Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet
The Nobel Assembly consists of fifty professors in medical subjects at Karolinska Institutet, appointed by the faculty of the Institute, and is a private organisation which is formally not part of Karolinska Institutet. The main work involved in collecting nominations and screening nominees is performed by the Nobel Committee at Karolinska Institutet, which has five members. The Nobel Committee, which is appointed by the Nobel Assembly, is only empowered to recommend laureates, while the final decision rests with the Nobel Assembly.
In the early history of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which was first awarded in 1901, the laurates were decided upon by the entire faculty of Karolinska Institutet. The reason for creating a special body for the decisions concerning the Nobel Prize was the fact that Karolinska Institutet is a state-run university, which in turn means that it is subject to various laws that apply to government agencies in Sweden and similar Swedish public sector organisations, such as freedom of information legislation. By moving the actual decision making to a private body at Karolinska Institute (but not part of it), it is possible to follow the regulations for the Nobel Prize set down by the Nobel Foundation, including keeping the confidentiality of all documents and proceedings for a minimum of 50 years. Also, the legal possibility of contesting the decisions in e.g. administrative courts is removed.
The other two Nobel Prize-awarding bodies in Sweden, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Swedish Academy, are legally private organisations (although enjoying royal patronage), and have therefore not had to make any special arrangements to be able to follow the Nobel Foundation's regulations.
- Karolinska Institutet: Nobelpriset - den ärofyllda traditionen, accessed on August 3, 2009 (Swedish)
- Nobelprize.org: Prize Awarder for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, accessed on August 3, 2009