Looking for research-based, visionary solutions for global challenges

Call out for Nordic future makers! Do you have a research-based invention, concept, model, method, or other form of an innovation that could help to build more sustainable futures for our planet?

Today, our planet is facing increasingly complex ecological, politico-economic and socio-cultural challenges. In order to ensure a fair future for the coming generations on this planet, we are in urgent need of new solutions that will help to restore the balance between humankind, technology and nature. Therefore, the University of Turku grants a €30,000 Pentti Malaska Futures Award for a visionary, boundary-crossing, research-based innovation that supports the building of more sustainable global futures.

The main criteria for the innovations participating in the competition are the following:

  • sustainable mindset = contribution to the restoration of balance between humankind, technology and nature
  • visionary thinking = courage to think differently and create radical solutions with a long-term futures perspective
  • academia-business collaboration = enhancing the innovation potential of academic research through cross-sectoral collaboration with business sector
  • boundary-crossing approach = crossing all kinds of boundaries between people, societal sectors, regions etc. is often necessary in order to tackle complex challenges

Application period is open 19 April - 19 May 2017. 

Fill the applications through the following link: www.utu.fi/futures-award-apply

Target group

The competition is open for Nordic (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic) futures researchers and research teams with a future-oriented research approach within any academic field, or their combinations.

The new and innovative solutions we are looking for should be based on academic research or be in some other way closely linked to academic world.

The presented solution must be at the stage where it has already been developed, prototyped, tested and patented, or where the innovation potential of the solution has otherwise been proven. Solutions that are only at the stage of an idea will be excluded from the competition.

The award (€30,000)

The best solution will receive the award of €30,000.

The winner of the award will be decided by a jury consisting of Markku Wilenius (Professor, University of Turku), Sirkka Heinonen (Professor, University of Turku), Markus Granlund (Dean, Turku School of Economics), Sakari Alhopuro (Medical Counsellor), Minna Arve (CEO, Turku Chamber of Commerce) and Olli Hietanen (Counsellor, Futures Committee at the Finnish Parliament).

The jury has the right to decide on the distribution of the award in a way that best serves the purpose. In a situation of two or three equal candidates, the award can be divided between them, or if the applications do not fulfil the criteria, the jury has the right to decide not to grant the award. 

The applications are handled with full confidence among the jury members.

Background information of the competition


Pentti Malaska
The University of Turku Pentti Malaska Futures Award is granted for the first time in 2017, in the honour of the 25th anniversary of Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC) at the University of Turku. 


Finland Futures Research Centre is one of the few university units devoted to futures research in the world. Futures research is an interdisciplinary field where wide ranges of topics are analysed, and the approaches and results of more traditional disciplines meet. The cornerstone of FFRC’s philosophy is the promotion of sustainable futures which are understood as being ecologically balanced, economically efficient, socially equal, and culturally diversified.

Pentti Malaska (19342012) was a professor of financial mathematics and statistics at Turku School of Economics and established the FFRC in 1992. Pentti Malaska was a radical, visionary thinker whose research interests crossed a wide range of academic disciplines from mathematics and electrical engineering to philosophy, ecology and strategic management. His work boldly crossed sectoral boundaries between the academic world, business world and societal influencing.

Purpose of the award is to honour and continue Professor Malaska’s pioneering life's work in the field of futures research. The recently published intellectual biography of Pentti Malaska offers further information about his research.


The application period for the award is 19 April - 19 May 2017. Applications arriving after the deadline will be ruled out of the competition.

The winner of the award will be announced at the Finland Futures Research Centre’s annual summer conference Futures of a Complex World in Turku on 12 June 2017.

Organiser's rights and obligations

The organiser has the right to exclude a competition participant if the participant is violating the competition rules or Finnish laws.

The organiser has the right to publish the names of participants and the synopses of the competition proposals on its internal and external websites. However, the disclosure may not happen before the jury has announced the award-winning team. The disclosure is made in co-operation with the participants, so that they accept the content of published material and ensure that the material does not contain any business ideas or secrets they do not wish to publish. The organiser has the right to agree on the published content with the appointed contact person of a participating team.

Intellectual property rights to the competition proposals belong to the participants. The organiser shall not be held liable for any damage caused concerning intellectual property rights or other direct or indirect damage the competition might cause to participants or third parties.
The organiser has the right to change the rules of the competition during the competition (e.g. any schedule changes). These changes will be published on the competition website. The participating teams are obligated to follow the competition website in order to notice possible changes. The processing of personal data of the participants is done in accordance with the Finnish Personal Data Act (22.4.1999 / 523).

Participants' rights and obligations

Members of the teams participating in the competition give their consent to the fact that their personal information shall be processed by the organiser. Competition participants agree that the organiser has the right to publish the names of participating team members and the synopsis of the competition proposal on its internal and external websites. Competition participants understand that the winning solution will be publicly introduced at the FFRC Summer Conference on 12 June 2017 and potentially widely reported in different media channels.

Competition participants are responsible for the correctness of the information they deliver to the organiser. Participants are responsible for ensuring that they provide a competition proposal that does not infringe third party intellectual property rights or other rights. Intellectual property rights to the proposals belong to the competition participants. If demands concerning the intellectual property rights to certain competition entries are presented to the organisers, the participants in question are required to meet the demands at their own expense.

The award-winning team has the obligation to find out the tax duties associated with prize. The organiser is not obligated to figure out the fiscal statuses of the participants, nor to pay any other payments than the mentioned award sum of €30,000. 


Project Manager Laura Pouru
Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku
laura.pouru@utu.fi, tel. +358 50 329 0711

20014 Turun yliopisto, Finland
Tel. +358 29 450 5000

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