Karolinska Institutet awards medals to people who have made special contributions to support KI. The medals are available in three categories: gold medal, grand silver medal and silver medal. Medals are awarded in connection with various academic ceremonies. The nominations are reviewed by the President, the Vice President, the University Director, the Academic Vice President for Research, the Academic Vice President for Doctoral Education, and the Academic Vice President for Higher Education.
The Silver Medal
Gunnar Nilsson, Professor of General Medicine at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), receives the Silver Medal for a versatile and successful career in medicine, education, and research, as well as for having played an important role in developing the collaboration between Region Stockholm and Karolinska Institutet.
Gunnar Nilsson has made major contributions to the development and management of higher education, through participation in a number of working groups and assignments.
Early on, he was involved in designing a radically new medical education that started in 2007 and was subsequently given the role of program director with responsibility for its implementation, while also serving as Deputy Head of Department and Head of Section at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS).
As Programme Director, he was responsible, in collaboration with Region Stockholm, for the development of placements at virtually all of the region's health centres. In 2013, he was awarded the KI Pedagogical Prize and has since been a member of the Pedagogical Academy.
Gunnar Nilsson then spent four years as Deputy Dean for Education, with special responsibility for international education, contract education, and coordination of the units for educational development.
After his assignment as Deputy Dean, his commitment to education continued, among other things through his role as Chair of the Docent Committee, which included a special responsibility to develop and introduce a new regulatory framework for docentships at KI.
Gunnar Nilsson has had a long commitment to collaboration with Region Stockholm, with the vision of primary care reaching its full potential in health care as well as research and teaching. In the early 2010s, he was head of the Centre for Family Medicine (CeFAM) – a collaboration between KI and the Stockholm County Healthcare Area (SLSO).
John Skår, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME), has been awarded the Silver Medal for his extensive, innovative, and decisive contributions to KI in the utilisation of knowledge through a large number of collaborative initiatives – not least with regard to the initiative and work with what is now called Hagastaden.
John Skår came to KI in 1996 as Professor of Biomedical Innovation Science and to lead the new Centre for Medical Innovations (CMI). He came to play an important role in developing research and education in several new areas and thus contributed to KI's infrastructure.
He introduced new competencies and technologies, as well as initiated and implemented several national and international collaborative projects.
With significant financial support from the Teknikbro Foundation and the Knowledge Foundation, CMI initiated and implemented many innovative projects with societal components. These include the Stockholm Biocity project, which led to the creation of Hagastaden, as a central node for life science research and innovation.
John Skår and CMI built successful collaborations with companies and organisations. A prominent project was the Centre for Hearing and Communication Research (CHK), which addressed hearing health and communication and involved collaboration with the The Swedish Association of Hard of Hearing People (Hörselskadades Riksförbund).
In the areas of education and postgraduate education, John Skår was a driving force in several projects, including the establishment of new areas of research and education, such as bioinformatics, bioentrepreneurship, health informatics, biotechnology and the introduction of the subject of Medical Management.
The Medical Management Center (MMC) at LIME has since become a national knowledge and competence centre with great benefits for KI and society.
The Grand Silver Medal
Göran K Hansson, professor of experimental cardiovascular research at the Department of Medicine, Solna, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his far-reaching contributions to cardiovascular medicine, Karolinska Institutet and the national and international discourse in medicine.
For three decades, Göran K Hansson has developed the now highly active research area of atherosclerosis immunology. He has made several of the seminal contributions that established atherosclerosis as an inflammatory disease – insights that have created a plethora of new possibilities for improved clinical protocols in cardiovascular prevention and therapy.
In addition to his leadership in cardiovascular medicine, Göran K Hansson has served on several boards and committees of Karolinska Institutet, including the Board for research (1995-2005), and he represented KI on the board of the Karolinska Hospital (2002-2003). He was one of the founding PIs of the Center for Molecular Medicine and he led the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease, CERIC, from its start in 2008.
Göran K Hansson has also had central roles in the Nobel system for nearly 25 years. He served as the secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences during 2015-2021, and he served on the board of directors of the Nobel Foundation for 13 years (2009- 2022), also as its vice chair.
In his positions at the Karolinska Institutet and beyond, Göran K Hansson has taken a prominent role in promoting science in society, including commentaries and editorials in the daily press, participating in debates and news programmes, maintaining an active blog about science, and appointing an independent expert panel at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences during the Covid-19 pandemic. He remains an exceptionally respected voice promoting reason and science in society.
