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Helsinki Challenge: €375 000 for science-based solutions that impact society

In the idea competition, solutions for the great challenges of the world and future well-being are solved.
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Helsinki Challenge is an accelerator programme, based on the collaboration between experts of the scientific community and society.

The competition prize is 375 000 euros and it is meant for the implementation of the solution.

Helsinki Challenge speeds up the implementation of the UN’s sustainable development goals

The Helsinki Challenge teams will tackle the UN’s sustainable development goals, which aim at making the world a better place. The goals are universal, meaning they belong to all of us: nations, municipalities, businesses, schools ­– you and me.  

The competition themes: humans in change, sustainable planet and urban future, challenge the teams to create solutions for global challenges, which affect all of our lives. As urbanisation speeds up, the competition over jobs, apartments and the prerequisites for a good life increases. Although wealth is growing, many people still remain without education and healthcare. The problems vary regionally. The population of developing countries is increasing, while in Europe it is aging and decreasing. Climate change reduces nature’s diversity and forces people to seek better living conditions outside of their homes.

”Researchers are rarely asked what they would like to study, why researching that topic would be important and what problems it will solve. Without Helsinki Challenge, we would never have discussed what topic sparks a passion in us with our colleagues. Our thinking would not have moved forward, and new research ideas wouldn’t have been born,” says researcher Katri Saarikivi.

Finland is aiming to be a leading country in implementing the UN’s sustainable development goals, and Helsinki Challenge is one tool for advancing them.

”Basic research creates new knowledge and opens the door to curiosity, which helps give rise to new research proposals and enables us to build a better, more functional world. It is a societal factor in Finland’s competitiveness and well-being, and simultaneously the foundation for successful business, applied research and product development. Open dialogue and mutual trust between the scientific community and different actors of society are needed for building well-being,” says the University of Helsinki’s rector Jukka Kola.

Vice President Tuija Pulkkinen, Aalto University, notes that the competition suits the Aalto community very well: "At Aalto, we're dedicated to solving problems together, in a multidisciplinary framework. Those taking part in the competition fulfil Aalto University's principal idea to deliver new research results as basis for decision-making, and for the good of society. At the same time, the competition provides the participants with new networks and gives their research excellent visibility."

Helsinki Challenge accelerator programme strengthens researchers’ skills

Helsinki Challenge is a product of the collaboration of Finnish universities. The winner will be known when Finland turns a hundred years old. Organising the competition together with the University of Helsinki are: Aalto University, Hanken School of Economics, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Oulu, the University of the Arts Helsinki, the University of Turku, the University of Vaasa and Åbo Akademi University.

The Helsinki Challenge competition is an effort by the universities to make the significance and effectiveness of science visible, enable new science-based research proposals and strengthen society’s dialogue. The prize is just one of the competition’s benefits. The accelerator programme supports teams in acquiring partnerships and funding, gives rise to new kinds of collaborative efforts and provides coverage for new proposals arising from research.

Helsinki Challenge – apply now!

The competition must be registered for by 31.10 and the actual competition proposal must be submitted by 15.11., at the latest.
Read more at challenge.helsinki.fi

More information: Ira Leväaho, Helsinki Challenge Project Manager, University of Helsinki, [email protected], +358 50 505 8152

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