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Skolar Award

Three minutes for a postdoc

SKOLAR AWARD Biologist Johan Seijsing won the Skolar Award and received €100,000 to fund his researchSKOLAR AWARD

Biologist Johan Seijsing, from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, believed he had a promising postdoctoral research idea: to look for enzymes in nature that could be altered using molecular techniques to fight specific bacteria. Seijsing intends to use this strategy in the search for new antibiotics by assembling a large archive of enzyme variant samples and testing their toxicity against specific targets, such as “flesh-eating” bacteria. He had 180 seconds to present his research proposal to a panel of eight academics and entrepreneurs in the final stage of the Skolar Award competition, which was held in Helsinki, Finland, on December 1. Seijsing beat nine other candidates to win the competition and €100,000 to fund his postdoc. The Skolar Award, whose prize is contributed by six Finnish research foundations, has now been running for three years. The competition takes place during Slush, Scandinavia’s biggest startup event. “One of our aims is to narrow the gap between the startup community and academia,” said Annina Huhtala, cofounder of KasKas Media, which runs the pitching event.