(L-R: Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, Reese Fernandez, Jacob Colker, Bruktawit Tigabu, Piyush Tewari)

When Rolex established the Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 1976, the company wanted to reward remarkable people whose work deepened human knowledge and contributed to well-being. In 2009 Rolex expanded its commitment to reward those who strive for social change by launching its Young Laureates Programme, which provides funding to young leaders whose work demonstrates groundbreaking solutions to contemporary challenges in 5 fields: science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment, and cultural preservation. Every round, five visionary young men and women are awarded $50,000, split over two years. The first year of funding gives the laureates time to deepen and focus their ideas; the second year is intended to promote the project and propel its work into the future. Rolex also provides the winners access to its international network of explorers, scientists, educators, and experts, who can act as mentors, guides, and vital contacts as the Young Laureates develop skills to make them the leaders of tomorrow.

Selection for the Rolex Young Laureate Program will alternate every two years with the original Rolex Awards for Excellence. It is open to anyone of any nationality between the ages of 18 and 31. The next round of Young Laureates will be chosen in 2012. Application details can be found on the Rolex Awards site.

Sundance Channel is proud to partner with Rolex Awards for Enterprise in their support of visionary young men and women tackling the world’s most pressing issues in five areas: science and health, applied technology, exploration, the environment and cultural preservation. Stay tuned for the announcement of the next Awards for Enterprise winner soon.

See all of the Rolex Young Laureates here.