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Nobel Prizes Show How Public Funding Can Result in Groundbreaking R&D

Nobel Prize

“The annual Nobel Prize awards invite the world to pause, celebrate, and reflect on how scientific research, innovation, and human perseverance are the catalyst for human progress,” said Mary Woolley, Research!America president and CEO. “The Nobel Prizes also underscore the vital role of sustained taxpayer support for fundamental research, serving as a driving force behind the discoveries that ultimately benefit society as a whole.” 

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awardees Katalin Karikó, PhD, and Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, are both recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health; to date, 171 NIH-supported researchers have received Nobel prizes in the sciences. 

Drs. Karikó and Weissman are the recipients of Research!America’s 2021 Building the Foundation Award. Read highlights and watch a discussion with them from our Advocacy Awards during which – among other topics – they addressed collaboration, advice for facing adversity, and the value of public-private partnerships in tackling major challenges. 

Nobel Prize in Physics recipient Pierre Agostini, PhD, and Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipients Moungi G. Bawendi, PhD, and Louis E. Brus, PhD, have all received federal funding from the National Science Foundation; to date, 261 NSF-supported researchers have received Nobel Prizes in the sciences. 

“The science Laureates this year have not only advanced our understanding of the world in new and profound ways, their work has permanently changed the world for the better. The impact of the mRNA discoveries of Drs. Karikó and Weissman is particularly visible. Their discoveries led to millions of lives saved during the COVID-19 pandemic and trillions of dollars of economic benefit – and countless projects based on their work are underway around the world to transform our approach to treating an array of present and future health threats. Their work – and the work of these other outstanding scientists – testifies to the essential value of basic research whose long-term value is not always easy to predict, but which but lays the groundwork for future progress against disease and in advancing other areas of science and technology.”  

2023 Nobel Prize Awardees 

The 2023 Nobel Prize award announcements are ongoing this week, with announcements still to come for Literature, Peace, and Economic Sciences. The announcements made so far speak to the imagination, ingenuity, and determination of gifted researchers who have advanced the fields of Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine. 

  • 2023 Nobel awardees in Physiology or Medicine – Katalin Karikó, PhD, and Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania, have been named Nobel Laureates “for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.” Their groundbreaking work enabled the development of mRNA vaccines in the fight against COVID-19.
  • 2023 Nobel awardees in Physics – Pierre Agostini, PhD, of The Ohio State University; Ferenc Krausz, PhD, of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany; and Anne L’Huillier, PhD, of Lund University, Sweden – have been named Nobel Laureates “for experimental methods that generate attosecond pulses of light for the study of electron dynamics in matter.” Their experiments have spawned exciting new tools to explore electrons inside atoms and molecules, ultimately opening the door to understanding mechanisms that are controlled by electrons and eventually using them.
  • 2023 Nobel awardees in Chemistry – Moungi G. Bawendi, PhD, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Louis E. Brus, PhD, of Columbia University; and Alexei I. Ekimov, PhD, of Nanocrystals Technology Inc. – have been named Nobel Laureates “for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.” Their incredible work has been the foundation of innovative technology in LED lamps, computer monitors, and television screens as well as bioimaging.  

“We congratulate all the awardees, thank them for their service to humankind, and look forward to the many ways they will inspire future generations to explore, discover, and innovate,” said Woolley. 

Contact Taylarr Lopez, Director of Communications, at 571-482-2719 or tlopez@researchamerica.org with press inquiries.