The Uppsala University Innovation Prize - Hjärnäpplet

The Uppsala University Innovation Prize “Hjärnäpplet” is awarded annually to researchers or doctoral students to recognise and reward the generation of research results or knowledge assets that have led to an innovation with the potential to create major societal benefits and contribute to a sustainable society. The prize is intended to reflect the entire University’s breadth, innovative strength and quest for a sustainable future.

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 (pictured below) awarded together with the prize money.

If no single person is regarded as responsible for the innovation, the prize may be awarded jointly to no more than three originators. The prize consists of a diploma, a sculpture and SEK 50,000.

All Uppsala University employees may nominate suitable candidates. Nominations are then reviewed by UU Innovation, which presents them to a committee consisting of the Vice-Chancellor (chair) or person appointed by him, the vice-rectors of the three disciplinary domains, a representative from outside the University appointed by the Head of UU Innovation. The CEO of UU Invest is a co-opted member of the committee, along with the Head and Public Affairs Officer of UU Innovation.

The Vice-Chancellor names the prizewinner at the proposal of the committee.

The prize is conferred in connection with the University birthday celebrations in October.

The Hjärnäpplet sculpture

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

The sculpture Hjärnäpplet made in metal

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

Recipients of Uppsala University’s Innovation Prize

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