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“Discussing science and technology directly with the pioneers of the field was surreal” – The Global Young Scientists Summit exceeded the expectations of our participants from Finland

The ten top young scientists nominated from Finland to Singapore’s reputed conference returned home inspired, and with many new ideas and connections from around the world.

Technology Academy Finland, the foundation awarding the Millennium Technology Prize, had the honor of nominating candidates from Finland to the Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) 2024 in Singapore. Ten young scientists from Finnish universities and research centers participated in this prestigious conference organized by the National Research Foundation of Singapore in January.

“It was a tremendous honor to be among the 350 young scientists selected from around the world.”

Buse Bilbey, Tampere University

“It was a tremendous honor to be among the 350 young scientists selected from around the world, nominated from Finland”, says Buse Bilbey, a doctoral researcher at Tampere University.

The GYSS offered the young researchers a rare chance to meet a significant number of Nobel Prize, Millennium Technology Prize, Fields Medal, and Turing Award winners at a single occasion.

“The opportunity to engage in small group discussions and pose questions to these accomplished individuals added a profound depth to the overall experience. It was a unique chance to directly gain insights from some of the brightest minds in science”, Buse Bilbey continues.

“Discussing science and technology directly with these pioneers was surreal!” adds Shruti Jain, a doctoral researcher at the University of Turku.

Young scientists from Finland discussing with Millennium Technology Prize winners Shankar Balasubramanian and Martin Green in Singapore.
Shankar Balasubramanian (Millennium Technology Prize 2020) giving a talk at the Global Young Scientists Summit 2024. Photo: National Research Foundation Singapore.

Meeting Millennium Technology Prize winners was one of the highlights

For many of the participants from Finland, the highlights in GYSS included one-on-one discussions with two of the Millennium Technology Prize winners attending the summit. The young researchers had the chance to participate in a small group session and ask questions directly from Professor Martin Green, who was awarded the Prize in 2022 for pioneering global solar industry with his PERC solar cells, and from Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, who won the 2020 Prize (together with David Klenerman) for developing fast and cheap DNA sequencing technology.

“Shankar Balasubramanian wisely said: ‘When someone tells you to not to do it, take it as a motivation to do it’”.

Maryam Mousavi, Aalto University

“As a solar cell researcher, I was really inspired by Martin Green’s story about how silicone solar cells took over 50 years to develop. Now they hold the potential to provide insanely cheap and sustainable electricity to the world”, says doctoral researcher Maryam Mousavi from Aalto University.

“His story highlighted how it can make a big impact to just stick with your research. Shankar Balasubramanian also wisely said: ‘When someone tells you to not to do it, take it as a motivation to do it’”, Maryam Mousavi continues.

Watch our videos of the experiences of Maryam Mousavi and Shruti Jain, directly after they had attended the amazing lectures by the Millennium Technology Prize winners Martin Green and Shankar Balasubramanian:

Shruti Jain from the University of Turku was extremely inspired by the talk and Q&A given by the Millennium Technology Prize winner Shankar Balasubramanian at GYSS 2024.
Maryam Mousavi from Aalto University felt hope after the talk given by the 2022 Millennium Technology Prize winner Martin Green at GYSS 2024.

Networking at GYSS and at the Embassy of Finland in Singapore

The young researchers from Finland also got to take part in an innovation-themed discussion event at the Embassy of Finland in Singapore, jointly organized with Technology Academy Finland. The discussion provided the audience and speakers with many insightful perspectives on commercializing innovations, optimizing higher education, and discovering the most ethical ways to create and utilize innovations for the common good.

“This was one of the highlights of the week. This event brought together the Millennium Technology Prize winners, members of the National Research Foundation Singapore and representatives of Finnish companies, and we got the opportunity to network with them”, says Shruti Jain.

Our panel discussion with the Embassy of Finland in Singapore explored how to harness high-tech innovations into service of global good. Panelists: Professor Shankar Balasubramanian (second from left) from the University of Cambridge, Raghunath Koduvayur from IQM Quantum Computers, Parisa Mapar from the University of Helsinki and Amsterdam UMC , and Professor Martin Green from UNSW Sydney. Moderators: Mika Tirronen (first from left) from the Embassy of Finland in Singapore, and Laura Manas (on the right) from Technology Academy Finland. Ambassador Juha Markkanen is in the back.
Shruti Jain from the University of Turku and Maryam Mousavi from Aalto Univeristy networking at the Embassy of Finland in Singapore.

The GYSS also offered fantastic opportunities for networking and making connections from around the world – something that is highly valuable for researchers in the beginning of their careers.

Sanaz Zarabi, doctoral researcher at Aalto University, even got a chance to present her doctoral research on the main stage of the summit, together with three other researchers working with sustainability.

“To sum it up, it was a week filled with extraordinary moments.”

Sanaz Zarabi, Aalto University

“It was truly humbling to share our insights at such a prestigious event. Being among the few selected oral presenters of the Young Scientists Quickfire Pitch session was a thrilling experience!” Sanaz Zarabi says.

The presentation session went so well that it led to the team meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat, and having an interesting discussion with him regarding sustainability.

“To sum it up, it was a week filled with extraordinary moments. The engaging lectures, the insightful panel discussions, and the opportunity to connect with brilliant minds from around the world made this experience truly exceptional”, Sanaz Zarabi concludes.

Sanaz Zarabi from Aalto University (on the right) talks with the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Heng Swee Keat (second from the left) at the Global Young Scientists Summit 2024.

Ahmed Sedda, a doctoral researcher from LUT University shares his highlights from the summit in our video:

Article’s main photo credit: National Research Foundation Singapore.


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