Fins award €1 million to American biochemist for innovation; live broadcast from OR

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Technology Academy Finland (TAF) declared American innovator Frances Arnold winner of the €1 million 2016 Millennium Technology Prize, for technological innovations that enhance the quality of people’s lives.

(Photo: Consul General Jari Sinkari is very excited about Finnish leadership in innovation and the 2016 Millennium Technology Prize while President Mr. Niinistö looks on.)


Last night, Finnish Consul General Jari Sinkari hosted Hong Kong, European and Hong Kong innovators at the OR to live broadcast the awarding of the  2016 Millennium Technology Prize, a biennial prize that carries a  €1 million award (over $8.6 million HKD) to the winner selected from the global talent pool.

Those at the Finnish OR were the first in Hong Kong to discover the winner was American biochemist Frances Arnold for her work in developing a methodology for ‘directed evolution’ a process that speeds up the discovery of useful new proteins by mimicking and accelerating evolutionary processes.

Technology Academy Finland (TAF) has only given the award seven times, including this year.

Finnish Consul (Innovation), Dr Sari Arho Havrén, officially works under Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for innovation. Tekes has been operating in the region for 12 years and has 4 offices across Asia. She spoke on Finnish technology and a surplus of software engineers, not to be confused with fintech, where the nation also has strengths. Tekes alone makes about 2,600 funding decisions a year,  totalling over €575 million.

Dr Havrén also postulated a future 10 to 15 years from now when owning a car will be passé and Finland would lead the world in helping people to be masters of their own data, saying, “I will own my own data, I know what is collected and when, and I can sell it…”

Others attending included Head of Office for Europe, Vincent Piket, InvestHK Acting Director Charles Ng and the Permanent Secretary of the Innovation and Technology Bureau Mr. Cheuk Wing-hing.

Former winners have included luminaries including the World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of bright blue and white LEDs Shuji Nakamura and ethical stem cell pioneer Shinya Yamanaka.

More on the prize and its winner here.

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EU Head of Office Vincent Piket and the hostess with the mostess of the OR, Mrs Caroline Gasmi-Sinkari.

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Permanent Secretary of the Innovation and Technology Bureau Cheuk Wing-hing and Finnish Consul (Innovation), Dr Sari Arho Havrén.

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Finnish Consul (Innovation), Dr Sari Arho Havrén and Consul General Jari Sinkari flying the Finnish flag.