Millennium Talks:
Winner’s Presentation and
Panel Discussion

Meet the Winner of the Millennium Technology Prize 2016 and learn what it takes to become an innovator.


Date: 25 May, 2016 at 3–7 pm

Venue: The Festival Hall of Aalto University School of Business, Runeberginkatu 14–16, Helsinki

Register here for the Winner’s Presentation and / or Panel Discussion


The event is in English and open for public free of charge

This event is part of the Millennium Technology Prize 2016 celebration week. Please check the entire program here.



3–5 pm

Welcome to Aalto University
Tuija I. Pulkkinen, Vice President


Moderator: Marja Makarow, Chair, Technology Academy Finland

Revolution in learning and teaching in schools
Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, OECD

Accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship in universities
Tuula Teeri, President, Aalto University

Enabling policies and instruments
Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, European Commission

Excellence in fundamental research
Johanna Ivaska, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Turku

From excellence to impact
Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman, Nokia Corporation

General discussion


5–5.30 pm



5.30–7 pm


Moderator: Howy Jacobs, Professor, University of Helsinki

Winner’s presentation on the awarded innovation

The Finnish context



Printable program (pdf).


afest16_aalto fi_banneri300x300_eng_pieni


This event is part of Aalto Festival program. Aalto festival is held on 16 – 31 May 2016.




The winnerThe Winner
The Millennium Technology Prize 2016

The Millennium Technology Prize will be announced and awarded in Helsinki on 24 May 2016.

Ivaska, Johanna2 225x300Johanna Ivaska
Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Turku

Johanna Ivaska received her MSc in Biochemistry in 1995, received her PhD from the University of Turku in 2000 and trained as a post-doc in the United Kingdom. She is currently Academy Professor, appointed by the Academy of Finland and is Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Turku. She leads the Cell Adhesion and Cancer research group at Turku Centre for Biotechnology. Her research focus is to understand cancer cell movement, invasion and metastasis. She was elected as an EMBO Young Investigator in 2007 and a member of the EMBO in 2015. Her research group is part of Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence of Translational Cancer Biology (2014–2019) and is currently funded also by two European Research Council (ERC) funded grants. In addition to her academic research, she is an editor in eLIFE and Journal of Cell Biology and an editorial board member of Cancer Research, Cell Reports and Journal of Cell Science.


Schleicher, Andreas 225x300

Andreas Schleicher
Director for Education and Skills, OECD

Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. As a key member of the OECD Senior Management team, Mr. Schleicher supports the Secretary-General’s strategy to produce analysis and policy advice that advances economic growth and social progress. He promotes the work of the Directorate for Education and Skills on a global stage and fosters co-operation both within and outside the OECD. In addition to policy and country reviews, the work of the Directorate includes the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems (INES). Before joining the OECD, Mr. Schleicher was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He studied Physics in Germany and received a degree in Mathematics and Statistics in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”.  He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

Siilasmaa, Risto 225x300

Risto Siilasmaa
Chairman, Nokia Corporation

After being appointed chairman in May 2012, Risto Siilasmaa has led the company in one of the most successful corporate transformations ever. Through four transactions that he orchestrated – the purchase of complete ownership of NSN, the sale of the handset business to Microsoft, the sale of the Nokia mapping business and the recently announced acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent – Nokia has transformed from a bankruptcy candidate to a successful global technology leader. Risto Siilasmaa is the founder of F-Secure Corporation, a Finnish internet security service provider and served as the President and CEO of the company between 1988-2006. Since then he has held the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Confederation of Finnish Industries, chairman of the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries and member of the European Round Table ERT, Tsinghua SEM Advisory Board and International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Beijing. Mr Siilasmaa has received several awards including Nordic Chairman of the year 2009, the Most Influential IT Leader 2007, The Leader of the Decade 2003 and Innovation Luminary Award 2015 granted by EU Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group. Mr. Siilasmaa holds a Master of Science degree from the Helsinki University of Technology.

Smits, Robert-Jan 225x300

Robert-Jan Smits
Director-General, Research and Innovation, European Commission

Mr. Robert-Jan Smits is responsible for defining and implementing the EU policy and programmes in the field of research and innovation (average annual budget 8 billion euro). Mr Smits was one of the main architects and negotiators of Horizon 2020, the 80 billion EU programme for science and innovation (2014–2020). Mr Smits has also been instrumental in the development of several other policy initiatives in the field of European science and innovation such as: the European Research Council (ERC), the European Roadmap for large scale facilities, Public-Private Partnerships in research, the Innovation Union and the European Research Area (ERA). Mr Smits is chairing several high-level committees such as European Research Area Committee (ERAC), the Steering Committee of the ERC Executive Agency (ERCEA) and joint S&T committees with Europe’s key global partners. Mr Smits was born in The Netherlands. He has degrees from Utrecht University in The Netherlands, Institut Universitaire d’Hautes Etudes Internationales in Switzerland and Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in the United States of America.

Teeri, Tuula 225x300Tuula Teeri
President, Aalto University

Tuula Teeri, Ph.D. is the first President of Aalto University since 1 April 2009, with her second five-year term as of 1 April 2014. Under her leadership, Aalto University has implemented the tenure track career system for professors, renewed its educational offering and developed multidisciplinary research and educational initiatives. The innovation ecosystem around the university has grown into a major hub for student-driven entrepreneurship. During her scientific career, she was a pioneer of forest industrial biotechnology and the development of biomimetic materials. Tuula Teeri has held research and leadership positions in different universities and research institutes. She is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Technology Academy Finland, and the Swedish Academy of Technology in Finland.



Jacobs, Howard 225x300 Photo: Linda Tammisto / University of Helsinki

Howy Jacobs
Director of Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki

Howy Jacobs studied in Cambridge, Glasgow and Caltech before moving to Finland in 1996 as Professor of Molecular Biology in the University of  Tampere. In 2015 he became Director of the Institute of Biotechnology in the University of Helsinki, which provides a platform for high-profile discovery bioscience and for developing innovations arising from it. Howy’s specialist field is mitochondrial DNA and disease. Recently his focus has been alternative respiratory-chain enzymes, found in most organisms, but absent from humans and other advanced animal species. In those organisms that possess them, these enzymes buffer stress in the mitochondrial energy-generating system. Therefore, they have a potential use in therapy for diseases marked by mitochondrial dysfunction, representing an astonishingly wide spectrum of pathological states. Howy is a member of EMBO, a former winner of the EU Descartes Prize, and is involved in a number of public communication and media activities, such as the current TV documentary series ‘The Future of Finland’.


Makarow, Marja 225x300Marja Makarow
Chair, Technology Academy Finland

Professor Marja Makarow is vice president of the Academy of Finland – the Finnish Research Council. She is former vice rector of the University of Helsinki and chief executive of the European Science Foundation. She advised the European Union in the European Research Area Board and the Finnish government in the Council for Research and Innovation. She served as vice chair of the board of the Aalto University during its first 4 years. She is member of the governing board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology EIT, vice chair of the EC’s Future and Emerging Technologies Advisory Group, and former panel chair of the European Research Council ERC. She chairs Technology Academy Finland that awards the Millennium Technology Prize.