The size of the Nobel Prize is being reduced to safeguard long-term capital

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At its meeting on June 11, 2012, the Board of Directors of the Nobel Foundation set the amount of the 2012 Nobel Prizes at SEK 8.0 million per prize, at today’s exchange rate equivalent to USD 1.1 million. This implies a lowering of the prize sum by 20 per cent. The Nobel Foundation regards this as a necessary measure in order to avoid an undermining of its capital in a long-term perspective.

One of the most important tasks of the Nobel Foundation is to safeguard the economic base of the Nobel Prize. The capital left behind by Alfred Nobel must therefore be managed in such a way that it will be possible to award the Nobel Prize in perpetuity, while guaranteeing the independence of the prize-awarding institutions.

The decision to lower the prize sum, from SEK 10.0 to 8.0 million, is related to the assessment that the Board of Directors makes today of the potential for achieving a good inflation-adjusted return on the Nobel Foundation’s capital during the next several years. Another part of the picture is that during the past decade, the average return on the Foundation’s capital has fallen short of the overall sum of all Nobel Prizes and operating expenses. The costs of the Nobel Foundation’s central administration and the Nobel festivities are therefore being reviewed.

“The Nobel Foundation is responsible for ensuring that the prize sum can be maintained at a high level in the long term. We have made the assessment that it is important to implement necessary measures in good time,” says Lars Heikensten, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation.

The various organisations in the Nobel sphere also jointly manage large assets connected to the Nobel Prize as a trademark. This includes not only the Nobel Foundation and the prize-awarding institutions, but also the organisations that disseminate information about the Nobel Prize and the achievements of the Laureates, such as Nobel Media and the Nobel Museum in Stockholm and the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. Since the Nobel Foundation’s capital must be used primarily to pay for the work of the Nobel committees and the prize sum itself, these information activities are essentially externally financed, for example via grants from central or local government authorities, corporate sponsors, private donors, foundations or philanthropic entities.

The same is true of the investment in a Nobel Prize Center on the Blasieholmen peninsula in central Stockholm which was announced earlier. The equity of the Nobel Foundation will not be used either for the building or for the operation of a future center.

“The Nobel Prize Center will become an important base in our long-term efforts to preserve the stature of the Nobel Prize and disseminate the message of the Nobel Prize to a global audience,” says Lars Heikensten, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation.

Contact: Annika Pontikis, Public Relations Manager, The Nobel Foundation
E-mail:, tel: 46-8-663 14 70, 46-70-454 76 72, fax: 46-8-660 38 47

The Nobel Foundation is a private institution established in 1900 based on the will of Alfred Nobel. The Foundation manages the assets made available through the will for the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace.

© The Nobel Foundation 2012. Nobel Prize®,®, Nobel Media®, Nobel Museum® and the Nobel Prize® medal design mark are registered trademarks of the Nobel Foundation.


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