Winners of the Inaugural WLA Prize Announced RMB 10 Million for Each Prize

(Shanghai, 29 September 2022) The WLA Prize dedicated to recognizing eminent researchers and technologists worldwide for their contributions to science unveiled its inaugural laureates Thursday.

Shanghai, Sept. 30, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 2022 WLA Prize Laureates are:

  • Michael I. JORDAN, the 2022 WLA Prize Laureate in Computer Science or Mathematics, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences & Department of Statistics, UC Berkeley.

--"For fundamental contributions to the foundations of machine learning and its application."

About the Laureate


Prof. Michael I. Jordan has been a world-leading researcher in the field of statistical machine learning for nearly four decades. His contributions to the interface between computer science and statistics include the variational approach to statistical inference and learning, inference methods based on graphical models and Bayesian non-parametrics, and characterizations of trade-offs between statistical risk and computational complexity.

He has also worked at the interface between optimization and machine learning, where he is well known for his development of continuous-time models of gradient-based optimization and sampling, and his work on distributed systems for optimization. He has built bridges between machine learning and control theory, contributing to the theory of reinforcement learning, learning-based model predictive control, and optimality principles for human motor control. 

He has also led the way in bringing microeconomic concepts into contact with machine learning, developing learning methods that incentivize learners to share data, showing how contract theory can be employed for statistical inference, and contributing to the study of learning-based matching markets. He has also pursued numerous high-impact applications of machine learning in domains such as single-molecule imaging, protein modeling, genetic admixture modeling, and natural language processing.

Prof. Jordan's contributions to computer science are also evident in education. He has mentored over 80 PhD students and over 60 postdoctoral researchers, an influential cohort who are now professors at the world's leading academic institutions and leaders in the industry.


  • Dirk GÖRLICH, the 2022 WLA Prize Laureate in Life Science or Medicine, Scientific member and Director, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences.

--"For key discoveries elucidating the mechanism and selectivity of protein transport between the cytoplasm and nucleus."


About the Laureate

Dr. Dirk Görlich was born in Halle/Saale in Germany and studied biochemistry at Martin Luther University in Halle. For his Ph.D., he joined Tom Rapoport's lab in Berlin, where he identified the heterotrimeric Sec61αβγ complex as a receptor for translating ribosomes and protein-conducting channels of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). He also succeeded in reconstituting a fully functional "translocon" from purified components and demonstrated its capacity to transport secretory proteins across the ER membrane and to integrate type I and type II membrane proteins into the lipid bilayer.

In 1993, Dr. Görlich joined Ron. Laskey's lab at the University of Cambridge, where he discovered the first importins as mediators of protein import into the cell nucleus.

In 1996, he became an independent group leader and later a professor of molecular biology at the ZMBH (University of Heidelberg). During this time, he developed the RanGTP-gradient model to explain the directionality and energetics of nuclear transport. His group first described chaperone functions of importins and was instrumental in discovering and characterizing exportins that mediate export from the cell nucleus.

Dr. Görlich is now a director at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen, focusing on the question of how nuclear pore complexes function as highly efficient transport machines. His team discovered that intrinsically disordered FG domains assemble into a condensed (selective) FG phase that serves as a highly selective permeability barrier of extreme transport capacity. His group also develops nanobodies as cell biological tools and, more recently, also as therapeutics for treating diseases such as Covid-19, malaria, bacterial infections, sepsis, and autoimmune conditions.


Roger KORNBERG, Chairman of the World Laureates Association and 2006 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, said that “The WLA Prize advocates for original basic science and encourages scientific researchers to be better committed to the common well-being of human beings. It is believed that the WLA Prize, established in China through multi-lateral efforts, will become one of the world's globally influential awards.”


Michael LEVITT, Vice Chairman of the World Laureates Association and 2013 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry announced the 2022 WLA Prize laureates.YANG Wei, Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Foreign Member of the National Academy of Engineering (USA), and Fellow and Treasurer of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) also attended the press conference.


“Global technological development has brought revolutionary and far-reaching impact since the start of this century, and the pace of development is only accelerating,” said Neil SHEN, Steward of Sequoia Capital Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia China, which is the exclusive sponsor of the WLA Prize. “Sequoia China is committed to supporting cutting-edge technology and fundamental research and encouraging those who push forward the frontiers of science.”


WU Xiangdong , Executive Director of the World Laureates Association and Chairman of the WLA Prize Management Committee announced that the Award Ceremony of the inaugural WLA Prize will be solemnly held at the Opening Ceremony of the 5th WLA Forum in early November 2022; both of the laureates are on schedule to Shanghai to accept their awards.

About the WLA Prize

The World Laureates Association Prize (WLA Prize) is an international science prize established in Shanghai, in 2021, initiated by World Laureates Association (WLA), managed by the WLA Foundation, and exclusively funded by Sequoia China.

The WLA Prize aims to recognize and support eminent researchers and technologists worldwide for their contributions to science. It is intended to support global science and technology advancement, address the challenges to humanity, and promote society's long-term progress.

Each year, the WLA Prize is awarded in two categories: the "WLA Prize in Computer Science or Mathematics" and the "WLA Prize in Life Science or Medicine."

The total award for each Prize, which may be divided among up to four laureates, is RMB 10 million.


More info about the WLA Prize:


About Us

World Laureates Association

The World Laureates Association (WLA) is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization. It is one of the world's highest profile organizations of laureates with three missions: advocacy for basic science, promotion of international cooperation, and support for young scientists. Upholding the vision of "Science and Technology for the Common Destiny of Mankind," the WLA is committed to enhancing the academic exchange of ideas and research among scientists and scholars in China and the world.

Follow Us for updates on Facebook and Twitter:@wlaforum 

WLA Foundation

The WLA Foundation supports all WLA activities and is funded entirely by donations from private sources. 


Sequoia China

Sequoia China helps daring founders build legendary companies. In partnering with Sequoia, companies benefit from its unmatched community and the lessons Sequoia has learned over the years. As "The Entrepreneurs Behind The Entrepreneurs", Sequoia China focuses on three sectors: tech, consumer and healthcare. Over the past 17 years, Sequoia China has had the privilege of working with more than 900 companies. It is committed to advancing innovation in science and technology. It actively supports scientists and entrepreneurs, promotes technological innovation, and nurtures leading tech-enabled enterprises, with a concern for corporate social responsibility. As the exclusive sponsor of the World Laureates Association (WLA) Prize, Sequoia China hopes that its support will encourage the pursuit of innovative scientific developments and drive growth across the world.


Michael I. JORDAN, the 2022 WLA Prize Laureate in Computer Science or Mathematics, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences & Department of Statistics, UC Berkeley. Dirk GÖRLICH, the 2022 WLA Prize Laureate in Life Science or Medicine, Scientific member and Director, Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences.