Innovation Award 2021

The Innovation Award will be presented for the eleventh time at the University of Copenhagen’s annual Commemoration on Friday 12 November 2021. The award will be presented by Prorector for Research, David Dreyer Lassen, and supports the University’s strategic efforts to promote innovation and knowledge-based collaboration with the surrounding society. 

Deadline for nominations was 3 May.

Who can be nominated?

The award is presented to a researcher or a group of researchers at the University, who has made an outstanding effort to create new knowledge and bring it to use for the benefit of society.

Selection criteria

The Innovation Award Committee (see below) will prioritise nominations where a researcher or a research group has transformed outstanding research into concrete innovation by e.g.: 

  • Creating new research results and actively ensuring that they are transformed into research-based solutions or technologies and brought to use in collaboration with external partners;

  • Being an ambassador for innovation at the University of Copenhagen and working actively to promote an innovative mindset among educators, PhD students and students;

  • Establishing new relationships with external partners, especially within areas of research where collaboration, research development and business collaboration is less common.

Particular attention will be given to the tangible impact (present or potential) of the candidate’s research activities.

Who nominates candidates and how many can be nominated?

The faculties nominate candidates for the Innovation Award in the nomination form. The Dean officially nominates the candidates.

Every faculty can nominate a maximum of five candidates. Each faculty decides how to select its candidates.

Who select the winner?

An Innovation Award Committee selects the winner based on the faculties’ nominations. The Committee consists of three internal and three external members:

  • David Dreyer Lassen, Prorector for Research and Chairman of the Innovation Award Committee
  • Karen Laigaard, Head of Technology Transfer Office of the University of Copenhagen
  • Jan S. Hesthaven, Professor and Dean of School of Basic Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, and external member of the Board of University of Copenhagen
  • Paul Van Dun, General Manager, Leuven R&D, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Amanda Zeffmann, Head of Consultancy Services, Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge
  • Jörn Erselius, Managing Director, Max-Planck Innovation, Munich

The Award

In addition to the honour, the winner will receive a work of art and a cheque of DKK 25,000.

How to nominate your candidate

Complete the nomination form.
Submit the completed nomination form to Research & Innovation using


The faculties can nominate their candidates for the Innovation Award 2021 until 3 May 2021.


For further information about the Innovation Award, please contact Karen Laigaard ( or 35 32 70 54).

Winners from the previous years

2011: Kristian Helin, Jesper Christensen, Paul A. C. Closs, BRIC
2012: Keld E. Andersen, Jens Christian Sørensen, Hilmer Sørensen, Department of Food Science, SCIENCE
2013: Barbara Ann Halkier, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, SCIENCE
2014: Matthew Stanley Johnson, Department of Chemistry, SCIENCE
2015: Ingolf Thuesen, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Humanities
2016: Bo Wegge Laursen & Thomas Just Sørensen, Department of Chemistry, SCIENCE
2017: Mette Marie Rosenkilde, Lærke Smidt Gasbjerg, Alexander Hovard Sparre-Ulrich & Jens Juul Holst (JJ Holst lab), Department of Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences
2018: Ida Theilade, Department of Food and Resource Economics, SCIENCE
2019: Gert Martin Hald, Department of Public Health, Health Sciences
2020: Andreas Kjær, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences