Skolar Award

A prize that brings scientists into the spotlight
29.11.–1.12.2016 in Helsinki, Finland


The Skolar Award is a research grant for a post-doc researcher who comes up with a new, groundbreaking research proposal and has the spirit to test that idea on the pitching stage. The grant of 100,000 euros is for academic research and the call will be open for researchers in all fields.

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The competition is held by Kaskas Media, together with Slush, and is a part of the Slush Science Track. The Skolar Award is funded by seven Finnish foundations and associations: Duodecim, Tieteen Tiedotus ry, the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, the Paulo Foundation, the Runer Bäckström Foundation, Liikesivistysrahasto and the Walter Ahlström Foundation.

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Science deserves to be spread afar, loud and proud. The Skolar Award will be granted at Slush, the biggest startup event in the Nordics. Why? When researchers share their findings with society, it is more likely that valuable new information will help produce even better research, services and products.

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People yearn to hear the words of researchers. However, we understand how slow it is to produce high-quality research. The results may yield applications or new inventions only years later. Or they might not - research is never predictable. Either way, we think that science is important on its own and that’s why the prize will be awarded for a purely research-focused idea.

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In Practice

The application period has now ended. The semifinals will be held on the 29th of November at the Päivälehti Museum. The finalists will pitch their research ideas on the pitching stage at Slush on December 1st.

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Although only one finalist can win, all participants will get to network and develop their skills in science communication. So no fear, you won’t be getting on the stage without support! We will offer all the finalists communication training and all the guidance you might need along the way.

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They will decide who gets to step on stage at Slush.

Criteria for our finalists

1. The big picture – Why is your idea relevant right now?

A good idea understands the big picture. How does your idea help us live better on earth, right now? 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.

2. 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? This competition is meant for ambitious ideas.

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

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.

Stories from last year

Scientists presented their research ideas at Slush for the first time last year – the crowd went absolutely bananas. How was it to step into the bright lights? What happened after the competition? What do they think now, a year later, was the best takeaway from the experience?


Virpi Muhonen:

If you can’t pitch your research, you need to rethink what you’re doing.” 

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Vincenzo Cerullo:

“Slush gives you the opportunity to really think about the importance of your research.” 

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Katri Saarikivi:

“All innovations are based on new understanding of the world.” 

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Slush Science Track

The Skolar Award is part of the Slush Science Track, organized by Kaskas Media together with Slush. The programme is built for bridging the culture gap between science and the startup world. Spoiler alert: These two tribes share a surprising number of similarities - and some fundamental differences that should be recognized.

The program consists of the Skolar Award Pitching Competition, the official opening event at the Päivälehti Museum on November 29th and various kinds of programme at Slush on December 1st.


En skola = School in our lovely second official language Swedish

Scholar = A person who sits on a treasure trove filled with new knowledge

Skolar is a school for researchers, created by researchers. Skolar teaches researchers how to communicate their beautiful science in an interesting way. When science is understandable, it is also effective.

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In Collaboration With


Runar Bäckström Foundation

Helsingin Sanomat Foundation

Tieteen tiedotus ry


Walter Ahlström Foundation

The Paulo Foundation

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