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Estonian American Innovation Award

Lithuanian-American Innovation Award

Lithuanian-American Innovation Award

Winners of the first Lithuanian-American Innovation Award were honored at a ceremony March 1 in Vilnius. Presenters were U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Anne Hall; Eric Stewart, President of the American-Lithuanian Business Council, and Laura Lyons on behalf of the BAFF Board of Directors. Milda Darguzaite, Chief of Staff of the Government of Lithuania also addressed the winners.

Linas Mazutis, PhDLinas Mazutis, PhD: inDrops was awarded top prize of 10,000 euros.
Dr. Linas Mazutis, in collaboration with scientists from Harvard University, developed a technique for the efficient isolation and sequencing of single cells. The process opens new research avenues at a fraction of the cost of previous state-of-the-art commercial platforms.

Two runners-up will share the 5000 euro second prize:

  • Virginijus Siksnys, PhD, et al.: CRISPR-Cas9 Technology. Professor Virginijus Siksnys and his team at the Institute of Biotechnology at Vilnius University was a cornerstone for adapting CRISPR-Cas9 to one of the most powerful tools ever invented for editing genomes. Their technology patent has been licensed to DuPont Pioneer, the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics.
  • Rimas Gulbinas: Maalka Commercial Building Sustainability Platform. Maalka uses big data to streamline the management of sustainability programs that make commercial buildings more efficient, sustainable and healthier for occupants. Maalka could reduce energy-use and related emissions by more than 20% in the United States.

Honorable mention went to finalists:Honorable mention went to finalists

  • Ricardas Cepas: A.Lot Parking. A. Lot is a new brand name in the U.S. for automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) software that is able to scan vehicle’s license plate in order to calculate the amount of time and money spent while parking. A connected app makes parking easier by handling payments and letting users know which lots have available spots.
  • Deeper, UAB: Smart Sonar. Deeper’s Fish finder was the first-ever castable sonar on the market in 2013, putting technology previously available only in expensive, boat-mounted sonar units literally into the hands of shore fishers. The fish finder required retailers to create a wholly new category. The product has made the age-old sport of angling smart and tech-friendly.

The Lithuanian-American Innovation Award highlights and promotes innovative cooperation between the Lithuania and the United States. The award was established in 2016 by BAFF, the American-Lithuanian Business Council, and the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius. Open to a Lithuanian individual, organization, university, or firm that has developed an innovation in collaboration with a U.S. partner, the top awards are designed to recognize the importance of innovation to Lithuania’s economy and carry prizes of 10,000 and 5,000 euros for the first and second prize winners.

Any project that demonstrates a clear Lithuanian-American link is eligible to win the Innovation Award. The core requirements are demonstration of the impact or clear potential impact of the innovation collaboration with a U.S. individual or entity. To learn more, please visit

Estonian American Innovation Award

As a means to highlight innovation in Estonia – and the collaboration between U.S. and Estonian firms and individuals – the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF), the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Estonia established the annual Estonian-American Innovation Award for an Estonian individual or firm that has developed an innovation in cooperation with a U.S. partner.

GrabCad receives first Estonian American Innovation Award The award is a cooperative project of AmCham Estonia, U.S. Embassy, and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). Initiated in 2011, it recognizes innovation by Estonians in partnership with Americans in a broad range of fields.

Previous award winners include the following companies: GrabCAD, ZeroTurnaround OÜ, Fortumo, Planet OS Inc., Transferwise.

Specific details are available on the competition website

Application Requirements

To be eligible, projects must demonstrate a clear Estonian-American link through a combination of two or more of the following:

  • The development and implementation of the innovation has taken place in Estonia.
  • The project is the result of work conducted in the framework of US-Estonia academic, commercial, professional, or artistic partnership or clear collaborative effort.
  • The Estonian initiator and responsible person/entity has strong ties with the United States.
  • The project has been funded or sponsored by a U.S. source.
  • The end-user or beneficiary is an American organization.

Innovations will be evaluated per the following criteria, in descending order of importance:

  • Creativity: The innovation should be as original as possible or the adaptation should be creative.
  • Impact: The innovation should have a clear or potential impact in its given field; and/or there is evidence that the innovation will contribute to a more efficient way of doing things.
  • Collaboration: The innovation successfully demonstrates collaboration and cooperation between Estonian and American individuals or entities.
  • Timeliness: The innovation should not be more than 5 years old.
  • Recognition: The results of the innovation have been recognized by peers, critics, or in professional journals; or has demonstrated success in the market place.
  • Cost Effectiveness: There is evidence that the innovation adds value while at the same time containing or reducing costs.

Recent Awards

Estonian American Innovation Award Finalists The best in innovation and entrepreneurial cooperation between Estonians and Americans was celebrated on January 27, 2016, with the award to TransferWise for 2016 Estonian-American Innovation Award. Teleport received the “Most Innovative Newcomer Award” and Garage48 received the “Facebook Creativity Recognition Award.”

BAFF with Estonian PM, Taavi Roivas As recipient of the Innovation Award, TransferWise received a prize of €10,000 euros from BAFF. This online money transfer service, which allows users to transfer money up to 89% cheaper than through the bank, established two new offices in the United States this year, providing similar domestic transfer depositing services as they do in Europe. Other finalists for this year’s Innovation Award prize included Cybernetica AS, Skeleton Technologies AS, Teleport, and Testlio.

BAFF with Estonian PM, Taavi Roivas

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