Vitterhetsakademien confers several prizes and medals annually. The best known are the Gad Rausing Prize, the Swenson Prize, and the Rettig Prize. They are awarded in accordance with the donors’ wishes, as are all the donated prizes. The prizes for teaching excellence in schools and outstanding scholarly work are two of the prizes instituted and directly funded by the Academy.
The most prestigious award, the Gad Rausing Prize for Outstanding Humanities Research, was instituted by the Academy’s Honorary Member Gad Rausing’s three children in his memory. It is awarded to an outstanding Nordic researcher, primarily in archaeology, history, or linguistics. The prize sum in 2022 was SEK 1.5 million.
The Rettig Prize was first awarded in 1956. It was instituted as part of the Rettig donation so that income from the Rettig Cultural Foundation investments could be distributed in the form of a prize. The prize is awarded to an outstanding researcher in the Academy’s fields of interest. The right to nominate the winner formerly alternated between the Academy’s ‘classes’—its history and antiquarianism class and its philosophy and philology class—but as of 2018 both classes have awarded a SEK 250,000 prize annually.
In 1988, Vitterhetsakademien Honorary Member Carl-Hakon Swenson and his wife Ann-Kersti Swenson donated a significant sum, the income to be distributed annually as the Ann-Kersti and Carl-Hakon Swenson Prize in Humanities and Social Sciences, with the same focus as the Rettig Prize. It has been awarded every other year since 1992. The prize sum in 2021 was SEK 700,000.
The Vitterhetsakademien Prizes for Teaching Excellence recognise outstanding teaching in primary and lower-secondary school or in upper-secondary school in modern languages, the humanities, or the social sciences. Besides a prize sum of SEK 50,000, each prize-winner’s school is presented with SEK 20,000 for purchases for the school library. Up to three prizes are awarded annually.
The Vitterhetsakademien Prizes for Outstanding Scholarly Work are awarded annually to four early-career researchers. Each prize is SEK 50,000. Two prize-winners are nominated by each of Vitterhetsakademien’s two classes.
Among the prizes awarded by Vitterhetsakademien are the Beskow Scholarship, the Björnstjern Prize, the Uno Lindgren Prize, the Loubat Prize, the Montelii Prize, and the Warburg Prize.
The candidates for the majority of prizes are nominated by the Academy’s members for a collective decision by the Academy. For three prizes—the Vitterhetsakademien Prizes for Teaching Excellence, the Ann-Kersti and Carl-Hakon Swenson Prize in Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Gad Rausing Prize for Outstanding Humanities Research—Vitterhetsakademien invites nominations which are considered by special committees.
All prizes and medals are awarded at Academy’s Annual Meeting on 20 March, to mark the foundation in 1753. Since the early 1920s, the Annual Meeting has been held in the Great Hall of the House of Nobility, often in the presence of the patrons of the Academy, HM The King, HM The Queen, and HRH The Crown Princess.
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