The Uppsala University Innovation Prize - Hjärnäpplet

The Uppsala University Innovation Prize, 'Hjärnäpplet,' is an annual award bestowed upon researchers or doctoral students in recognition of their generation of research results or knowledge assets that have catalysed an innovation with the potential to yield significant societal benefits. The prize is intended to reflect the University’s breadth, innovative strength and quest for a sustainable future.

The prize consists of a diploma, a sculpture and SEK 50,000, and is conferred in connection with the University birthday celebrations in October.

The Hjärnäpplet name and sculpture

The Swedish name ‘Hjärnäpplet’ is a play on words, with the literal translation being ‘the Brain Apple’. However, the first half of the name, ‘Hjärn-’, also sounds like the Swedish word for ‘iron’ – a reference to the iron sculpture awarded together with the prize money.

The Hjärnäpplet sculpture has the geometric shape of a truncated octahedron. The shape was first described by Archimedes in Syracuse, Greece, in 250 BC.

Stiliserat kantigt äpple i metall med symbolerna för man och kvinna ingraverade på två sidor.

The sculpture is designed by Richard Karmhag and manufactured by Thomas and Peter Larsson, JTS Mekaniska AB, and BFE AB in Pålsboda.

Who will be the recipient of Hjärnäpplet 2024?

The nomination period for Hjärnäpplet 2024 closed on 31 March.

Who can nominate?

Nominations can be sumbitted by all Uppsala University employees..

Who is eligible?

The Hjärnäpplet Prize aims to recognise, reward and stimulate the driving energy of researchers and doctoral students from all disciplines who want to understand their environment, describe it, and help translate valuable knowledge into innovation and sustainable benefits for society and humanity.

The recipient(s) shall:

  • have demonstrated creativity, fresh thinking and drive,
  • generated research results or new knowledge, and created conditions for its utilisation that has resulted in an innovation,
  • set a good example for other researchers through their commitment to utilisation,
  • be an active researcher or doctoral student at Uppsala University, or
  • be a former researcher or doctoral student with a strong connection to the University.

If no single person is regarded as responsible for the innovation, the prize may be awarded jointly to no more than three originators per year.

Who selects the prize recipient?

The recipient is selected based on the submitted nominations. The Vice-Chancellor names the Hjärnäpplet prize recipient at the proposal of a committee consisting of the vice-rectors of the three disciplinary domains and a representative from outside the University appointed by the Head of UU Innovation. The CEO of UU Invest AB is a co-opted member of the committee, along with the Head and Communications officer of UU Innovation.

When can I nominate?

The nomination period for 2024 closed on 31 March.

2023: Inger Persson
2022: Johan Elf och Özden Baltekin
2021: Rolf Larsson, Peter Nygren and Joachim Gullbo
2020: Sara Mangsbo
2019: Helena Danielson
2018: Håkan Engqvist
2017: Hans Lennernäs
2016: Maria Strømme
2015: Lars Wallentin and Stefan James
2014: Mats Leijon
2013: Ulf Landegren
2012: Fredrik Bruhn
2011: Axel Lundvall and Fredrik Nikolajeff
2010: Stefan Johansson
2009: Lars Stolt
2008: Claes-Göran Granqvist


Do you have any questions about Uppsala University's innovation prize, Hjärnäpplet? Please send an email to