Subject Areas and Nominations

The Annual Balzan Prizes

The Balzan Prizes are chosen by the General Prize Committee in two general subject areas: Literature, Moral Sciences and the Arts; and the Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and Medicine. The four Balzan Prizes, two per category, are awarded to scholars, artists and scientists who have distinguished themselves in their fields on an international level.

The subject areas in which the awards are granted are rotated, and this special characteristic of the Balzan Prize ensures the promotion and recognition of new or emerging fields of study or research that may have been overlooked by other international awards.
In 2001, the Articles of the Balzan Foundation made a stipulation that prizewinners must destine half of the prize to finance research projects that are preferably carried out by young scholars or scientists.

The General Prize Committee announced that the 2021 Balzan Prizes will be awarded in the following fields:

■ Holocaust and Genocide Studies
■ Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
■ Microbiome in Health and Disease
■ Gravitation: physical and astrophysical aspects

The Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples

The Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples is a special prize awarded at intervals of no less than three years. It is destined to a person or an organisation that has achieved distinction for outstanding humanitarian work.

The Nominations

The General Prize Committee of the “Prize” Foundation invites the most prestigious international cultural and scientific institutions (universities, research institutes and academies) and figures recognized by the General Prize Committee as highly distinguished in the chosen fields for that year to submit names of candidates for the four annual Balzan Prizes. Nominations must be submitted by 15 March of the relevant year and supported by justification for the candidate’s nomination, including a list of his/her most important publications and a complete biography. Self-nominations are not accepted.

For the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity Among Peoples, the Articles of Association state that a Preparatory Commission must be constituted. This Commission is composed of six members, three from the General Prize Committee and three from the Board of the “Prize” Foundation. The Preparatory Commission meets several times to examine the nominations until it reaches a decision on one or more candidates. The General Prize Committee makes the final decision.

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