Junior Academy “Young Innovation in a Time of Crisis” award to Sarah, 17 years old

The award created by the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) called Ung innovation i kristid (Young Innovation in a Time of Crisis) goes to an international team named “United in Crisis” consisting of Sarah Rydell from Sweden and Jesse, Serhan, Ishika, Niton and Mark from the USA and Turkey. These young people have produced a global and cross-sectoral solution to help people who are unemployed to fill job vacancies in the care sector, where the need for resources is significant. Supervising the team was Tomas Jonsson from Teknikens Hus science centre.

“The youngsters’ brilliant solution addresses the significant challenge of unemployment and the shortage of human resources in the care sector,” says Maja Neiman, Project Manager for Junior Academy at IVA. And they’re doing it in a highly user-friendly and elegant way. We hope that this award will promote confidence in the future and inspire many young people”.

Oscar Stege Unger, Director at the Wallenberg Foundations and co-founder of Skill Shift Initiative (Beredskapslyftet), can testify to the importance of quickly matching furloughed workers with the current demand for labour. He believes these young innovators got it exactly right:

“Sara and her teammates at the Junior Academy have found a solution to a problem that many actors in society are working flat out to solve. The Skill Shift Initiative shows that it is possible to train, for example, cabin personnel from the airline industry at Sophiahemmet University so that they’re prepared in a just a few weeks to work within health care and elderly care. There are more examples like this and it should be encouraged”, says Oscar Stege Unger.

IVA’s “Young Innovation in a Time of Crisis” award is a Swedish award within the global “Combatting Covid-19” challenge that was established within the framework of Junior Academy, an international science competition. Junior Academy is a project of the New York Academy of Sciences, and IVA’s participation is possible thanks to the main project sponsor, the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Memorial Foundation.

Junior Academy’s aim is to spark curiosity among young people in science and technology. It is an international STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programme and gives young people ages 13 to 18 a chance to work in their spare time on real challenges facing society and to develop their skills in problem-solving and innovation.

Junior Academy in Sweden is a collaboration between IVA and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). Read more about Junior Academy.