Twenty-two Excellent Researchers Chosen to be Wallenberg Scholars

Press release
25 March 2019

The researchers – among the foremost in their field in Sweden – receive SEK 18 million each from the Wallenberg Foundations in the form of a five-year grant for free research.

Jumping genes, antibiotics resistance, new therapies for infections, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, secure technology for wireless communication, self-repairing batteries, a better understanding of climate change, and searching for Earth-like planets are examples of the research that will be conducted by some of the twenty-two Wallenberg Scholars.

“Free research is what it sounds like. The researchers’ own curiosity, expertise and knowledge determines the nature of their research. The Foundation sets no conditions as to results. Failure is allowed, if that’s how it turns out. But history has shown that most knowledge has been gained as a result of free research,” says Peter Wallenberg, Jr, Chairman of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Wallenberg Scholars is a program designed to support and encourage some of the most successful researchers at Swedish universities.

“The Foundation prioritizes individual grants as a form of funding. Grants awarded by the Foundation represent almost 60 percent of all long-term funding awarded to senior researchers for free research in Sweden. We want to give Sweden’s foremost researchers an opportunity to freely explore their ideas without needing to worry about funding. We believe that supporting the individual researcher’s drive, and giving researchers the opportunity to organize research in the way they themselves consider to be the most effective benefits the scientific process, and can lead to unexpected breakthroughs,” says Göran Sandberg, Executive Director of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Wallenberg Scholars 2019

Andreas Strömbergsson, Professor of Mathematics, Uppsala University

Anna Blom, Professor of Medical Protein Chemistry, Lund University

Claudia Köhler, Professor of molecular plant cell biology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Dan Andersson, Professor of Medical Bacteriology, Uppsala University

Erik G. Larsson, Professor of Communications Systems, Linköping University

Ernest Arenas, Professor of Molecular Neurobiology, Karolinska Institutet

Fredrik Bäckhed, Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Gothenburg

Fredrik Höök, Professor of Biological Physics, Chalmers University of Technology

Igor Abrikosov, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Linköping University

Kristina Edström, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Uppsala University

Lars Tranvik, Professor of Limnology, Uppsala University

Maria Falkenberg, Professor of Biomedical Laboratory Science, University of Gothenburg

Markus Schmid, Professor in Plant Physiology, Umeå University

Nikolai Piskunov, Professor of Observational Astrophysics, Uppsala University

Stephanie Reimann, Professor of Mathematical Physics, Lund University

Sten Linnarsson, Professor of Molecular Systems Biology, Karolinska Institutet

Randall Johnson, Professor of Molecular Physiology and Pathology, Karolinska Institutet

Taija Mäkinen, Associate Professor, Uppsala University

Xiaodong Zou, Professor in Structural Chemistry, Stockholm University

Anders Ynnerman, Professor of Scientific Visualization, Linköping University

Alexander Ljungqvist, Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance, Stockholm School of Economics
(grant awarded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation)

Lotta Vikström, Professor of History, Umeå University
(grant awarded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation)

Read more about the researchers and their work

About the Program

The aim is for the researchers to be able to adopt a long-term approach to their work, with less time and effort expended on seeking external funding, and with higher ambitions, so that their research has an even greater international impact. The grants also enable researchers to commit to more challenging and longer-term projects.

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation awards grants to Wallenberg Scholars in the fields of medicine, science and technology. The Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation award grants to Wallenberg Scholars in the social sciences and humanities.

Following this year’s grant awards, there are 62 active Wallenberg Scholars. The next cohort of Wallenberg Scholars will be chosen in 2023.

Evaluation process

Researchers are nominated by universities, after which their project descriptions undergo peer review, carried out by international scientific panels, which identify the projects that have high international potential, and that may be considered for a grant. The Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board then compiles the evaluations received and submits recommendations to the Board for its decision.

Contact persons:

Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chairman, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
+46 (0)8 545 01780, [email protected]

Göran Sandberg, Executive Director, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
+46 (0)8 545 01780, [email protected]

The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation was established in 1917. The Foundation’s aim is to benefit Sweden by supporting Swedish basic research and education, primarily in medicine, technology and the natural sciences. This is achieved by awarding grants to excellent researchers and projects.

Since the establishment SEK 30 billion in grants has been awarded, with annual funding of SEK 1.8 billion in recent years, making the Foundation the largest private funder of scientific research in Sweden, and one of the largest in Europe.