Application criteria

Who can apply? The competition is open for all scientific fields and can be applied for by postdoctoral researchers, meaning researchers who have been granted their permission for public defence by 3.11.2016, or who have completed their doctoral thesis no more than five years ago (excluding maternal leave calculated on the basis of the Finnish model, 4 months per child, regardless of the nationality of the applicant).

An individual researcher or research team can apply for the competition. If a team is applying its members must be known. Only one of the project’s representatives will appear on stage.

What is expected of applicants? The competitors will present an idea for a new research proposal. The idea can concern one scientific field or be cross-disciplinary. The research idea can be basic research or applied research.

What is decisive is the idea’s scientific quality, societal relevance, novelty and uniqueness. Naturally, a good idea is clearly communicated.

All the researchers who make it to the semi-finals will receive the Skolar communication training, which will prepare them for the pitch part of the competition. Participation in the communication training and the dress rehearsal is a prerequisite for participating in the semi-final. Remote participation is also possible.

The communication training will take place on 15.11.2016 and the dress rehearsal on 25.11.2016. In addition, each participant will book a personal sparring session with the Skolar coaches.

The semi-finals will take place on 29.11.2016 in The Finnish Science Centre Heureka starting at 18.00, and the final on 1.12 at Slush. These can only be attended in person. The finalists will receive tickets to Slush. Participants will have to cover potential travel and accommodation fees themselves.

What are you allowed to do with the prize money? The prize money will be awarded for executing the research project. The idea will give rise to one research project that will last 1-2 years.

The end product can also be something other than a traditional scientific research report or publication. A business or product idea is not the requirement, but high-quality research is.

There aren’t any burdensome reporting requirements on the use of the prize money. More detailed instructions will be provided after the winner has been chosen. As part of the report, the winner will tell about the progress of their research in oral form at the next Skolar Award event in 2017/18.

The jury

The technical inspection of applications and the preliminary selection is done by a preliminary jury, which is composed of six experts from different scientific fields (Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Medical and Health Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Social Sciences, Social Sciences).

After the preliminary qualifiers, the semi-finalists will be selected by a jury composed of scientific experts, who will be revealed in stages on this page before the application period closes.

In addition to researchers, the final jury will have various experts with scientific backgrounds on it.

The applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria

  1. Societal relevance – Why is the research important right now?

A good idea understands the big picture. How does your idea help us live better on earth, right now? Does it address an important social issue? Who does your idea help in particular? Why would it be important to increase understanding on the subject right at this moment? We expect societal relevance.

  1. Novelty and uniqueness – What new knowledge does the research proposal produce?

All research produces new information. Tell us what new information your research idea could produce at its best. What is unique about your research idea?

  1. Scientific courage – What is intriguing about the research proposal?

This competition is meant for ambitious ideas. Tell us what is intriguing and unprecedented about your research proposal. We think scientific courage means investigational risk-taking, open-mindedness, outdoing yourself and believing in your own voice. Failure is not something to be ashamed of either.

Semi-finalists and finalists:

  1. Presentation – How impressive was the pitch?

An impressive pitch manages to condense the main message into a stimulating presentation format of a few minutes. A good pitch is understandable and motivates the listener. At its best, a successful pitch performance is an invitation: it arouses the listener's curiosity and gets them to ask for more.


  1.  Development – How has the researcher/research team developed during the process?


Feel the tingling in your fingertips? Apply here.

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