The 2020 Millennium Technology Prize has been awarded to Professor Shankar Balasubramanian and Professor David Klenerman in recognition of their development of DNA sequencing techniques. President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö presented the prize in a virtual award ceremony on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.
In his words of congratulation, President Niinistö stated that the challenges we face, from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change, have one thing in common: answering them requires solutions that only technology and science can provide. “For a better life, we need scientists with courage, curiosity and skills. We need breakthrough innovations from borderless cooperation for the benefit of humanity.”
Professors Balasubramanian and Klenerman, from the University of Cambridge, have developed together the groundbreaking Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS) technology, which enables DNA to be read quickly, accurately and inexpensively. The technology is considered to offer considerable benefits to society, for example in the fight against deadly diseases such as coronavirus and cancer. It can also be used to combat crop diseases and enhance food production.
“The innovation has a tremendous impact on biology and medicine world-wide,” said President Niinistö.
The Millennium Technology Prize is one of the most prestigious science and technology awards. The international prize, awarded at two-year intervals since 2004, highlights the extensive impact of science and technology on the wellbeing of society, and it is worth 1 million euros. Of the nine previous winners of the Millennium Technology Prize, three have subsequently gone on to win a Nobel Prize.
President Niinistö is Patron of the Millennium Prize, which is awarded by Technology Academy Finland (TAF).
The presentation of the 2020 award was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- President Niinistö’s congratulation speech
- Technology Academy Finland Press Release on 18 May 2021: DNA sequencing pioneers win the Millennium Technology Prize