Indian legal scholar Tarunabh Khaitan has been awarded the inaugural Letten Prize for research on global development challenges.

The prize itself is a novel initiative by the Young Academy of Norway and the Letten Foundation. The initiative seeks explicitly to recognize the contribution of younger researchers in addressing global challenges across the fields of health, environment, development and equality. In doing so, it honours the legacy of Letten F. Saugstad, a Norwegian doctor and researcher who, until her death in 2014, fought for her conviction that health, environment and equality in all aspects of human life is key to a sustainable development and a better future for all.

Tarunabh Khaitan, a lawyer from India affiliated with the University of Melbourne and Wadham College, University of Oxford, was awarded the Norwegian-based prize, worth 2 million NOK, or roughly 185,000 GBP on 13 September for his contribution to addressing the structural inequalities that undermine social and economic development.

Khaitan was selected from among over 200 candidates – young researchers representing every continent and academic disciplines ranging from chemistry to anthropology. The Prize is awarded every other year, so Khaitan will return in two years to report on what he has been able to do with the award.

The Letten Prize Board hopes that the prize will raise public awareness of how research can be used to solve global human development challenges. The next call for the Letten Prize is set for 2020.