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New innovation award celebrates entrepreneurs who have taken on big challenges

Portrait pictures of Daniel Ek and Mathias Uhlén.
Daniel Ek is one of Sweden’s most influential entrepreneurs. Mathias Uhlén has successfully worked with industrial applications of his research. Photo: Spotify/ Alessandro Bellini.
Published Feb 15, 2021

Creativity, grit and courage are at the center of a new innovation award that KTH Royal Institute of Technology is launching today. The aim of the award is to celebrate people from KTH who, with their innovations, have contributed to a better society. The award was made possible by donations from Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek and KTH Professor Mathias Uhlén. The monetary award is 500,000 Swedish crowns (€49,500).

A recipient of the KTH Innovation Award can be one or several individuals who are, or have been, affiliated with KTH through research or education.

“As one of Europe’s leading technical universities, KTH is an important actor in the innovation ecosystem. With our new award, we want to bring into focus and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that lies at the core of KTH. We will highlight entrepreneurs who take on challenges and create impact in society, both locally and globally, with ideas that stem from our research and education,” says KTH President Sigbritt Karlsson.

For those who have pushed boundaries

KTH has a long tradition of working to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Every year, hundreds of students, researchers and employees get support from KTH Innovation to develop their ideas, anything from apps and services to advanced, research-based technology.

Portrait picture of Lisa Ericsson.
“For nearly 200 years, KTH has attracted innovative people with drive and passion,” Lisa Ericsson says. Photo: Alessandro Bellini.

“With the KTH Innovation Award, we want to celebrate people with a connection to KTH who have taken on big challenges in their entrepreneurship. We are looking for those who have pushed boundaries and used their skills to create a better future. In that process, you need creativity, grit and courage,” says Lisa Ericsson, head of KTH Innovation.

Two donors

Donations from Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify, and Mathias Uhlén, professor at KTH, made this exciting new award possible. Ek is one of Sweden’s most influential entrepreneurs. His company, Spotify has fundamentally changed the way people consume music. Ek has also expressed a strong desire to support the startup ecosystem in Europe.

“To me, entrepreneurship is about thinking big, approaching problems in a creative way, and not giving up. People from KTH have been crucial for the development of Spotify and for Sweden as a tech nation. I’m happy to be one of the initiators of the KTH Innovation Award and I hope it can inspire more people to develop advanced technology that can make the world better,” he says.

Uhlén is a world-leading scientist in biotechnology and in the field of proteomics. He is known for his work in large-scale quantitative analysis of proteins and leadership of the Human Protein Atlas project. As an entrepreneur, he has successfully worked with industrial applications of his research. Uhlén’s affiliation with KTH goes back more than 30 years.

“I believe it is important to conduct excellent research and to bring your research out into society. I hope this award will promote those who have persisted with their ideas, but also inspire more people to take on difficult challenges, both in their research and in their entrepreneurship.”

Anyone can nominate

The monetary award is 500 000 SEK and the first recipient of the KTH Innovation Award will be announced in June. The award ceremony will take place in September.

“For nearly 200 years, KTH has attracted innovative people with drive and passion to solve difficult challenges. Now, we are looking forward to seeing the nominations. Everyone is welcome to nominate,” Ericsson says.

More about the KTH Innovation Award.

For more information, contact Lisa Ericsson, head of KTH Innovation on +46-8-790 66 07 or

 Johanna Blomqvist

The KTH Innovation Award in short

The monetary prize of 500,000 Swedish crowns will be awarded to “one or several individuals with a connection to research and education at KTH whose innovation and entrepreneurial feats have contributed to the development of new knowledge and positive impact in society.”

  • The recipient or recipients will be named yearly, starting in 2021.
  • Anyone can nominate a candidate by April 15th, 2021. It is also possible to nominate yourself.
  • An award committee made up of both KTH and external representatives will choose the recipient.
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Feb 15, 2021