Nominations for the Millennium Technology Prize 2014: Significant increase on 2012, boosted by nominations in life sciences

HELSINKI (30 August 2013) – Nominations for the sixth Millennium Technology Prize have increased by almost 20 per cent, totalling 45, with double the number of candidates in life sciences following the 2012 award to stem-cell pioneer Dr Shinya Yamanaka. Nominations for the 2014 prize closed at the end of July.

The Millennium Technology Prize – worth over one million euros – covers all forms of technological and scientific innovations excluding military technologies. Last year the biennial prize was split between the fields of IT and biotech. The winners were Linus Torvalds, for his work on the Linux open source operating system, and Shinya Yamanaka, for his work developing a non-embryonic source of stem cells. Dr Yamanaka later won the 2012 Nobel Prize in medicine for this work.

Technology Academy Finland, an independent foundation promoting scientific research and innovation, organises the awards.

The 2014 Millennium Technology Prize Winner will be announced on 9th April 2014, with a prize ceremony in Helsinki on 7th May 2014.

Dr Juha Ylä-Jääski, President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland, says:

“I am delighted to see the Millennium Technology Prize capturing the imagination of the international scientific community, with more and more applications every nomination round. More importantly, the quality and relevance are also increasing every time.”

“The Millennium Technology Prize awards significant innovations. We have a very thorough vetting process. It is absolutely rigorous. It is designed to recognise innovation that advances the quality of life, and that is useful to society.”

“Next year, the award ceremony is going to be different and bigger. The prize was awarded for the first time 10 years ago and we will also celebrate all previous prize winners and the innovations they produced. We want to gain more visibility for the prize in order to convey the message about the importance of good technology in society.”

The Millennium Technology Prize has a track record in picking scientists who later have gained solid international recognition. The winner of the first Millennium Technology Prize, in 2004, was Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the World Wide Web. In 2006, it went to Shuji Nakamura for inventing the first blue and white LEDs, while in 2008 it went to a biotech pioneer; Robert Langer won for his work on biomaterials and controlled drug release. In 2010, the winner was a chemist, the inventor of dye-sensitised solar cells, Michael Grätzel.

 

ROBUST JUDGING PROCESS

The International Selection Committee sifts and assesses the nominations according to several important criteria. The main criteria for the Millennium Technology Prize are that the innovation improves the quality of human life, has been applied in practice and it has the potential to generate new applications. Also, the International Selection Committee looks favourably on technologies which promote environmentally sustainable development.

Self-nominations are not permitted, and each individual and their innovation must be supported by at least two distinguished individuals from separate organisations.

The International Selection Committee makes its recommendation for the winner for the Board of Technology Academy Finland who ultimately chooses the winner.

 

THE INTERNATIONAL SELECTION COMMITTEE 2013-2014

The International Selection Committee is made up of eight world-class scientists. Each Committee member cannot serve for more than four awards, or eight years.

 

The full committee is as follows:

Chancellor Jarl-Thure Eriksson, Finland. Chairman of the Selection Committee. Chancellor of Åbo Akademi University; formerly Rector of Tampere University of Technology. Expertise: Superconductivity, complex systems and neural networks.

Professor Eva-Mari Aro, Finland. Professor in Molecular Plant Biology at the University of Turku. Expertise: Photosynthesis, solar-energy conversion and chloroplast signaling.

Professor Jaakko Astola, Finland. Professor of Signal Processing at Tampere University of Technology. Expertise: Signal processing, information theory and statistics.

Dr. Craig R. Barrett, United States of America, Ex CEO/Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation; Associate Professor at Stanford University; chairs Change The Equation, Achieve, Inc., Dossia, and the Skolkovo Foundation Council Board of Directors. Expertise: Improving educational standards in the United States and around the world.

Academician Riitta Hari, Finland. Director of both the multidisciplinary Brain Research Unit of the Low Temperature Laboratory at Finland’s Aalto University and the national Center of Excellence on Systems. Expertise: Neuroscience and brain imaging.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Freund, Germany. Scientific Member and Director at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. Adjunct Professor with the three Berlin Universities, heads the Department of Chemical Physics. Expertise: Physical Chemistry of Surfaces, Interfaces and Nanostructures, in particular, in relation to Heterogeneous Catalysis.

Professor Konrad Osterwalder, Switzerland. Rector of the United Nations University; Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; member of the Swiss Academy of Technical Sciences. Expertise: Mathematical structure of relativistic quantum field theory, elementary particle physics, statistical mechanics.

Dr. Ayao Tsuge, Japan. President of the Japan Federation of Engineering Society, Member of the Science Council of Japan and Vice President of the Engineering Academy of Japan. Expertise: Energy, environment and economy, innovation, the management of technology and international relations.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Juha Ylä-Jääski, President and CEO, Technology Academy Finland
juha.yla-jaaski(at)technologyacademy.fi, tel +358 40 9030 606

For international media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Vandore, Apollo Public Relations emma(at)apollopublicrelations.com tel. 00 44 777 6345474

 

For further information about the Prize, nomination criteria and nomination documents, visit www.millenniumprize.fi