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From Microalgae to Satellite Connectivity – Doctoral Researchers Pitch Their Most Innovative Ideas in Millennium Graduate Student Contest

Pitching Contest Awardees

Based on the online pre-selection round, the jury of Millennium Graduate Student Contest 2022 has decided on the candidates to continue into the contest’s Grand Final, to be held on 26 October. Each of the five finalists has three minutes on stage to present their innovative, technological solution to a problem that contemporary society is facing.

Sanaz Zarabi Golkhatmi is a Doctoral Researcher of Applied Physics in Aalto University. Her project is inkjet printing, which allows us to produce high-performance batteries with electrodes that require much less active material, such as lithium, while tripling the batteries’ performance and producing zero waste. Such batteries would improve energy storage and could become a significant step towards renewable energy.

Giovanni Misitano, representing the University of Jyväskylä, is a Doctoral Student working with the Multiobjective Optimization Group of the university’s Faculty of Information Technology. His work focuses on developing explainable optimization tools to help people make the best possible decisions in a world of conflicting objectives and complicated trade-offs.

Muhammad Asad Ullah works as a Doctoral Scientific Researcher at the University of Oulu Centre for Wireless Communications. His pitch deals with a way to combat the digital divide that currently leaves 90% of the Earth’s surface – and more than 3 billion people – without wireless communications coverage. By connecting low-power IoT devices directly to satellites, connectivity can be increased at low cost and with a much smaller environmental impact than by expanding terrestrial networks.

Elisa Werner is a Doctoral Researcher of Molecular Plant Biology at the University of Turku. Her work on the Anabaena microalgae aims to create a bioproduction platform that is capable of simultaneously performing reductive biotransformations as well as produce hydrogen in unique microoxic cells. Biohydrogen production has so far been hampered by the oxygen-sensitivity of the process and Anabaena could provide an innovative solution to that.

Ville Rissanen, representing VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, also works with microalgae. He is developing a way to make algae cell factories more cost-efficient by using nanocellulose matrices. Solving the cost bottleneck could revolutionize the algae biotechnology sector and help us unlock the untapped potential of microalgae.

To hear the full pitches, watch the stream of the contest Grand Final on 26 October, starting at 11:20 (EEST).

Millennium Graduate Student Contest is organized by Technology Academy Finland as a part of Millennium Innovation Forum. Encouragement grants for the top three participants are generously supported by Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Nokia Foundation, and Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland. The participants are doctoral students, representing the Millennium Technology Prize partners and collaborators.

More about the contest

Partners of the Millennium Technology Prize