This is what Skolar Award 2018 is all about

Discussions on the postdoc’s role in society, multidiscplinary events throughout the year, a more communal Skolar Award experience. Read the guiding ideas behind Skolar Award 2018!

Skolar Award ideas

Application period for the 2018 Skolar Award research pitching competition  is now open. The Skolar Award, founded in 2015 by science communications agency Kaskas Media, has succeeded in training a new generation of researchers to communicate their research openly and raising the competition’s prize money from a few thousand to 100 000 euros.

The aim of the competition is to bring the ambitious – sometimes even wild – research proposals of postdoc researchers in the early stages of their careers into the spotlight and to arouse the general public’s interest in research.

This round of the Skolar Award is guided by the following ideas:

1. Shout out for unique proposals!

As funding tightens, researchers have to play it increasingly safe with their proposals and the most daring research ideas often remain unheard. There is, however, a thirst in our transforming world for transformative research ideas.

The Skolar Award gives postdoc researchers a chance to think big. This year, we are looking for applicants who dare to challenge and put forward even their wildest ideas!

Familiarise yourself with the Skolar Award’s competition criteria here.

2. What is the role of postdoc researchers in society?

Postdoc researchers are easily neglected in the research world. Researchers in the early stages of their careers struggle to get their own proposals to take off, as the lion’s share of funders focus on supporting experienced researchers or short-term research projects aiming at commercialisation.

In order to understand the value of postdocs to society, their work has to first be made visible. The Skolar Award showcases the amazing feats that can be accomplished in research to the general public.

3. Meaningful ideas from all fields of research

In 2017, only three percent of the Skolar Award applications came from the humanities. That is a strikingly low number. Groundbreaking science needs all fields of research as well as their intersections. It is unlikely, however, that the lack of enthusiasm from humanists comes from a lack of high-quality research ideas. A more likely cause is that pitching sounds somewhat harsh to humanists and Slush can give the appearance of being a technology believers’ revival meeting.

We dare to challenge these suspicions and argue that amidst all that tech buzz is precisely where humanists should be. The Slush stage is the perfect place to demonstrate the importance and diversity of humanistic research.

The aim of the Skolar Award is not to reward the researcher whose subject is most  solution-oriented. Above all, the competition is looking for new information and meaningful research proposals, which are also presented with enthusiasm and clarity.

4. A supportive community to guide you through the process

The life of a researcher can easily consist of lonesome days toiling away, competition over funding is intense and the criticism of your own colleagues may appear daunting. The daily life of many postdoc researchers is practically crying out for communality and solidarity!

That is why we are creating a Skolar Award community that supports, helps and cares. The previous finalists have experienced the competition to possess a warm atmosphere where all the finalists support each other. The Skolar Award process is above-all a memorable experience with like-minded souls to last a lifetime.

The community will also interact on very practical level when all the finalists are offered accommodation in their own Skolar House during the Slush week in Helsinki.

5. Cross-pollination across boundaries

In 2018, the Skolar team will put researchers’ heads together across various fields. In addition to the research proposal competition that culminates at Slush, Skolar will bring together researchers, journalists, scientists, business people and artists at various events. We will share what we have learned with both researchers and our followers. Stay tuned and join the Skolar Award (@SkolarMe) audience on Facebook and Twitter!

Postdoc researchers: the application period is open, go for it and go wild! Everyone else: welcome to the Skolar Award runway!