The nomination period for the 2020 Johan Skytte Prize now open!

The Johan Skytte Foundation would hereby like to encourage all members of the political science community as well as the friends of political science to submit their nominations for the 2020 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science. Founded in 1995, the Johan Skytte Prize is considered to be the political science equivalent of the Nobel prizes. The most recent laureate is Professor Margaret Levi.
The nomination period is open until midnight on January 12, 2020 (Stockholm time). All nominations submitted after this deadline will be be considered for the 2021 prize.
The prize winner will be selected from among the nominees by a six-strong Skytte prize committee that currently consists of Li Bennich-Björkman, professor skytteana in eloquence and political science (Uppsala University; chair), professor Maurizio Ferrera (Università degli Studi di Milano), Kimberly Hutchings, professor of politics and international relations (Queen Mary University of London), Vello Pettai, professor of comparative politics (University of Tartu), professor Lise Rakner (University of Bergen) and Jan Teorell, professor of political science (Lund University). The committee members are not allowed to nominate, which makes your nomination very important to us.
The nomination form together with nomination guidelines can be found here. Please note that we store all the past nomination which means that unless you wish to add new information to your old nomination, you do not need to send it in again.
The prize includes prize money of SEK 500.000 as well as a golden medal crafted by most renowned Swedish goldsmiths. The laureate will deliver her/his prize winner lecture on October 3, 2020.
We look forward to receiving your nomination! Do not forget to “like” the prize on Facebook


Prize winners over the years


Nominations for the 2020 Johan Skytte Prize can be submitted via this form until January 12, 2020. If the nomination is submitted correctly, you will get a confirmation e-mail to the e-mail address you provided in the form.
The prize amount is 500.000 SEK (approximately 55.000 USD). The prize also includes a medal.

Nomination Instructions
1. A nomination can be submitted by a scholar holding a position at any instititution of higher learning (University, research institutions, academy of sciences). We also welcome nominations from doctoral students and practitioners working in the field of political science.
2. The nominations must be written in English and should contain no fewer than 500 words. There is no maximum word count provided that the nomination letter is of a reasonable length. The nomination letter should elaborate on the reasons why the nominee deserves to be awarded the Skytte prize and the ways in which the nominee contributed to the field of political science. Ideally, the letter should refer to the various publications of the nominee.
3. A nomination should also include a CV and publication list of the nominee included as attachments.
4. Self-nominations and post-humous nominations are not accepted.
5. The nominator can be a single person or a group of individuals. If the latter is the case, we urge you to write a joint nomination that you all sign rather than sending multiple nominations for the same nominee. Please note that joint nominations do not strengthen the chances of the nominee to be awarded the prize.
6. The nominations are confidential and should not be shared with the nominee prior to or after their submission.
7. It is possible to nominate groups but note that joint prizes are rather uncommon. A joint Skytte prize has only been awarded on one occasion.
8. To diversify the pool of laureates, we welcome nominations for female scholars, non-Western academics and established scholars who are still active in the field.
9. Nominations from previous years are kept on file and considered every year. Kindly re-submit your nomination only if you make substantial modifications to your motivation letter.
10. The nominations should ideally be submitted electronically through the online form found below. The form works in any browser but work-in-progress cannot be saved in the form. This is why we urge the nominators to prepare the nomination letter in a word-processing programme and copy-paste it into our online form once ready. If a form is submitted correctly you will get a message indicating that this was indeed the case. You will also receive a confirmation e-mail to your e-mail address.

The Skytte Prize Committee is entirely dependent on receiving nominations from the wide scholarly community as individual committee members are not allowed to nominate. The time and effort you invest into writing the nomination is highly appreciated.

Selection Procedure
The laureate is chosen by the board of the Johan Skytte Foundation at the recommendation of the Skytte Prize Committee. The laureate is usually announced in early April on the pages of the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.

