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.

Recipients of Uppsala University’s Innovation Prize:

  • 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

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

Last modified: 2022-07-08