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Renowned names form innovation award committee

Collage of portraits of the members of the Award Committee
The 2021 members of the award committee are the KTH President Sigbritt Karlsson, investor Klaus Hommels, KTH alum Paulina Modlitba, business angel Jane Walerud and KTH professor Stefan Ståhl.
Published Mar 08, 2021

Leading investors, the President of KTH, a professor who has founded seven companies, and innovative KTH alums form the award committee that in June will chose the first recipient of the KTH Innovation Award.

The KTH Innovation Award was launched in February 2021, after donations from CEO and founder of Spotify Daniel Ek and Mathias Uhlén, professor at KTH. The award aims to recognize people from KTH who with creativity, grit and courage have taken on big challenges and have contributed to a better society with their innovations. Read more: New innovation award celebrates entrepreneurs who have taken on big challenges .

The Award is open for nominations until April 15, and in June, the award committee will announce the first recipient, who in addition to the honor will also receive a 500 000 SEK monetary award.

Finding those who have created impact

One of the five names in the award committee is Sigbritt Karlsson, the President of KTH. Her latest appointment was president of the University of Skövde, a position she held for six years. She has an academic background from KTH, where she earned her Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a specialisation in biotechnology. She is professor of polymer technology targeting the polymeric materials technical environment.

- We know our students and researchers have great impact in the world, and I look forward to seeing more examples of how they have contributed, says Sigbritt Karlsson. We look forward to revealing the first recipient of the KTH Innovation Award and hope to see a diverse group of nominees.

Taking on big challenges more important than ever

The next member of the committee, Paulina Modlitba is a KTH alum, and has a degree from MIT. She is a member of the KTH Alumni Advisory Board, and in 2018, she was named Alum of the year at KTH. Since seven years back, she is a consultant in innovation and CEO of We Should Be Friends. She is one of the organizers of the Gather and Women in Tech Sweden conferences.

- Supporting and recognizing entrepreneurs who dare to take on big challenges is incredibly important in times like these when the planet needs us the most, says Paulina Modlitba. I hope that the KTH Innovation Award will encourage more people, engineers and others, to take that path and become part of shaping a more sustainable and smart world.

Bringing the investors' perspective

Klaus Hommels brings an international viewpoint to the jury. He is holds a Ph.D in Finance and is one of Europe’s most successful business angels and investors, with a proven flair for finding companies with high potential.

- I am excited to support the KTH Innovation Award. It is more important than ever that our continent can build and finance independently critical platforms and products in sectors like health, media, opinion building, payments and many others - and it's these types of initiatives, with the backing of great universities and experienced entrepreneurs, that will help us get there. 

Hommels is founder and chairperson of the venture capital fund Lakestar, with offices in Zurich, Berlin, London, New York and Hong Kong. He was one of the first investors in companies like Spotify, Facebook, Airbnb and King.

Jane Walerud is well known in the Stockholm innovation ecosystem and has close bonds to KTH. She is a Stanford University Alum and an honorary doctor at KTH. She has founded several tech companies and is today one of Sweden’s top business angels and investors through the family-owned Walerud Ventures. She was the first investor in Klarna, and has also invested in companies like Tobii Technologies and Lensway.  

The professor who has founded seven companies

The final member, Stefan Ståhl has founded seven research-based companies in his career. He is professor in Molecular Biotechnology and Deputy Head of the Department of Protein Science at the School of Chemistry, Biotechnology, and Health at KTH. He is also Chairman of the board of KTH Holding.  

Nominate to the KTH Innovation Award

Nomination to the KTH Innovation Award is open until 15 April. Anyone can nominate a candidate, or themselves to the award. Nominate on

Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Mar 08, 2021