The nomination period for the prize begins on January 14, 2013 and will remain open until July 31, 2013. The Grand Prize Winner(s) will be announced at a ceremony in Helsinki in June 2014.
With a prize pot of at least one million euros, the award is given every two years by Technology Academy Finland (TAF), an independent foundation established by Finnish industry in partnership with government and academic institutions.
The winner(s) of the prize is responsible for an innovation that has changed or has a potential to change people’s lives for the better. The innovations must have been applied in practice and are proven to deliver extensive change now and in the future, stimulating further cutting edge research and development in science and technology. The prize can be awarded to a single individual or to a team and is open to innovators of all nationalities and to those working in all fields of technology apart from military technology.
The Millennium Technology Prize has a track record of picking scientists that go on to major international prominence. To date, the Millennium Technology Grand Prize has been awarded to six Grand Prize winners, all of whom are now recognised internationally.
The most recent winners of the prize are Linus Torvalds and Shinya Yamanaka, who were awarded in 2012. Torvalds initiated the free open source operating system Linux that runs on many smartphone and tablet devices, and Dr Yamanaka pioneered non-embryonic stem cell research to develop treatment for illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and spinal injuries. After he won the Millennium Technology Prize, Dr Yamanaka went on to be awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Dr Ainomaija Haarla, President and CEO of the Technology Academy Finland, said:
“Since the Millennium Technology Prize was founded eleven years ago it has celebrated the role of gifted innovators who contribute to the improvement of people’s living conditions – whether through developing free and open communication technologies, creating cost efficient and sustainable sources of energy, or inventing new ways of delivering drugs that treat serious diseases.”
“As long as science prizes are rigorous and judged by scientific experts, they can indeed stimulate innovation by attracting funding and public interest. Top quality nominations are the basis for all that the Millennium Technology Prize achieves, and we look forward to receiving them once again.”
TAF partners with leading Finnish companies, government and academic organizations in promoting the prize. Dr Tuula Teeri, President of Aalto University, a strategic partner of TAF, said: “Academic research has a major role in creating new innovations and in building a better world. Aalto University is proud to contribute to awarding this prominent prize.”
Robust judging process
The prize is celebrated for its robust vetting and judging process, run by experts in the field. The task of sifting and assessing the nominations falls to the International Selection Committee made up of eight world-class scientists. The Committee members are selected by the Board of Technology Academy Finland based on proposals made by Aalto University.
The Selection Committee members assess nominations according to several important criteria. Firstly, an innovation must already have shown that it can have a beneficial influence on a large number of people. Secondly it must promote sustainable development. Thirdly, the nominees must be planning to continue developing their cutting-edge research themselves. Finally, self-nominations are not permitted – candidates must be nominated by representatives of science and engineering academies, universities, research institutes, industrial enterprises and associations.
The International Selection Committee starts the evaluation process by studying the background material prepared by the nominators. In the next step the Committee carries out its own research on the most promising candidates. Based on the outcome, the Committee draws up a shortlist of Laureates for the Board of the Technology Academy Finland. Upon approval from the Board the International Selection Committee further recommends a Winner (Winners) for the Grand Prize, to be finally approved by the TAF Board.
The International Selection Committee 2013-2014
The term of each Committee member is four rounds at maximum, i.e. eight years. New members for the 2014 Millennium Technology Prize round are Professor Jaakko Astola from Finland and Dr Hans-Joachim Freund from Germany.
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 neuroimaging.
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.
Ph.D. Juha Ylä-Jääski, Finland. Secretary of the Selection Committee. Acting President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland (TAF).
Niina Suhonen, Head of Communications & Marketing, Technology Academy Finland
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Further information about the Prize, nomination criteria and nomination documents visit www.millenniumprize.fi. For specific guidelines and enquiries regarding the submission of nominations, please contact Ph.D. Juha Ylä-Jääski, acting President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland, at: email@example.com.
Nomination material must be provided in English and delivered to Technology Academy Finland by 31st July 2013 at www.millenniumprize.fi/cfn.
Technology Academy Finland (TAF) is an independent foundation established to promote scientific research and technologies that support sustainable development. TAF awards the biennial Millennium Technology Prize and arranges events in connection with this. TAF also helps to reinforce Finland’s image as a high tech country by actively participating in international scientific networks. TAF is a member of CAETS, Euro-CASE and the World Economic Forum, and works closely with Finnish industry, government organizations and the scientific community.