SLU news

SLU Umeå and Sparbanksstiftelsen Norrland's Award for sustainable innovations. - For utilization within soil and forest

Published: 25 January 2021

Do you work or study at SLU Umeå and have an idea with the potential to contribute to a more sustainable green industry? Apply for the Innovation Award and you can personally win up to SEK 50,000.

The green industry is facing one of its biggest challenges ever. Major changes and development are required, not least in forestry and agriculture. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå is a world leader in forestry and research on food production for northern conditions. We believe that many of the solutions needed to achieve the UN's global goals can be found at SLU in Umeå.

Entrepreneurial driving forces among researchers and students are absolutely necessary to meet the challenges that the industry, and the earth, are facing. Do you have an idea for a new product, service or method that can contribute to sustainable development? Apply for SLU Umeå and Sparbanksstiftelsen Norrland's award for sustainable innovations. For utilization within soil and forest and win up to SEK 50,000!

By introducing an Innovation Award together with Sparbanksstiftelsen Norrland, SLU wants to contribute to an innovation-promoting culture that enables more of the university's collective knowledge to be transformed into useful innovations that can reach a market – and make a difference in society.

The Award will be given to an idea with the potential to change the green industry. Ideas that have not yet been developed into a commercial product or service are welcome to apply for the Innovation Award. The nature of the ideas can take many forms and everyone is welcome, regardless of whether it is a product, service, method or something else that is not currently known.

The Award is personal and is awarded with the aim of contributing to an innovation-promoting culture that can enable more of the university's collective knowledge to be translated into useful innovations in society.

Who can apply?

Students, researchers or employees of SLU Umeå are welcome to participate, regardless of discipline. The innovations can be product-related as well as service-oriented, but must not have reached a commercial phase.

If there are more than one person behind the idea, at least one of you must be a student, researcher or employee at SLU Umeå. If others have been involved in the creation of the innovation or have worked on developing it, you need to reconcile with them before applying. Our recommendation is that if there are questions regarding who should apply, please apply together, as the prize is then shared between the applicants.

Read more under competition terms and conditions.

Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria that we will base our decision on are as follows:

  • Height of innovation / idea, how pioneering is the idea, is it well thought out and clearly described?
  • Commercial potential or societal benefit and scalability. The idea can attract, retain and expand its customer base. That the idea has the potential to become an economically sustainable business.
  • Impact, that the idea can positively affect society economically, socially and ecologically. How the idea relates to the UN's global goals.
  • Implementation potential / credibility, the business idea has been verified / tested against the most important users / customers. Does the team have knowledge of risks and what skills and needs the project have?

Important dates

We accept applications between May 1st and September 15th 2021.

The winner will be announced in the autumn of 2021. The Innovation Award will be awarded jointly by the dean of SLU's Faculty of Forestry, Göran Ståhl, and the CEO of Sparbanksstiftelsen Norrland, Maria Hedblom.

Where and when the award ceremony will take place is currently unknown.

Why an Innovation Award?

The green industry is facing one of its largest challenges yet.

By being active in the issues at hand, the Swedish Agricultural University has a key role in solving the problem, continuously presenting new findings from research in all areas of environmental sciences.

However, as a complement to these findings, there is a need to push them even further. To implement and develop them into new businesses, to make the ideas into reality. Time is up and we are facing a new world where innovation and entrepreneurship will, inevitably, be needed to change our industry.

We believe that the entrepreneurial drive of our researchers, employees and students is key to solving the problems that our industry (and planet) is facing today. And in order to meet these new challenges we need to push for new approaches, present fresh ideas and award ambition.

Who can apply?

Students as well as researchers and employees at SLU Umeå are welcome to apply, regardless of discipline. Innovations can be product-related as well as service-oriented, but can’t have reached commercial stage.

You can compete as individuals or as teams, the prize money is then shared between the applicants. If there are several people behind an idea at least one of you must be a student, researcher or employee at SLU Umeå. Students must have at least 1 ECT at SLU Umeå during the academic year of the competition (2021)

If you are more than one person behind the idea, at least one of you must be a student or researcher at SLU Umeå. If others have been involved in the advent of innovation or have worked on developing it, you need to reconcile with these before applying. Our recommendation is that if there are questions regarding who should apply, please apply together as the award is then shared between all applicants.

The Award

The Innovation Award with a total prize amount of SEK 50,000 is awarded to the researcher, employee or student who, according to the jury, has submitted the best idea. If there are several people behind the winning entry, the prize money will be divided between the applicants. The jury's decision cannot be appealed.

The winner will be announced in the autumn of 2021. The Innovation Award will be awarded jointly by the dean of SLU's Faculty of Forestry, Göran Ståhl, and the CEO of Sparbanksstiftelsen Norrland, Maria Hedblom.

The prize is personal and comes without the requirement for reporting back how the grant was used. However, we would like to receive a brief summary of how the prize affected the recipients ability to continue their project 12 months after they’ve received the award.

The winner undertakes to present his winning contribution at the award ceremony as well as at a seminar aimed at Swedbank staff and other guests at Swedbank's premises. This seminar will take place 1-4 weeks after the award ceremony. Date for the seminar is booked in dialogue with the Innovation award winner/winners.

The prize money is a scholarship awarded to the main applicant from Sparbanksstiftelsen Norrland and is normally not taxable. However, the recipient is responsible for making this clear with the tax authorities.

Where and when the award ceremony will take place is currently unknown.

Selection criteria

The Innovation Award is open to all ideas, but the sustainability aspect of the proposals will be central to the assessment. Our industry needs more innovations to reduce the impact on the environment and we hope that the award will be help accelerate this development.

We welcome project ideas that have not yet been developed into a commercial product or service to apply for the Innovation Award.

The assessment criteria that we will base our decision on are as follows:

  • 25% Height of innovation / idea, how pioneering is the idea, is it well thought out and clearly described?
  • 25% Commercial potential or societal benefit and scalability. The idea can attract, retain and expand its customer base. That the idea has the potential to become an economically sustainable business.
  • 25% Impact, that the idea can positively affect society economically, socially and ecologically. How the idea relates to the UN's global goals.
  • 25% Implementation potential / credibility, the business idea has been verified / tested against the most important users / customers. Does the team have knowledge of risks and what skills and needs the project have?

Applications will be screened by a screening jury. The screening jury selects the 3-5 best entries, these are forwarded to the jury. The jury then decides on the winner. If needed, the jury will get to meet the finalists in order to assess the context of innovation and how the person/persons can take the idea to a commercial phase or utilization in society. In that case, the finalists are expected to present a short 2-5 minute pitch for the jury.

Neither the decision of the screening jury nor the jury can be appealed.

Secrecy

All applications for SLU Umeå’s Innovation Award are treated as confidential and the innovation will remain as the applicants property even after the competition has been completed.


Contact

Maria Klintenäs, SLU Holding

Maria Klintenäs

Senior Innovation & Business Advisor

SLU Holding

Maria.klintenas@slu.se

tel: 073-739 0269

Page editor: internkommunikation@slu.se