by Hauwa Gambo
For the third year in a row, The Future Awards, referred to by the World Bank as ‘The Nobel Prize for Young Africans’, is searching for the most brilliant young minds in Science, in addition to its yearly search for the brightest minds in Technology, an official release by the awards central working committee says.
“For many years, what we have done is try to mirror the breakthroughs that young people have made in different fields and to sustain them,” said Chude Jideonwo, who is Executive Director of The Future Project. “In keeping with our ‘Tear down these walls!’ campaign this year, we are looking for the brightest young minds driving innovation and impact in science and/or technology with innovation or invention – through the category Innovator of the Year – Science and Technology.
The awards website explains the broad criteria for this category: We are searching for young people across science and technology (especially Information Technology) who have furthered the boundaries in these fields in terms of research or activity. There are a critical number of young Nigerians who are advancing impressive, practical innovations that can compare with the best around the world. It will help if there is some kind of recognition or institutional buy-in for that work, and the work should be available for inspection.
“We are also beaming the search light on service,” Jideonwo said in explaining the Excellence in Service categories. “We are looking for young people in governance and the corporate sector whose work shines bright in driving effective, professionalism and impact, with integrity and productivity.”
It will be recalled that, in 2010, Ify Aniebo won the Best Use of Science (also the biggest prize, Young Person of the Year) award for her ground-breaking work in malaria research, and in 2011, Debo Olaosebikan won the award for his work on developing the world’s first electrically operated Silicon Laser, a project supported by a $6 million grant from the United States Department of Defense. In the same year, Tolulope Iroye won the Best Use of Technology award for the ‘Magic box’; a device built to allow you control your electronic gadgets, for example, your TV from anywhere with your mobile phone as well as control electricity or mobilise/immobilise cars from anywhere in the world.
Nominations for the 2012 awards kicked off on the 29th of May and will continue until this Saturday, June 30. Town Hall Meetings have been holding across the country, including in Lagos, Rivers, Anambra, Adamawa and Abuja. Nominees must be Nigerian citizens and must be aged 18 – 31. To nominate for this category, please go to www.thefuturenigeria.com.
Other categories for the Awards this year include Best Use of Advocacy, Actor of the Year, Best Use of New Media, Entrepreneur of the Year in Media/Communication, Entertainment, Technology and Fashion; Designer of the Year, Innovator of the Year – Education, Creative Artist of the Year, Journalist of the Year, Magazine of the Year, Musician of the Year, Music Producer of the Year, On-Air Personality of the Year (Radio), On-Air Personality of the Year (TV), Excellence in Service – Journalism, Corporate and Government, Screen Producer of the Year, and the biggest for Young Person of the Year.
Nominations end at midnight on June 30 (two days away!).