Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the 2022 Millennium Technology Prize Award Ceremony on 25 October 2022

Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

Esteemed Professor Martin Green, ladies and gentlemen,

For the tenth time we are paying tribute through Millennium Technology Prize to global breakthrough innovations. Innovations, which improve the quality of life on the planet.

The earlier winners have shaken the world by technologies such as the World Wide Web, LED lighting, stem cell research, open-source software and fast DNA sequencing.

This year, the innovation of Professor Green joins this great line-up.

Climate crisis is one of the interlocking challenges our planet is facing. But we can´t lose sight of hope: There is still time to act. The world needs everybody’s involvement. Scientific research gives the policy makers the facts on which decisions are based. The research community is global, and the contribution from all nationalities is needed to keep the planet in good shape, and to improve the conditions of life.

Climate change is linked with the energy transition, affecting people and industries all over the world. The traditional carbon-intensive energy technologies will gradually be replaced by renewable energy. This is already creating major geopolitical effects.

Today, we are celebrating the progress that has been made in one of the cornerstones of the transition, namely solar energy. Solar cells play a significant role in solving the climate crisis by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Professor Green,

You have stated that “a huge transformation of historic significance is underway”. Indeed, humankind is at a crossroads, and you are helping us to choose our direction.

One of the key criteria of the Millennium Technology Prize is accessibility. Professor Green’s innovation of solar cells is a prime example of technology, which can be used by people anywhere in the world. By the rich and the poor alike. Solar panels can be installed on modest rural houses in villages, as well as in wealthy neighborhood of big cities. Solar energy has become more affordable over the years.

Today, we celebrate the achievements in green energy so far. With these words let me congratulate You, Professor Martin Green, of this Prize and Your research work, which enhance the wellbeing of this Planet by combatting climate change.

Professor Martin Green, please join me here on stage to receive your trophy.