Jan-Inge Henter, professor of clinical paediatric oncology at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, is awarded the Grand Silver Medal for his pioneering research in the field of histiocytic diseases, and for his achievements as Director of R&D.
Jan-Inge Henter defended his thesis entitled “Familial haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis: A clinical, metabolic and immunological study of a lymphohistiocytic inflammatory disorder” at Karolinska Institutet in 1990. This was the start of strong and internationally acclaimed research into histiocytic diseases, in particular haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) and Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH). This research led to new treatment strategies and an improved prognosis for children affected by these diseases. Jan-Inge Henter’s treatment protocol ended up saving most of these children and became the international standard. He subsequently played a key role in identifying the molecular basis of these conditions, which – when the mechanisms were clarified – turned out to be several different diseases caused by various immune system defects.
Jan-Inge Henter has played an active part in Karolinska Institutet’s activities throughout his career. He has served as Deputy Head of the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health (2007–2012) and Coordinator and Convenor of the Professors’ Collegium at Karolinska Institutet (2008–2012). He held the position of R&D Director at Karolinska University Hospital between 2012 and 2017.
Both Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet went through a turbulent period during Jan-Inge Henter’s tenure as Director of R&D. At the hospital, there was the planning and moving in of the New Karolinska hospital, NKS. Karolinska Institutet was undergoing extensive planning and renovation at the same time. Jan-Inge Henter played a key role in making it all work. His in-depth understanding of Karolinska Institutet’s teaching and research missions meant that he came to serve as a bridge between these two organisations. The major construction projects affected Karolinska Institutet’s ability to conduct research and education in the clinical environment. This period was also characterised by major organisational changes in healthcare. Jan-Inge Henter was able to make a major contribution to securing the future of KI’s courses and study programmes and clinical and translational research at the hospital during this turbulent time.
2015 - Harriet Wallberg
2012 - Lennart Nilsson
Grand Silver Medal
2014 - Staffan Normark, Lars Klareskog and Hans Rosling
2013 - Gösta Gahrton, Folke Sjöqvist and Bengt Winblad
2012 - Peter Aspelin, Dimitris N. Chorafas, Suad Efendic and Nina Rehnqvist Ahlberg
2011 - Hans-Olov Adami, Lars Ekholm, Jan-Åke Gustafsson, Kerstin Hall and Tomas Hökfelt
2010 - Margareta Almling, Margareta Blombäck, Kerstin Hagenfeldt, Ulf Hjertonsson, Gunnar Höglund, Eva Klein, Georg Klein, Sten Linder-Aronson, Jan Lindsten, Anna-Stina Malmborg, Erling Norrby, Sten Orrenius, Nelson Sewankambo, Göran Stiernstedt and Yi-Xin Zeng
2014 - Outi Hovatta and Björn Vennström
2013 - Hugo Lagercrantz, Sten Lindahl and Marie Åsberg
2012 - Kerstin Brismar, Bertil Daneholt, Johan Forsslöf and Karin Harms-Ringdahl
2011 - Agneta von Bahr, Inger Huldt, Kerstin Lagerström and Arne Öhman
2010 - Tomas Cronholm, Staffan Cullheim, Marja Lind Tuomela, Ester Mogensen, Per Olsson and Birger Winbladh
The Silver Medal
The medal can be awarded to a person who has made excellent efforts to support the activities of Karolinska Institutet’s mission – not only its education and research but also its outreach activities as well as its working environment/core values and implementation.
One or more medals are awarded in conjunction with the ceremony for Diligence and Devotion. The Silver Medal is primarily intended for internal recipients, yet it can also be awarded to external recipients.
The Gold Medal
The medal can be awarded to a person who has made unparalleled efforts to support the activities of Karolinska Institutet – not only its education and research but also its outreach activities as well as its working environment/core values and implementation.
One or more medals are awarded upon an occasion determined by the President. The Gold Medal is primarily awarded to an external recipient, yet in very special cases it can also be awarded to internal recipients.
Recipients of Gold Medals may not be simultaneously appointed as honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet, however, previously appointed honorary doctors at Karolinska Institutet can be awarded a Gold Medal and vice versa.
The Grand Silver Medal
The medal can be awarded to a person who has made tremendous efforts to support the activities of Karolinska Institutet’s mission – not only its education and research but also its outreach activities as well as its working environment/core values and implementation.
One or more medals are awarded in conjunction with the installation ceremony in Aula Medica. The Grand Silver Medal is primarily awarded to external recipients, yet in special cases it can also be awarded to internal recipients.