The Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist has been awarded every year since 1920. Switzerland was one of the first countries to apply relevance to human life as the main criterion for its most important scientific award. Almost 100 years on the same principle still applies for nominations and their evaluation.
The Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist is awarded to established researchers whose work is of relevance to all aspects of human life and society. The research must be of excellent quality, as well as being original, innovative and topical. The prize winner is internationally recognised and has a proven track record.
The Swiss Science Prize Marcel Benoist is not intended to promote young researchers, nor is it a lifetime achievement award. Potential prize winners are researchers with a well-established reputation and great potential. To be eligible for the award, nominees must live in Switzerland and spend at least half their time working at a Swiss research institution. The work for which the prize is awarded must have been conducted predominantly in Switzerland.
Science in Switzerland is extremely diverse. To ensure that the prize reflects that diversity, from 2018 it will be awarded alternately between the fields of humanities and social sciences, and the natural sciences and biology/medicine. This year it will therefore be awarded to a scientist from the field of humanities and social sciences.
Evaluation by Swiss National Science Foundation
As of 2018 the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is responsible for evaluating all nominees and for making the final selection of award winners on behalf of the Marcel Benoist Foundation and with the support of the Confederation. To that end, the SNSF has set up an evaluation committee. Two of its members are drawn from public life, at least four are international experts with the remainder drawn from members of the National Research Council and the Marcel Benoist Foundation’s board of trustees.