Should you have any questions about the nomination process or experience technical difficulties, contact Michal Smrek at

Nomination Form for the Johan Skytte Prize



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The festive prize award ceremony takes place at Uppsala University where Johan Skytte served as a chancellor. The ceremony by custom takes place on the last weekend before October 1, the date when Johan Skytte donated land and property to Uppsala University in order to establish a professor chair in political science and eloquence in 1622.
The festivities that traditionally combine academic and social events start on Friday with a lecture held at the Department of Government. In the evening, the Skytte Foundation hosts a dinner for the laureate, the Prize Committee and senior members of the Department of Government.
Saturday is the main celebration day, starting in the afternoon with a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of Johan Skytte in Uppsala Cathedral accompanied by music composed specially for this occasion by the famous musician and director of Uppsala University orchestra, Ulf Johansson Werre. Thereafter, the laureate delivers the Prize award lecture (Johan Skytte lecture). This event is open to the public and traditionally held at the University Main Building. The lecture is followed by the Skytte banquet, a formal dinner at one of the student nations where around 150 invited guests, including royals and other notable public figures, gather for celebrations. At the banquet, the laureate is formally presented with a medal.
The festivities come to an end on Sunday with an excursion organised by the Skytte Foundation and led by the patron of the Foundation, Count Nils-Axel Mörner. The excursion pays homage to Johan Skytte and the highlight of it is a visit to the beautiful Grönsöö Castle by the lake Mälaren built by Johan Skytte himself. Today, the Von Ehrenheim family lives in the castle.
Representatives of the media are welcome to attend every event of the official programme provided that they register their interest with our Master of Ceremonies, Michal Smrek at Michal will also assist the media to schedule an interview with the prize winner if requested.

Skytte Manuscript Workshop

Skytte Manuscript Workshop is a near-annual scholarly event inspired by Johan Skytte’s legacy in facilitating progress in political science. The event gathers a group of Swedish and international researchers for a two- to three-day workshop the aim of which is to discuss a book manuscript which promises a significant contribution to the field of political science. The workshop provides the author(s) with a valuable opportunity to gather feedback and improve their manuscript before its publication.
To strengthen the link between the Skytte Foundation and Department of Government in Uppsala, the author(s) of the manuscript who wish to organise a Skytte Manuscript Workshop need to team up with a researcher based at the Department of Government who will act as an academic coordinator for the workshop. The workshop participants are then selected in part by the academic coordinator and in part by the author(s) of the manuscript. Two doctoral students from the Department of Government are selected and invited to the workshop in the role of note-takers.
The author(s) of the manuscript should not be based at or affiliated to the Department of Government in Uppsala. The applications are evaluated solely on the description of the manuscript and its potential contribution to political science. Watch this space for the opening of the application period which is usually open in January provided that the Foundation has sufficient resources. The application period will also be advertised on Facebook.
Over the years, a number of well-cited publications that benefited from the workshop have been published. These include One Illness Away (Oxford University Press, 2011) by Anirudh Krishna, What’s Wrong with the WTO and How to Fix It (Polity, 2014) by Rorden Wilkinson, Patronal Politics: Eurasian Regime Dynamics in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014) by Henry Hale, Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights (Oxford University Press, 2015) by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Terra Lawson-Remer and Susan Randolph and Communism’s Shadow: Historical Legacies and Contemporary Political Attitudes (Princeton University Press, 2017) by Grigore Pop-Eleches and Joshua A. Tucker.

The foundation covers the travel tickets and board for all participants who are in part selected by the authors of the manuscript and part by the workshop coordinator. Our aim is to host one workshop annually if resources permit. Should you be interested in taking part in the workshop as an author of a manuscript or workshop coordinator, contact Michal Smrek.

