Single outstanding scientists have become a rarity. They still exist; however, in most cases research and academia require teams, organized as a network of groups with a common interest. Leading individuals, with a clear research orientation, forge successful groups and networks with accomplished and competent researchers.
The Pro Academia Prize is bestowed on one or several academic groups that serve as an example. Their members must have worked together and succeeded in reaching their goals over a period of at least eight years and thus created "nurseries" of scientific eminence. The Prize was established by The Round Table Foundation. It was awarded for the first time in 2013.
The Prize is also meant as an incentive, a motivation for young scientists to pursue new avenues of research and teaching. The Round Table Foundation wants them to go on and follow an honest and ethical academic way.
The Prize itself is a crystal owl, symbolizing Athena, the goddess of crafts and skilled peacetime pursuits. She personifies wisdom and righteousness. Thus, the Prize stands for scientific and academic perseverance, knowledge, and exchange. The Prize lauds these virtues and successes.
The Executive Board of the Prize is formed by the President and Council Members of TRTF, at present Peter A. Rinck, Robert N. Muller, and Patricia de Francisco. Additional members are Luis Martí-Bonmatí, and Hans G. Ringertz.
The Board is advised by personalities in academia. Candidates can be nominated by the members of the Board or the Advisory Committee. Direct applications are not accepted.