2023 Donner Prize awarded to Michael Byers and Aaron Boley for Who owns outer space?

May 13, 2024

The winner of the 2023 Donner Prize was announced on May 8, 2024, by Gregory Belton, Chair of the Donner Canadian Foundation, during a gala dinner in Toronto.

Michael Byers and Aaron Boley were awarded the $60,000 Donner Prize for Who Owns Outer Space? International Law, Astrophysics, and the Sustainable Development of Space, published by Cambridge University Press.

In Who Owns Outer Space, Byers and Boley, an international lawyer and an astrophysicist, identify and explore the challenges of humanity’s rapid expansion into Space. They propose actionable solutions and explain the essential aspects of Space science, international law, and global governance in a fully transdisciplinary and highly accessible way.

The Donner Prize Jury praised the book for “providing a grounding in a field of law and policy, which is essential to the age we live in. The topic is vital, the analysis is thorough, and the finer points of law are meticulously explained. There is a clarity and “down to earth” quality to the writing, which make this a very accessible book on an “out of this world” subject.”

The other nominated titles, each of which will receive $7,500, are:

The Legal Singularity: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Law Radically Better by Abdi Aidid and Benjamin Alarie (University of Toronto Press)

Pandemic Panic: How Canadian Government Responses to COVID-19 Changed Civil Liberties Forever by Joanna Baron and Christine Van Geyn (Optimum Publishing International)

The Privacy Fallacy: Harm and Power in the Information Economy, by Ignacio Cofone (Cambridge University Press)

Wrongfully Convicted: Guilty Pleas, Imagined Crimes, and What Canada Must Do to Safeguard Justice by Kent Roach (Simon & Schuster Canada)

The winner of the Donner Prize was selected by the six-member jury: Louise Fréchette (Jury Chair), Neil Desai, Jack Mintz, Maureen O’Neil, Karen Restoule and Frederic Wien.

Jury Chair Fréchette commented “The mandate of the Donner Prize is to recognize and reward the best public policy thinking, writing and research by a Canadian. We also strive to bring forward books that will assist policy makers in their decision-making, on the vast array of challenges we face as Canadians. This year’s shortlisted books cover policy topics that could be on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper!”

The Donner Prize, established in 1998, annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy thinking, writing and research. In bestowing this award, the Donner Canadian Foundation seeks to broaden policy debates, increase general awareness of the importance of policy decision-making and make an original and meaningful contribution to policy discourse.

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