Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize to recognize scientific discoveries
The Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize was created in 2013 to perpetuate Ernest Solvay’s lifelong support and passion for scientific research. Our objective for the honor is to endorse basic research and highlight the essential role of chemistry — both as a science and as an industry — in helping solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. Every two years, the most promising project is awarded a €300,000 prize.
Professor Karikó won the prize for her research, which led to the creation of the messenger RNA covid-19 vaccine. She found a way to use chemistry to modify the mRNA so that the immune system won’t reject it. And this is just the beginning: her research could also be applied to other diseases such as cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, and more.
Learn more about our Science for the Future Solvay Prize laureates
This Solvay Prize was first presented in 2013 to Professor Peter G. Schultz, in 2015 to Professor Ben Feringa (winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), in 2017 to Professor Susumu Kitagawa, 2020 to Professor Carolyn Bertozzi, and 2022 to Professor Katalin Karikó.
Professor Katalin Karikó
The 2022 Science for the Future Solvay Prize has been awarded to Katalin Karikó for her work on the biochemical modification of synthetically produced messenger RNA (mRNA), which has enabled the rapid development of vaccines and saves many lives. It could also help fight other diseases like cancer, infection from influenza, malaria, or HIV in the future.
Professor Carolyn Bertozzi
Professor Carolyn Bertozzi is the second Solvay Prize winner to become a Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry. In 2020, she became the first woman to be awarded the Solvay Prize, for her invention of bioorthogonal chemical reactions that can be performed in living cells and organisms. Two years later, in 2022, she won the Nobel Prize alongside Professors Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. Bertozzi invented bioorthogonal chemical reactions that can be used to label specific molecules in cells for imaging, drug target identification and the creation of next-generation biotherapeutics – ultimately helping to diagnose and treat diseases. As the Nobel Prize press release put it “Carolyn Bertozzi took click chemistry to a new level”.
Professor Susumu Kitagawa
The 2017 Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize is awarded to the Japanese scientist, Professor Susumu Kitagawa for his work in developing metal-organic frameworks, a new class of materials with a range of potential future applications, including the capturing of polluting gases.
Professor Ben Feringa
The 2015 Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize is awarded to the Dutch scientist Professor Ben Feringa for his work on groundbreaking research on molecular motors, a research field that paves the way to new therapeutic and technological applications with nanorobots.
Professor Peter G. Schultz
This Solvay Prize was first presented in 2013 to Professor Peter G. Schultz for his work at the interface of chemistry and the life sciences. Professor Schultz’s work has resulted in new methods to synthesize molecules with novel chemical and biological properties and has impacted chemistry, materials science and medicine.