News

Helsinki Challenge incubates big ideas

Finalist teams develop their solutions with experts in the Global Impact Camp in Brussels.

The seven finalist teams in the Helsinki Challenge science-based idea competition are heading to Brussels for a Global Impact Camp. Since January, the competition participants have worked hard to develop their bold ideas for tackling global challenges. In this final stage, teams can discuss and co-create with experts and mentors.

Helsinki Challenge is an effort by ten Finnish universities to strengthen the dialogue between research and the wider society, and to enable new science-based research proposals. The teams have contemplated how to help the world reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their solutions can be either pioneering research, marketable ideas, or unique innovations.

The Helsinki Challenge competition calls for collaboration between scientific boundaries and broad-minded thinking. The competition teams consist of researchers from different universities, across disciplines, and also of representatives from companies and the public sector.

Aalto University is one of the organising universities and participates in various teams. ‘Universities bear a growing responsibility in tackling humanity’s grand challenges. This compels us to engage in multidisciplinary and multi-organisational collaboration in a novel manner. Helsinki Challenge brings us this future mode of working today’, says Ilkka Niemelä, President of Aalto University.

Team HeatStock develops material for heat storage

One of the seven finalist teams, HeatStock, is headed by Ari Seppälä, who works as a Senior Scientist at the Aalto University Department of Mechanical Engineering. Team HeatStock wants to develop a new kind of material that stores heat for long periods of time. The heat can be collected in the summertime using solar collectors and then stored for the winter months.  ‘We can make the world cleaner and our use of natural resources smarter. This will also have a positive effect on the climate’, says Ari Seppälä.

 

Team HeatStock develops new material for storing heat. From left to right, Olli Vartia, Aalto; Kirsi Jouppila, University of Helsinki; Kari Saari, Aalto; Ari Seppälä, Aalto and Salla Puupponen, Aalto. Missing from the photo: Leena Hupa and Daniel Lindberg, Åbo Akademi University; Ilkka Hippinen and Kati Laakso, Motiva Corporation. Photo: Meeri Uitti

 

The competition was launched in late autumn 2016 with a total of 110 entries in the first phase. Twenty teams passed the first evaluations in early 2017 and qualified for the semi-finals. In May, seven teams were selected for the final phase.

During the competition process, the best teams developed their ideas into solutions at boot camps, meetings, and workshops. They have received valuable mentoring and training in partnerships, funding, pitching and design thinking.

Teams present their ideas at an open event in Brussels

The first impact camp was held in April in Helsinki. The second camp in Brussels is an intensive co-creation session focusing on the societal impact of research, funding and collaboration with international experts and EU decision-makers.

All finalist teams will present their ideas to the public in an open seminar on 26 September at the Bibliothèque Solvay, Brussels. Keynotes will be given by Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, Director of the UNDP Representation Office in Brussels, and Jyrki Katainen, VP of the European Commission, followed by a panel discussion on the theme Grand societal challenges & science impact with leading experts in the field.

The winner of the Helsinki Challenge competition will be announced in November. The competition prize is 375 000 euros for the implementation of the solution.

The prize is just one of the competition’s benefits. Even if a team doesn’t win the competition, their idea will likely have a bright future because of the new partnerships formed and competences discovered during the journey.

#aalto  #helsinkichallenge  #finland100

Read more:
helsinki Challenge website
Helsinki Challenge finalist teams

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Related news

Otaniemi campus above / photo: Aalto University, Matti Ahlgren
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

More than 300 corporate executives reported on the effects of the coronavirus crisis: decelerated expansion plans, accelerated innovation activities, and increasing demand for talent

Companies were generally effective in their operative crisis management, but obstacles remain in the way of long-term growth, according to a new study by Aalto University. The researchers say that availability of know-how, especially in relation to new technologies, is becoming a bottleneck for organizational growth and renewal.
Aalto Töölön juhlasali
Campus, Press releases Published:

The renovation of the Aalto University Töölö building restored the spirit of the 1950s

The former main building of the School of Business in Runeberginkatu was renewed into a modern learning environment.
With the right guidance, certain bacteria can produce 3D objects made of nanocellulose
Press releases, Research & Art Published:

Scientists use bacteria as micro-3D printers

Technique creates highly customised structures that could be used in regenerative medicine
Amsterdamin konserttisali
Press releases Published:

Can you identify which concert hall this music is being played in? Test to see

Study shows music volume has a major impact on how the listener experiences the acoustics of a concert hall