The Shaw Prize is an international award to honour individuals who are currently active in their respective fields and who have achieved distinguished and significant advances, who have made outstanding contributions in culture and the arts, or who in other domains have achieved excellence. The award is dedicated to furthering societal progress, enhancing quality of life, and enriching humanity's spiritual civilization. Preference will be given to individuals whose significant work was recently achieved.

The Shaw Prize for 2009 consists of three annual awards: the Prize in Astronomy, the Prize in Life Science and Medicine, and the Prize in Mathematical Sciences. Each prize carries a monetary award of US$1 million. The nomination process begins in September 2008, the winners to be announced in the summer and the prizes presented in early autumn in the following year.

The Shaw Prize, established under the auspices of Mr Run Run Shaw in November 2002, is managed and administered by The Shaw Prize Foundation based in Hong Kong.