These are the Skolar Award 2016 finalists!

Slush Science Track kicked off with the Skolar Award semifinals. The jury chose six finalists who will take the Slush pitching stage on Thursday to compete for the main prize.

Text: Kristiina Markkanen, photo: Vilja Pursiainen

Academia and business collided on November 29th at the Slush Science Track opening event at the Päivälehti Museum. The evening culminated in the Skolar Award semifinals where 10 researchers around the world took the stage and pitched their groundbreaking research ideas. Out of these ten the jury picked six finalists that will compete for the 100 000 euro prize on the Slush pitching stage this Thursday, December 1st.

These are the Skolar Award finalists:

Miguel Bordallo López from the University of Oulu develops wearable devices for medical diagnostics.

Maija Hirvonen from the University of Helsinki researches automatic technologies that translate visual data into text.

Virpi Virjamo from the University of Eastern Finland develops novel antibiotics from spruce and pine.

Juha Koivisto from Aalto University concentrates on particle-laden foams so that our labs could be more energy-efficient.

University of Stanford’s Tanja Aitamurto researches the impact that visual information has on our understanding of complex issues.

Craig Richmond from VTT has a new research idea how to detect sepsis as early as possible.

The jury, that consists of university professors and researchers, was impressed with the pitches. Some of the finalists were sure bets, but there were some dark horses as well.

“You can’t lose by pitching you research. It’s important to be able to communicate wise thoughts and hard work in a way people can easily understand the value of these thoughts”, says jury member Kalevi Ekman, professor of mechanical engineering and applied product development at Aalto university.

“Usually scientists present their work to other scientists, which doesn’t always lead to maximum impact. Science should be made visible to a larger audience as well.”

Ekman’s expertise has a lot to do with innovations and product development, creating new things. From this point of view the Skolar Award semifinals left a great impression of the state of Finnish research.

“With the right focus it is possible to come up with something that has impact on a global scale as well, even with few resources. I was positively surprised by the fact that there were research ideas, not business ideas, that had a link to globally significant challenges”, Ekman says.

Are curious of what happened at the Päivälehti Museum? Watch the stream here!

The livestream is provided by Stremia.

  • I really liked that so many of researchers pitching were connecting their work to larger global challenges of our times

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