Aalto Energy Platform

Seed funding enabled new approaches in renewable energy research

Tanja Kallio

Tanja Kallio: Seed funding enabled new approaches in renewable energy research

Seed funding is a stepping stone to cooperation with other research groups, and a great channel to test your ideas.

Tanja Kallio holds a sample of the modified carbon nanofiber material that serves as a base for her work on catalyst materials, supercapacitators as well as air batteries.

Tanja Kallio and her close group of collaborators are four-time recipients of Aalto seed funding — twice from the Energy Platform and twice from MIDE seed funding. She is thriving in her research work on fuel cells and electrochemical energy storage technologies, and she is driven to combine science with the noble purpose of advancing renewable energy. According to Kallio, the seed funding she received from Aalto has helped her build a base and find new approaches in her work. “We got the new funding this year for air batteries for example — a field we were not investigating earlier. Without the seed funding we wouldn’t have had a chance to start exploring our hunch that our modified carbon nanofiber material could be useful for air batteries as well.”

While the two latest rounds of platform seed funding she received are yet to bear fruit, the first two grants of MIDE seed funding have already impacted her work. She and her collaborators received over 700,000 EUR in funding to work on two Academy of Finland projects that then led to two EU projects related to her area of research. In their success, Kallio sees the role of seed funding as a stepping stone. “It enables you to have connections to new groups that you haven’t worked with earlier. And secondly, seed funding enables you to have some proof of or trial for your ideas. Of course, not all ideas succeed, but you have a chance to start an investigation.”

The application process for the seed funding is simple, consisting only of a two- to three-page written application, and the success rate is quite high — last year about half of the applicants received funding. Regarding the ease of funding, Kallio remarked that “it is rare to have something like this nowadays, and that makes the seed funding so great.”

Tanja Kallio and collaborators
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