The Letten Prize Day 2023

The Letten Prize Day was hosted on the 7th of September 2023, in honor of both the 2021 Laureate Meta Roestenberg and the 2023 winner Paula Moraga.

The day started with the Letten Prize seminar honored the work of the 2021 winner Meta Roestenberg. A packed program with several interesting talks with the theme: Tackling Global Health Threats – From Parasites to Pandemics. The lectures will be published on our YouTube-Channel.

Letten Prize Winner 2021, Meta Roestenberg addresses the audience.

The seminar was followed by a reception with speeches from Letten Prize Committee Chair Heidi Holmen and the Dutch Ambassador to Norway John Groffen – as well as music by A Scalpella – The Mixed Choir at the Medical Faculty university of Oslo

A Scalpella – The Mixed Choir at the Medical Faculty university of Oslo

In the evening the 2023 Letten Prize was awarded to Paula Moraga by The Norwegian Ambassador of Global Health, John-Arne Røttingen, and there was a wonderful reception and dinner to honour this year’s winner.  The Prize Ceremony is available to watch on our YouTube-Channel.

From left to right: Borghild Barth-Heyerdahl Roald, Letten Foundation, The Norwegian Ambassador of Global Health, John-Arne Røttingen, The 2023 Letten Prize Laureate Paula Moraga and Nils H. Korsvoll, Chair of the Young Academy of Norway.

The night ended with a wonderful celebratory dinner with speeaches from The Young Academy of Norway and Spain’s ambassador to Norway, H.E. Mr. José Ramón García-Hernández and unforgettable music by Ingrid Olava.

Photo Credit: Thomas Barstad Eckhoff

Paula Moraga wins the Letten Prize

Oslo, 20 June 2023: The Letten Prize of the year is awarded to a Spanish researcher dedicated to preventing new pandemics through groundbreaking surveillance tools.

Short citation
“For her groundbreaking research ambitions towards early detection of epi-
demics and designing control strategies worldwide, through the development of innovative and cost-effective disease surveillance systems at finer spatial and temporal scales than currently available”
. Read the in-dept citation.

This years marks the third time the prize is being awarded, and it goes to the spanish scientist Dr. Paula Moraga (41) for her pioneering work in developing big data technology for disease surveillance, capable of detecting outbreaks of infectious diseases in near real-time.

Dr. Paula Moraga wins the prize for her work in developing more accurate and precise surveillance tools than the systems available today. She combines mathematics, statistics, and programming in the development of surveillance tools capable of detecting outbreaks of infectious diseases in near real-time. The ongoing research has the potential to help prevent future pandemics.

Unanimous jury decision
A broadly composed international jury, led by Associate Professor Heidi Holmen from OsloMet, believes that Dr. Moraga ́s project is of significant international importance.

“The jury was unanimous in its recommendation. Her project is ambitious yet feasible, aligning perfectly with Letten ́s vision. The funding will contribute to achieving something concrete, and the knowledge generated from the project will hold great global value”, says jury leader Heidi Holmen.

This year ́s jury consists of researchers with interdisciplinary expertise from six different countries. Out of the 164 applicants for the Letten Prize, the top five candidates from universities around the world received honorable mention. However, the jury had no doubt that Dr. Paula Moraga had the strongest application.

The 2023 Letten Prize Finalists

Athina Anastasaki, ETH Zurich. Full citation.

Peiying Hong, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Full citation.

Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, University of New South Wales. Full citation.

Joy Wolfram, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and The University of Queensland. Full citation.

Break down: Who are our 2023-applicants?

The deadline for applying to the Letten Prize has past. We are very excited to have received 164 applications this round. Even better, our applicants are from all around the world.

Our applicants – Who are they?

  • 164 applications
  • from 76 nationalities
  • Gender balance: 50% woman, 50 % men
  • Applicants from (institution location)
    Europe: 33% (35%)
    Africa: 24% (19%)
    Asia: 20% (20%)
    Middle East: 8% (7%)
    South America: 8% (5%)
    North America: 4% (7%)
    Oceania: 2% (5%)

Web Traffic

The photo above shows our web traffic and where it came from over the passed courter.

Home countries with the most applicants

  • India (15)
  • Italy (7)
  • Nigeria (7)
  • Ghana (6)
  • UK and Spain (5)
  • Other countries (119)

Our applicants – How did they hear about us?

  • Word of mouth: 20%
  • Web search: 18%
  • Young Academy network: 16%
  • Notice from host institution: 16%
  • Funding portal: 13%
  • Social media: 12%
  • Other: 6%

New agreement

December 7th the Letten Foundation and the Young Academy of Norway signed a new cooperation agreement regarding the Letten Prize. The new agreement is on a permanent and secures the next Letten Prize for 2023 and beyond.

From the left: Bjørn Kristian Danbolt (General Secretary of the Young Academy of Norway), Nils Hallvard Korsvoll (Chair of the Young Academy of Norway), Ernst Alsaker (Chair of the Letten Foundation) and Borghild Roald (Vice-chair of the Letten Foundation).

The Letten Foundation manages the heritage after Prof. Letten Saugstad (1925-2014), who the Letten Prize is named after.

The prize a binnual award and its purpose remains “to recognize younger researchers’ contributions in the fields of health, development, environment and equality in all aspects of human life’. Furthermore, ‘the prize aims to raise public awareness of how research can be used to solve global human development challenges”

The next Letten Prize will be awarded at September 7th 2023 in Oslo.

Call for applications is now open until February 2023.

Call for applications for the Letten Prize 2023

It has been about a year since the second awarding of the Letten Prize. We now call for new applications.

Do you know a deserving young researcher who have conducted research aimed at solving global challenges within the fields of health, environment, and equality in all aspects of human life? Or perhaps this description fits you? Do not hesitate to review the criteria for Letten Prize applications and share the news with deserving colleges.

The winner is awarded 2,5 million NOK of which ¼ is for personal use and ¾ is to be used for research activities.

The 2023 Letten Prize call for applications opens on October 19, 2022 and stays open until February 6, 2023.