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11/01-11   -   Press releases

The search for the Winner of the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize has begun

Technology Academy Finland is now requesting nominees for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. Awarded every second year, the Prize is given to a technological innovation which significantly improves the quality of human life and supports sustainable development. Nominations will be accepted until 31 July 2011. The Millennium Technology Prize will be awarded for the fifth time in the summer of 2012. Finnish awards of distinction to innovators in the technology sector will be presented to a research team or to one, two or three people whose work has played a decisive role in the development of a new technological innovation.

"Ensuring adequate supplies of clean water, using energy efficiently and dealing with threats to human health are all challenges whose solutions require new technological innovations," says Ainomaija Haarla , President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland. "In making their decisions, the main criteria used by the International Selection Committee are an innovation´s favourable impact on people´s lives and on sustainable development, its potential at the moment of evaluation and in the future, and the extent of the resulting change."

"The invention of the incandescent lamp, radio and penicillin are well-known milestones on the path of technological development," says Dr. Jarl-Thure Eriksson , Chancellor of Åbo Akademi University and Chairman of the International Selection Committee. "Light, communication and human health are characteristic themes of great innovations. The role played by pure and applied science is a essential one in developing new technologies: the transistor required a knowledge of quantum mechanics, while the electron microscope revealed the secrets of DNA. Acquiring the in-depth insight needed to achieve a significant technological innovation requires faith and perseverance. Winning the Millennium Technology Prize represents recognition for success in such development work."

Nominations can be made by scientific societies, universities, research institutions, companies and associations. Potential candidates cannot nominate themselves.

Eligible nominations will be examined by the International Selection Committee, a distinguished network of leading Finnish and international scientists and technologists. Innovations selected for the final part of the selection process will be announced in spring 2012. The final decision regarding all the awards is made by the Board of the Technology Academy Finland on the basis of a proposal by the ISC. Awards for the Laureates and the Grand Prize Winner will be presented at a festive ceremony in Helsinki in June 2012.

The Millennium Technology Prize has been awarded four times. The inaugural Prize was awarded in 2004 to Sir Tim Berners-Lee , inventor of the World Wide Web. In 2006, the Prize was awarded to Professor Shuji Nakamura , inventor of revolutionary new light sources - bright blue, green and white LEDs and a blue laser. In 2008, Professor Robert Langer won the Prize for his innovative work in controlled drug release and for developing innovative biomaterials for use in tissue regeneration. The fourth Prize was awarded to Professor Michael Grätzel in 2010 for his innovative developments in dye-sensitised solar cells. New technology will have a significant impact on the development of future energy solutions, and Grätzel cells are expected to play an important and extensive role in renewable energy applications.

The aims of the Millennium Technology Prize are to improve quality of life and to promote sustainable development-oriented research, development and innovation. Since 2008, in addition to the Grand Prize Winner, awards have also been presented to 2-3 researchers or research groups whose work has resulted in the development of a significant technological innovation. Co-founded and financed by Finnish industry and the Finnish state in partnership, the Millennium Technology Prize is awarded by Technology Academy Finland and has a value of more than one million euros. The President of the Republic of Finland is patron of the Prize.

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00100 Helsinki, England

  +358 40 716 0703

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