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Annemie Wyckmans is head of the NTNU Smart Sustainable Cities platform at the Faculty of Architecture and Design. Photo: NTNU

Annemie Wyckmans wins the Mission Innovation Champions 2020 award

“This is international recognition of her many years of efforts to promote smart and sustainable cities,” says Henrik Asheim, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education.

The prize has been awarded by Mission Innovation (MI), which is a global initiative launched at the Paris Climate Summit, COP 21, in 2015. Twenty-four countries are involved in the initiative, as well as the European Commission. Mission Innovation’s goal is to accelerate technology development for clean energy.

Mission Innovation confers annual awards to Mission Innovation Champions. The awards go to people who have excelled in energy research and innovation. Mission Innovation Champions are selected by an international jury. They are selected based on their achievements as outstanding researchers and innovators who have developed the products and services of the future the world needs to address climate challenges.

Norwegian research in an important field

Research and Higher Education Minister Henrik Asheim offered his congratulations to Wyckmans.

“This represents international recognition of her many years of efforts to promote smart and sustainable cities. Norway is very committed to ensuring the development, use and transfer of knowledge about sustainable new energy technologies and solutions. This year’s award winner helps to make Norwegian research visible in an important field, for Norway and for the world,” says Asheim.

Key contributions in sustainable urban development

NTNU professor Annemie Wyckmans promotes smart, sustainable cities through research, innovation and education. She is head of the NTNU Smart Sustainable Cities platform at the Faculty of Architecture and Design.

She also leads several collaborative projects with the public and private sectors in Norway, the EU and China, including as project coordinator of the Smart City lighthouse project +CityxChange, programme coordinator of the EERA Joint Programne on Smart Cities, leader of the Horizon Europe Norwegian Urban Partnership and of the URBAN-NORWAY-CHINA Innovation Platform on Sustainable Urbanization.

Wyckmans is also part of an advisory group that is developing the EU’s vision of creating 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.

The award will be presented at a virtual ministerial meeting

Mission Innovation holds annual ministerial meetings, the fifth of which was to be held in Chile in June 2020, and the name of this year’s Mission Innovation Champions was to be announced during the meeting. Due to COVID-19, this year’s meeting was cancelled, and the award ceremony is taking place instead at a virtual event with ministers from several participating countries. Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation and Research, announced the winners at 13:00 CET on 12 June.

Every year, each participating country nominates several candidates, and then a winner from each country is selected. In addition, the European Commission selects a European winner from EU countries that are not members of MI. The European Commission is the secretariat for the award.

The jury consists of one individual from each member state. A Norwegian member is not included in the selection of Norwegian winner. The Norwegian member of the jury was Johan E. Hustad, director of the NTNU Energy focus area.

Double investment in environmentally and climate friendly energy technology

An important part of Mission Innovation has been that all participating countries double their investments in new environmentally and climate-friendly energy technology over five years, up to this year, 2020.

Norway has met this objective through its contributions to Enova, which is owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment and contributes to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, development of energy and climate technology and a strengthened security of supply.

Work is now underway on a programme to continue MI’s mission. The programme is scheduled to be announced at the international climate meeting, COP26, in November in Glasgow this year.

Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has responsibility for the country’s membership in MI. Energy is a high priority in the EU and Norway. The MI initiative is linked to the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme. Next year, MI will be linked to Horizon Europe, the funding programme that supersedes Horizon 2020.