endorsement will be excluded.
The call for applications is currently closed.


The Secretariat reviews all applications and transmits the eligible to the International Jury.

The Jury provides the Director-General with a recommendation after careful assessment of all candidates.



6th edition (2022)

Dr Chad Mirkin

Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology and Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University (USA).

The prize rewards Dr Chad Mirkin for his discovery and development of spherical nucleic acids and nanostructures that have led to revolutionary advances in the detection of diseases and the identification of new genetic markers. Dr Chad has also developed novel routes in precision medicine based on digital drug design and rational vaccinology. His seminal discoveries and inventions have found global applications in health sciences and technology.

Professor Lanjuan Li

Director of the State Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment at Zhejiang University (China), Director of the National Clinical Research Centre for Infectious Diseases and Director of the Collaborative Innovation Centre for Infectious Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment

Prof. Lanjuan Li is rewarded for her innovative approach to dealing with infectious diseases that include COVID-19, influenza and severe viral hepatitis, for developing the theory of microecology and highlighting the significance of the microbiome, which has had a considerable impact on the management of infectious diseases. She has also created a unique artificial liver that has improved the quality of life of patients suffering from severe liver disease and liver failure.

Professor Christofer Toumazou

Regius Professor of Engineering, Chair in Biomedical Circuit Design, Director of the Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology, and Founder and Chief Scientist for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London

Prof. Christofer Toumazou is recognized for his seminal research in bringing silicon technology to the field of medical devices for early diagnosis. Prof. Toumazou’s breakthrough silicon chip for DNA detection has transformed how clinicians detect and treat conditions ranging from cancer to bacterial and viral diseases, including COVID-19. His technology delivers a fast, accurate and low-cost diagnosis of antimicrobial resistance, enabling early intervention that is crucial in preventing death from serious blood infections leading to sepsis.

  • Press release of the 6th edition
    English | Français

2019 Laureates

Prof. Youyou Tu

Prof. Youyou Tu (China) of the Chinese Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, laureate of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine, is recognized for her research into parasitic diseases. She discovered an entirely new anti-malarial treatment, artemisinin, which made possible the treatment of thousands of patients in China in the 1980s. Since the turn of the century, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been recommending artemisinin-based combination therapies as the first-line treatment for malaria.

Prof. Kevin McGuigan

Prof. Kevin McGuigan (Ireland) of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland-(RCSI) is rewarded for his cutting-edge research on the development and implementation of solar water disinfection technology (SODIS) to combat waterborne diseases among people without access to safe drinking water in Africa and Asia. His approach to this research is unique and pioneering, not only in the laboratory, but especially in the field, among the communities most exposed to waterborne diseases in developing countries.

Prof. Laurencin

Prof. Laurencin (USA), a teacher, biomedical engineer and orthopaedic surgeon, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering and the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. His outstanding contributions to the advancement of science have been recognized worldwide.

2017 Laureates



Agricultural Research Organization (Volcani Center, Israel)
The institute has successfully developed cutting-edge innovations and methodologies in agricultural research with practical applications as well as capacity building programmes to promote food security in arid, semi-arid and desert environments, advancing human well-being.

Rui Luis Gonçalves dos Reis (University of Minho, Portugal)
For his outstanding innovative contributions to the development and engineering of natural-based biomaterials and their biomedical applications including tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, stem cells and drug delivery, which have a significant potential to improve human health.

Ivan Antonio Izquierdo (Biomedical Research Institute, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
For his seminal discoveries in elucidating the mechanisms of memory processes including consolidation and retrieval and their clinical applications in aging, psychological disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases leading to the promotion of the quality of human life.

2015 Laureates

Amadou Alpha Sall (Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Arboviruses and Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers, Senegal)
He has made cutting-edge contribu-tions in developing and disseminating diagnostic and control tools for viral dis-eases such as Ebola, chikungunya, dengue fever and other vector-borne dis-eases with potential global impact.

Balram Bhargava (Professor of Cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India)
He is a cardiologist specializing in biomedical innova-tion, public health and medical education. His contribution in developing innova-tive, effective and affordable tools for the management of cardiovascular dis-eases has had a huge social impact in resource-poor environments.

Manoel Barral-Netto (Head of Research and Director of the Centro de Pesquisas Gonçalo Moniz, Brazil)
He has dedicated most of his career to the study of leishmaniasis and malaria and has contributed to the development of science and control tools in the area of transmissible diseases and the neglected diseases of poverty.

2014 Laureates

Hossein Baharvand (Professor of Stem Cells and Developmental Biology at the Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology and the Head of Department of developmental biology at the University of Science and Cul-ture, Iran)
In 2003, he established the first mouse and human induced plu-ripotent stem cells in Iran. His contribution to the development of transnational stem cell research has led to numerous applications in regenerative medicine.

André Bationo (Soil scientist and President of Action for Integrated Devel-opment, Burkina Faso)
He specializes in soil chemistry, soil fertility, agricul-tural production, environmental issues and natural resource management. He has contributed to improving agriculture in Africa through his outstanding fun-damental and transnational research in soil fertility management.

Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt (IMT AvH) at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Peru)
The Institute was founded in 1968 with the mission of promoting education and research on the most prevalent tropical diseases in Peru. It has performed high quality re-search and contributed to controlling diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, leptospirosis, HIV/AIDS and others.

2012 Laureates

Maged Al-Sherbiny (President, Centre for Science and Technology of the Non Aligned Movement  (NAM S&T Centre) and President, Academy of Sci-entific Research and Technology (ASRT), Egypt)
His scientific efforts and contributions concentrate on combating endemic diseases in Egypt and Afri-ca through intensive research for vaccine development and diagnostics, tar-geting the diseases Hepatitis C and Schistosomiasis.

Rossana Arroyo (Professor at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV-IPN), Mexico)
Dr Rossana Arroyo stands as one of the leaders in the study of molecular pathogen-esis of trichomonosis in Mexico. Trichomonad specialists and leaders in para-sitology recognize her work nationally and globally. Her research will help im-prove human life by controlling amoebiasis and trichomonosis, two parasitic diseases that still afflict human populations worldwide.

Felix Dapare Dakora (Professor and holder of the South African Research Chair in Agrochemurgy and Plant Symbioses at Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa)
Professor Felix D. Dakora has conduct-ed over fourteen years of postdoctoral research in the molecular ‘dialogue’ between legumes and soil. He has contributed to building local capacities in agriculture thereby tackling the issue of food scarcity in Africa.


Secretariat of the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences
Natural Sciences Sector
7, place de Fontenoy,
75352 Paris 07 SP