27 new Wallenberg Academy Fellows appointed – over half are women

Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has announced 27 new Wallenberg Academy Fellows. With the help of five years of funding, these young researchers will investigate everything from how particles in the atmosphere affect the climate to the Bible’s role in the development of a secular Europe.

Laura Donnay (photo: Luiza puiu) Björn Reinius (photo: Stefan Zimmerman) Elena Bykova (photo: Studioline Photography) Anne Kaun (photo: Anne Hartwig) and Björn Lindström (photo: Marco Blessano) are new Wallenberg Academy Fellows.

The grants are for research in the natural sciences, medicine, technology, humanities and social sciences, and there is huge variation among the issues being examined.

How did prehistoric climate changes affect life on Earth? Can new superconductors be discovered by exposing existing materials to extremely high pressures and temperatures? How do experiences during the transition from childhood to adulthood affect the risk of developing anxiety? And why does damage to the cell’s power plant, the mitochondria, cause early aging?

This year more than half of the funding recipients are women.

“It is extremely satisfying to see that 15 of this year’s 27 Wallenberg Academy Fellows are women. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has been working actively to encourage universities to nominate more women for the funding it awards. This year’s call was the eighth and, with this, the Foundation has funded 230 Fellows, of whom 46 percent are women. We must emphasize that they have been selected due to their qualifications. All applications are made in competition and the evaluation process only considers scholarly merits,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, chair of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Some researchers will be able to continue working in Sweden thanks to the funding, while others are being recruited to Sweden from abroad, so they can build up their research here. Receiving a five-year grant allows them to put all their energy into their research over that period. They also have the opportunity to participate in a mentor program, helping them develop as leaders and researchers.

“Wallenberg Academy Fellows is a powerful investment in rejuvenating Swedish research. It provides young researchers with fantastic opportunities to become established and build up their research groups. It is a pleasure for us, at the academies, to help the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation with selecting Fellows and supporting them in their work,” says Göran K. Hansson, secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The program has been established in partnership with the royal academies and 16 Swedish universities. Funding amounts to 5 to 15 million Swedish kronor per researcher for five years, depending on the subject area. After the end of the first period, the researchers may apply for funding for an additional five years.

2021’s Wallenberg Academy Fellows:

(Where the nominating university differs from the researcher’s current university, the nominating university is provided in parentheses.)

Natural sciences

Dr Peter Heintzman, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsö (Stockholm University)

Derek Lundberg, Max Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU)

Dr Sanja Vickovic, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, USA (Uppsala University)

Dr Christina Williamson, University of Colorado Boulder, USA (University of Gothenburg)

Professor Hannes Thiel, Kiel University, Germany, (Chalmers University of Technology)

Dr Kristina Davis, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA (Chalmers University of Technology)

Dr Laura Donnay, TU Wien, Vienna University of Technology, Austria (Stockholm University)

Dr Magdalena Zych, University of Queensland, Australia (Stockholm University)

Dr Simon Stael, VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Belgium (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU)


Dr Björn Reinius, Karolinska Institutet

Dr Daniella Rylander Ottosson, Lund University

Dr Davide Angeletti, University of Gothenburg

Dr Linda Johansson, University of Gothenburg

Dr Marcus Buggert, Karolinska Institutet

Dr Paulina Wanrooij, Umeå University

Dr Sebastien Talbot, UdeM, Université de Montréal, Canada (Karolinska Institutet)


Dr Adam Slabon, Stockholm University

Dr Elena Bykova, Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry and Geophysics (BGI) University of Bayreuth, Germany (Linköping University)

Dr Klas Tybrandt, Linköping University

Dr Niki Vazou, IMDEA Software Institute, Spain (Chalmers University of Technology)

Dr Simone Fabiano, Linköping University

Dr Yasmine Sassa, Chalmers University of Technology


Professor Anne Kaun, Södertörn University

Dr Hanna Strømmen, University of Chichester, UK (Lund University)

Dr Silvia De Toffoli, Princeton University, USA (Linköping University)

Social sciences

Dr Armita Golkar, Stockholm University

Dr Björn Lindström, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Nederländerna (Karolinska Institutet)

Press images and presentations of the research conducted by each researcher are available at:

Press images


FACTS Background

The program, which is financed by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, has been established in close cooperation with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, the Swedish Academy, and Swedish universities. The universities nominate researchers to the program, the academies evaluate the candidates and present the most promising researchers to the Foundation, who then make the final selection. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has provided almost 2.5 billion Swedish kronor in funding for the program since 2012.


Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chair, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
+46 (0)8 545 017 80

Göran Sandberg, Executive Director, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
+46 (0)8 545 017 80

Göran K. Hansson, Secretary General, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
+46 (0)8 673 95 00

Eva Nevelius, Press Secretary, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
+46 (0)8 673 95 00