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Sirpa Jalkanen wins second place in the Women Innovators Contest

sirpa jalkanen

The prize is awarded to European women who have brought their scientific expertise to the market and founded an innovative company, in which they have benefited from the EU research and innovation funding.

The second prize which was received by Jalkanen is €50,000.

“Winning the second prize from among 64 contestants is of course a happy surprise and a tremendously great honour. My work requires perseverance and you cannot always know whether you’re on the right track. So after finding those right tracks, it feels really great that also others recognise the work that I have done,” says Professor Sirpa Jalkanen.


Jalkanen is an Academician of Science and the Professor of Immunology at the University of Turku. In her research, she has discovered unique molecular mechanisms regulating harmful cell trafficking. She has also demonstrated the value of these molecules as drug targets to prevent harmful inflammations and the spread of cancer. Jalkanen has been a partner in founding two biotechnology companies, BioTie Therapies and Faron Pharmaceuticals, both of which are now listed in the New York and London stock exchanges.

Professor of Medical Cell Biology Pirkko Härkönen from the University of Turku was also a contestant in the EU Prize for Women Innovators and her research in hormonal cancer has contributed to the discovery of ospemifene, a clinically used hormonal drug produced by Hormos Medical. Her research has also enabled the development of preclinical models offered by Pharmatest for testing novel drug compounds for breast and prostate cancer treatment.

The first prize of €100,000 was won by Susana Sargento from Portugal, whose company develops vehicle-based WiFi hot spots. The third prize of €30,000 was received bySarah Bourke from Ireland, whose company develops software for the international space station.

Photo: Hanna Oksanen