Pentti Malaska palkinto

University of Turku Pentti Malaska Futures Award

We are looking for research-based, visionary solutions for global challenges. 

The next Pentti Malaska Futures Award will be distributed in June 2023. 

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 innovations that will help to restore the balance between humankind, technology and nature.  

University of Turku grants a €30,000 Pentti Malaska Futures Award for a visionary, boundary-crossing, research-based solution that supports the building of more sustainable global futures. 

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

  • sustainable mindset
  • visionary thinking 
  • academia-business collaboration
  • boundary-crossing approach in research and society

The application form will be open March –  April, 2023  


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. By Nordic we refer to Nordic citizens working anywhere in the world or any global citizen working in an institute registered in the Nordic countries. If there are many team members, it is enough that at least one of the team members with a significant contribution to the development of the innovation meets this criteria. 

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

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

The members of the panel deciding the winner are Mika Hannula (Vice Rector, University of Turku), Riikka Heikinheimo (Director, Confederation of Finnish Industries, EK), Ulla Hytti (Professor, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku), Sofi Kurki (Senior Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Niko Kyynäräinen (CEO, Turku Science Park Ltd.). 

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

The University of Turku Pentti Malaska Futures Award was established 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 the largest Nordic academic research institute devoted to futures research and strategic foresight. 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 (1934-2012) 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. 

Applications 2021

The application period for the award was during 5 March – 26 April, 2021 (until 23:59 EET, UTC +2). 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 "Learning Futures – Futures of Learning" held online on 8–9 June 2021. About the conference.

In the application form you will be asked the following questions:

  1. Describe the solution you have invented (max. 4000 characters)
    You can attach one document for example an image of the proposed solution (max. 20Mb)
  2. Explain how your solution represents sustainable mindset (contribution to the restoration of balance between humankind, technology and nature).
  3. Explain how your solution represents visionary thinking (courage to think differently and create radical solutions with long-term futures perspective).
  4. Explain how your solution represents academia-business collaboration (cross-sectoral collaboration for solving complex challenges).
  5. Explain how your solution represents boundary-crossing approach (crossing boundaries between people, societal sectors, regions etc.).
  6. How are you planning to use the €30,000 if you win the Pentti Malaska Futures Award? 
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 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.