The Johan Skytte Foundation

In 1622, Johan Skytte donated land and property to Uppsala University in order to establish a professorship in political science and eloquence. Johan Skytte, by then a leading Swedish statesman and vice-chancellor of Uppsala University, observed that while Sweden usually excelled at the field of battle, she tended to underperform at the ensuing negotiation table. Johan Skytte was determined the new chair at Uppsala University could help to change this by offering training in the art of eloquence and politics. Over the years, the donation which was intended to be independent has become part of Uppsala University’s collective assets and funds. In 1979, the patron of the Skytte Foundation, Count Nils-Axel Mörner, demanded and campaigned for the restoration of an independent foundation that would guard Johan Skytte’s assets. This request was granted and the Skytte Foundation began its new chapter.
The restoration of the foundation’s independence saw a considerable amount of funds and assets returned under the management of the foundation. The newly appointed board agreed that the assets should be used in a wise and constructive manner, and – in one way or another, in the memory of Johan Skytte. In 1994, the idea of a Prize in political science was born, a brainchild of the patron of the foundation, Nils-Axel Mörner and then Johan Skytte Professor, Leif Lewin. From 1995 until today, 25 prominent political scientists have been awarded the Prize which rewards the most remarkable achievements within the field of political science. The prize grew in prestige over the years and has been likened to the Nobel Prizes in terms of importance and role-model potential.
In addition to the Skytte Prize, the Foundation runs its own publishing house. Its most recent publication is an excellent resource mapping the histories of Johan Skytte, his donation and 20 Skytte Prize Winners. The publication authored by Nils-Axel Mörner and Li Bennich-Björkman marks the 20th anniversary of the Skytte Prize. The book is free of charge and you can download it here or request a hard copy in writing to Michal Smrek. The Foundation also sponsors various academic events.
In preparation for the 400th anniversary of the Foundation in 2022, the Foundation unveiled a new logo and launched a new website for the Johan Skytte Prize.
The Foundation is governed by a 6-strong board, including the patron Count Nils-Axel Mörner, current Skytte Professor of Political Science Li Bennich-Björkman, vice-chancellor of Uppsala University Eva Åkesson, treasurer Anders Barth, secretary Jonas Mörner and economist Jacob Lagercrantz.

Who was Johan Skytte

Johan Skytte, born to a middle-class merchant and mayor of a small Swedish town, quickly rose through the echelons of power to become one of the most influential Swedish statesmen of the 17th Century. He obtained his Master’s degree from Marburg University in Germany and went on to become a tutor of the Crown Prince, at that time a remarkable honour for someone with a middle-class background. He was swiftly promoted to join the ranks of the nobles and served as a councilor to the Crown on many occasions.
During Skytte’s life, Sweden emerged as a great power, and it thus became of fundamental importance to improve her educational system. On this front, Skytte came to play a central role. He was a deeply learned person, a master in eloquence and a person of great interest and skill in didactics and made it his personal mission to improve the Swedish educational system. In 1622, he was appointed vice-chancellor of Uppsala University, an institutions he helped to modernise. The same year, he donated a considerable sum to the University to set up a professorship in Political Science and Eloquence in a belief that teaching these in concord would help Sweden further her political power. His educational technique was built on inspiration rather than demands, which was very progressive for the period.
In 1629, Johan Skytte was appointed Governor General of the Baltic provinces of Livonia and Karelia and continued with his educational mission there. In 1631, he helped to establish and later chair the University of Tartu, which became the second oldest University in Sweden.
Johan Skytte’s involvement in education was not only limited to University level. He also helped to or directly established several ordinary schools, for instance a school in Lycksele in Northern Sweden in 1631 or the first rural school in Sweden in Ålem in 1637. The Royal Skytte Society in Umeå, established in 1956, was named after Johan Skytte in appreciation of his impact on education in the northern parts of Sweden.
The Johan Skytte Foundation aims to preserve and further the educational legacy of Johan Skytte. The Johan Skytte Prize aspires to identify the most valuable contributions to Political Science and thus help to further the discipline and encourage innovative research within the field.

The Committee

Li Bennich-Björkman
Johan Skytte Professor in Political Science and Eloquence, Uppsala University, chair
Lise Rakner
Professor, University of Bergen
Jan Teorell
Professor of Political Science, Lund University
Øyvind Østerud
Professor in International Conflict Studies, University of Oslo
Vello Pettai
Professor of Comparative Politics, Johan Skytte Institute, Tartu University
Kimberly Hutchings
Professor of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London


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Address: Skytteanum, Valvgatan 4, 753 10 Uppsala, Sweden
Telephone: 0046 700664926. Email: