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Graduation of SPARK Norway projects and Vaccibody Innovation Award

Wednesday 20 April it was time to celebrate the new projects that have completed UiO:Life Science's innovation programme SPARK Norway. At the same time the Vaccibody Innovation Award was presented for the first time.

Bildet kan inneholde: smil, frakk, dress, prisutdeling, team.
The graduates from SPARK Norway's innovation programme. From left Vice-Rector Per Morten Sandset, Maria Vistnes, Krister Andersson (Project leader Ana Lobato-Pascual was absent), Gjermund Henriksen, Malin Bern, Aina Anthi and Leader SPARK Norway, Morten Egeberg. Ole Jørgen Kaasbøll participated digitally. Photo: Fartein Rudjord/UiO.

Five new projects have completed UiO:Life Sciences' innovation programme in health-related life sciences, SPARK Norway. This was celebrated in a ceremony to honour the graduating projects. Leader of SPARK Norway, Morten Egeberg, said that he is impressed with the progress the projects have had - excellence in science is the core of all the projects, and during their time in SPARK Norway, they have developed a more business-oriented mindset and understanding. The sum of this constitutes the core of the SPARK Norway programme.

- The introduction of SPARK Norway innovation programme by UiO:Life Science has proven to be particulary important for the University of Oslo. We have learned from the first SPARK’ees how important the programme has been for young scientists to understand the innovation process and what is needed to develop ideas from basic research into products that can actually be produced and marketed, says University of Oslo's Vice-Rector for research and innovation, Per Morten Sandset.

Bildet kan inneholde: smil, hånd, organ, erme, pattedyr.
The winners av Vaccibody Innovation Award 2021, Aina Anthi and Maria Vistnes. Photo: Fartein Rudjord/UiO

The project managers, also called SPARKees, presented their projects and pitched for the Vaccibody Innovation Award 2021, which was to be awarded for the first time to the most innovative SPARK Norway project among the graduating projects. There were strong candidates, therefore the prize was divided in two. Maria Vistnes with the project Novel treatment for heart failure reached the top together with Aina Anthi with the project A novel vaccine technology platform. The jury consisted of Ingrid Teigland Akay from Headen Ventures, Per Morten Sandset from the University of Oslo and Håkan Norell from Nykode (formerly Vaccibody).

The Research Council's innovation award turned into the Vaccibody Innovation Award

In 2020, the founder of Vaccibody, Agnete Fredriksen, won the Research Council of Norway's Innovation Award. She donated the prize money of NOK 500,000 to SPARK Norway. From 2021, these funds will be used to award a prize of NOK 100,000 to the most innovative SPARK Norway project that is graduating. The prize money will help the project further in the commercialization phase after the programme period in SPARK Norway is over. Due to the pandemic, the award of the prize for 2021 was postponed until 2022.

About the innovation programme SPARK Norway

Since the beginning in 2018, UiO:Life Science has admitted 34 projects to SPARK Norway. The programme will guide the projects to further develop ideas in health-related life sciences, so that they benefit patients and society. Each project receives a mentor, guidance and project coordinator in addition to funding. Read more about SPARK Norway

Graudated projects 

  • High-Performance Cyclotron Target for Gallium-68, Project leader Gjermund Henriksen
  • IVF FitTM: Optimising in vitro fertilization hormone dosage, Project leader Ana Lobato-Pascual
  • A biologic therapeutic for pulmonary fibrosis, Project leader Ole Jørgen Kaasbøll  
  • Novel treatment for heart failure, Project leader Maria Vistnes 
  • A novel vaccine technology platform, Project leaders Malin Bern and Aina Anthi


Published Apr. 21, 2022 12:30 PM - Last modified Apr. 21, 2022 1:10 PM