5 facts about Skolar Award

A research pitching competition at a startup event? How is that a thing? It’s time to bust some myths about Skolar Award.


1. Skolar Award is a competition for researchers in all possible fields.

Skolar Award embraces all postdoc researchers regardless of their field. Do you have a new research idea? Do you think it’s important? Would you like others to hear it? If yes, then that’s all that matters! We believe every idea can be turned into an interesting and inspiring pitch. We’re only looking for research ideas so you don’t have to spend time on explaining a specific research plan.

2. Skolar Award is not looking for innovations.

Skolar Award welcomes postdoc researchers’ new ideas. Although the finals take place at startup event Slush the ideas don’t have to be commercially applicable: we value basic research and proposals that stem from it. The main prize of 100 000 euros can be used in any way you see fit to further your research. That means you don’t have to use it to commercialize your idea or start a company.

3. All sorts of ideas can have societal relevance.

The competition is after ideas that are somehow relevant to society. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the ideas have to be capable of stopping climate change or saving thousands of lives. We believe all research is relevant by nature since it creates new information and understanding of the world. Any kind of idea can make a difference.

4. Most research ideas can be pitched.

Traditionally a pitch is delivered in order to sell something, but the format can be used in presenting almost any idea. A pitch includes the most important points of your research proposal in a way that catches the listener’s attention. It takes roughly a minute to speak 1000 words, which is about half a sheet worth of text. The Skolar Award pitches are three minutes long – that’s a whole lot of information!

5. Getting on stage seems distressing, is it still worth applying?

Yes! Each finalist receives pitching and communications training from the Skolar Award team. We’ll help you create and present a pitch that stays with the audience long after the competition. During the fall all finalists get to practice their pitches and improve their communications skills. So don’t worry, no one will step on stage without support! Come December every finalist will shine at Slush.

Apply for Skolar Award by the end of October 1st here.

Text: Kristiina Markkanen