2019 Award Categories

The Tekne Awards honor innovation in science and technology in each of the categories below. Public policy, small business innovation research, small business technology transfer and lifetime achievement honorees will also be recognized during the 2019 Tekne Awards Gala


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Community Impact
Recognizes the development or implementation of technology that serves an unmet community need. Entries should demonstrate significant improvement or modernization through a product, service or innovation that assists underserved populations, enhances quality of life, health or safety, and serves as a catalyst to promote interest in STEM.
Workforce Development
Celebrates innovative approaches to build the tech talent pipeline for Minnesota workplaces. This includes initiatives to attract, develop and retain talent in order to build a diverse and inclusive work community while closing the gap in Minnesota’s tech talent shortage.
Recognizes an early-stage Minnesota science or technology company with commercialized products that demonstrates significant potential, creativity and a promising future. Company revenue from 2018 is $5m or less and 50% or more of its employees are based in Minnesota.
Shines a spotlight on innovative products or services that safeguard businesses and enterprises from unintended or unauthorized access. Recognizes products or services that uphold digital ethics and ensure safe, ethical, and professional online communities. Examples include, but are not limited to: identity management products or services, trusted authentication, disaster recovery, secure data storage, computer forensics, verification processes, etc.
Cognitive Computing
Honors innovative products or services that simulate the human cognition process to find solutions in complex situations. Examples include, but are not limited to: artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, augmented reality, virtual reality, data mining, natural language processing, pattern matching, etc.
Cloud Computing
Celebrates innovation in products and services that deliver hosted services over the Internet. Examples include but are not limited to: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), edge computing, virtual systems, etc.
Internet of Things
Recognizes products and services that make everyday objects smarter by embedded technology and connecting them to enable communication. Examples include but are not limited to: smart spaces, sensors, network advancement, autonomous things, etc.
Industry 4.0
Recognizes products and services that highlight advancements in automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies. Submissions to this category highlight the digital convergence between industry, businesses and other processes. Examples include but are not limited to: additive manufacturing (3D Printing), robotics, supply chain, logistics, integration of cyber and physical systems for smart factories, etc.
Celebrates innovation and pioneering efforts in biotechnology to provide game-changing advancement in medicine, agriculture or industrial needs. Submissions to this category use living processes, organisms or systems to manufacture products or technology intended to improve the quality of human life. Examples include, but are not limited to: gene therapies, precision medicine, genetically modified plants, pest-resistant crops, disease-resistant animals, biochemicals for industrial process, control of harmful water-borne organisms, bioinformatics, etc.
Shines a spotlight on innovation that enhances energy efficiency, conservation or renewable energy generation and storage. Examples include, but are not limited to: solar or wind power, biofuels, petroleum replacement, green transportation, hydropower, water or waste recycling, etc.
Honors technological advances in agricultural operations or food production that enhance productivity and efficiency, improve environmental sustainability or contribute to food safety. Examples include, but are not limited to: real-time crop data sensors, plant/soil analytics, water management systems, aerial imagery, predictive analytics, grocery supply chain management, etc.
Honors significant achievements in medical product design and engineering that improve the quality of healthcare delivery and accessibility. Examples include, but are not limited to: instruments, machines, implants, in vitro reagents or other related products that are intended for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease or other conditions.
Recognizes advancements in digital technology to make learning and teaching more interactive, dynamic, adaptive, collaborative and immersive for students of all ages. Examples include, but are not limited to: multi-media integration, gamification, mobile casual, learning apps, adaptive tech for physical disabilities, peer-to-peer learning platforms, etc.
Honors technology innovation that improves the delivery and use of financial services to businesses or consumers. Examples include, but are not limited to: payment apps, Blockchain, smart contracts, insurance streamlining & simplification, compliance, budget apps, crowdfunding platforms, investment advice, etc.