BRINGING TECHNOLOGY CLOSER TO PEOPLE
The Millennium Technology Prize is Finland's tribute to life-enhancing technological innovations. The prize has been established to steer the course of technological development to a more humane direction. In particular, the prize seeks to highlight innovations that assist and enrich our everyday lives today as well as in the future.
The prize is awarded every second year. Nominations for the prize can be made by academies, universities, research institutes and industrial organizations. Candidates are sought from across the world and all fields of technology.
The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded by Technology Academy Finland, an independent foundation, established by Finnish industry and the Finnish state in partnership.
The aims of the prize are to promote technological research and innovation that have a positive impact on the quality of life, alleviate fears towards technological change and encourage discussion between technology specialists and societal decision makers.
MILLENNIUM TROPHY "PEAK" SYMBOLIZES ULTIMATE ACHIEVEMENT
The Winners of the Millennium Technology Prize receive a trophy carrying the name "Peak". The principal feature of the trophy is its crystal tip, which is grown from silicon.
Industrial processing of silicon, the world’s second-most-common element, is the foundation of modern electronics. The form of the crystal comes from the process of growing it and since no two crystals are alike, each individual trophy is also unique.
"Peak" highlights the connection between technology and nature in an intriguing way. The shape of the trophy, its sharp peak, also symbolizes the highest knowledge and the highest technology.
"Peak" is designed by Finnish sculptor Helena Hietanen.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Millennium Technology Prize?
The Millennium Technology Prize is Finland's tribute to life-enhancing technological innovation. As the world's largest technology award, the prize celebrates innovations that have a favourable impact on quality of life and wellbeing. In particular, it seeks to highlight innovations that assist and enrich people's everyday lives today as well as in the future. Conferred by Technology Academy Finland, an independent foundation established by Finnish industry and the Finnish state in partnership, the Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every second year.
Who has won the Millennium Technology Prize?
The inaugural Millennium Technology Prize was presented to Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, in 2004.
The 2006 Millennium Technology Prize Winner was Professor Shuji Nakamura, inventor of new revolutionary light sources.
The 2008 Millennium Technology Grand Prize Winner was Professor Robert Langer for his invention and development of innovative biomaterials for controlled drug release and tissue regeneration. Other Laureates for the 2008 Prize were Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi and Professor Emmanuel Desurvire, Dr. Randy Giles and Professor David N. Payne.
The 2010 Millennium Technology Grand Prize Winner was Professor Michael Grätzel for his invention and development of dye-sensitized solar cells, known as 'Grätzel cells'. Other Laureates for the 2010 Prize were Professor Sir Richard Friend and Professor Stephen Furber.
In 2012 the Millennium Technology Prize was divided between the two Grand Prize winners: Linus Torvalds for his open source operating system and Professor Shinya Yamanaka for his ethical stem cells research.
How can one be nominated for the Millennium Technology Prize?
Nominations can be made by academies, universities, research institutions and industrial communities around the world. Self-nominations are not accepted. The Millennium Technology Prize can be awarded to one, two or three individuals who have independently contributed to an innovation, or to a research and development team. Candidates are sought from across the world and all fields of technology.
How does the selection process operate?
Based on the nominations received, the International Selection Committee recommends either three or four Laureate candidates to the Board of Technology Academy Finland. Once approved by The Board, the names of the Laureates are announced. The Selection Committee then prepares its recommendation for the ultimate Winner to the Board. After the name of the Winner has been announced, the prizes are presented to the Winner and the other Laureates at an award ceremony.
How is the significance of an innovation assessed during the selection process?
Each innovation's significance is assessed using the criteria established by Technology Academy Finland. The basic criteria are: 1) identification of the innovator, 2) the innovation's impact on quality of life and sustainable development now, and 3) in the future, and 4) the significance of the resulting technological change.
What is the Millennium Technology Prize worth?
In 2012 there were two Grand Prize Winners, and the prize pool for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize was € 1.2 million which was divided equally between the two Winners.
1. The nomination period begins approximately one and a half year before and ends around a year before awarding the Millennium Technology Prize. Nominations from all fields of technology and across the world can be made by science academies, universities, research institutes and industrial organizations. Candidates can be either individuals or research groups, who have largely contributed to a discovery of the innovation. Self-nominations are not accepted.
2. The selection process of laureates begins when the Pre-Selection Committee selects best candidates to receive the prize and then presents their innovations to the International Selection Committee. The International Selection Committee consists of a distinguished network of leading Finnish and international scientists and technologists. There are eight people in the Committee and the Chairman of the Committee is always Finnish. Every selection round half the members of the Committee is replaced, and thus the term of a member lasts four years. The International Selection Committee makes a proposal for the laureates to the Board of Technology Academy Finland, who in turn approves 2 to 4 laureates among the recommended. Their names are announced in April of the Millennium Technology Year.
3. The Grand Prize Winner is selected among the announced laureates by the Board of Technology Academy Finland. The selection is based on the recommendation of the International Selection Committee for the Grand Prize Winner.
4. The Award Ceremony takes place during the Millennium Technology Week in June, when Technology Academy Finland announces the Winner of the Grand Prize. All the laureates are rewarded by splitting the prize sum between the laureates.