Almost 40 candidates have been nominated for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. “The level of technological achievement in the nominations received is high, with innovations from a broader range of technology sectors than in previous years,” says Ainomaija Haarla, President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland. ”Robust knowledge of both basic science and technological applications was very apparent.”
As in the 2010 nominations round, a significant proportion of the nominated candidates are from the USA. Asia and Australia are also well represented, as is Japan. The largest number of European nominations came from Germany. In contrast to the previous nomination round, nominations were also received from Finland.
Every second year, Technology Academy Finland awards the Millennium Technology Prize of more than one million euros to a technological innovation that improves quality of life. The names of the finalists will be announced in April 2012 following acceptance of the International Selection Committee’s proposals by the Board of Technology Academy Finland.
”There are two important criteria in the International Selection Committee’s assessment process,” says Haarla. “Firstly, an innovation must have a beneficial influence on the largest possible number of people while promoting sustainable development. Secondly, as the Millennium Technology Prize is designed to encourage further cutting-edge research and development, it is not intended as a reward for lifetime achievement.”
Established in 2002, the Millennium Technology Prize will be awarded for the fifth time in June 2012. Last year, Michael Grätzel won the Grand Prize for his invention of dye-sensitised solar cells. Two years earlier, Robert Langer won the Prize for his innovative biomaterials for controlled drug release and tissue regeneration. In 2006, the winner was Shuji Nakamura, who invented blue, green and white LEDS and a blue laser diode. The first winner of the Millennium Technology Prize (2004) was Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.