Here is the preliminary jury of Research Pitching Competition

These 12 academic superstars from different fields of research will review and rank the applications of Research Pitching Competition by Slush & Skolar.

Pre-jury 2019

It is time to present the 12 experts who will be the first ones to review the Research Pitching Competition applications! Preliminary jury is the one to outline the scientific quality of the applications and see which applications best match the competition criteria

Members of the preliminary jury represent six different fields of research:  Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Medical and Health Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. Each field is represented by two jury members. This year half of our preliminary jury consists of Skolar finalists from the previous four years of the competition.

Here are the Research Pitching Competition preliminary jury members

Yang Bai, assistant professor of self-sufficient sensor system at University of Oulu. Bai is also an elected committee member of the Institute of Physics (IOP) Energy Group, UK. In 2016, he was awarded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Bai has been an evaluation panelist of the Global Undergraduate Awards in 2019 and is a Skolar alumnus from year 2018. 

Erik Bonsdorff, professor of marine biology at Åbo Akademi. Bonsdorff has an extensive knowledge and background in marine biology and environmental studies. Bonsdorff is an active science communicator and he co-edited the book Itämeren tulevaisuus (The Future of the Baltic Sea), which was a Non-Fiction Finlandia Prize contestant in 2010. He was named professor of the year in 2017. 

Massimiano Bucchi, professor of sociology and science communication at the University of Trento and has been visiting professor in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. He is the author of  several books (published in more than twenty countries) and papers in journals such as Nature and Science. Bucchi has received many awards for his research and publications. His latest work includes a non-fiction book about how to win the Nobel prize. 

Maija Hirvonen, tenure track professor in German Language, Culture and Translation at the Tampere University. She is also conducting and managing research in two different projects: MeMAD (Methods for Managing Audiovisual Data) and MUTABLE (Multimodal Translation with the Blind). Hirvonen is a board member of Young Academy of Finland. She is a Skolar alumnus from year 2016.

Miiri Kotche, clinical professor of bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Kotche is the director of the Medical Accelerator for Devices Laboratory (MAD Lab) which develops healthcare device ideas for commercialization. Recently she has studied medical device design at the Finnish VTT Technical Research Centre.

Joasia Krysa, professor of exhibition research at Liverpool John Moores University, with a joint appointment at Liverpool Biennial. Her research is located across contemporary art, curating and digital culture. Krysa served as part of curatorial team for Documenta 13, co-curated Liverpool Biennial 2016, and is appointed an International Advisor for Helsinki Biennial 2020 and Curatorial Advisor for Sapporo Triennale 2020. She is currently working on a new monograph publication on curating and computation for Routledge.

Katri Kärkkäinen, research professor and research manager of forest genetics at Natural Resources Institute Finland. Her expertise is rooted in forest genetics, population genetics, gene resources and tree breeding. Kärkkäinen has been active in applying genetic research to help alleviate the negative impacts of climate change.

Olli Kärkkäinen, senior researcher in drug toxicology at University of Eastern Finland. He is also a co-founder of Afekta Technologies Ltd., a metabolomics service company. Kärkkäinen does metabolomics research on effects of alcohol use and other exposures for example in pregnant women and young adults. He is a Skolar alumnus from year 2017. 

Ulrike Pfreundt, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Environmental Engineering, ETH Zurich. She is currently investigating microscale biological and biophysical processes to understand how they shape macroscale ocean dynamics such as the biological carbon pump. In 2017 Pfreundt spent a summer in California attending the Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program. Pfreundt is a Skolar alumnus from year 2018. 

Eeva Raita, head of culture advisory at Futurice. Raita is a social psychologist who applies her background in research in a business setting, focusing on working cultures and leadership. Before switching to business world she used to work as a researcher and teacher at University of Helsinki and Aalto University. Raita is a Skolar alumnus from year 2015.

Sebastian Risi, associate professor of digital design at IT University of Copenhagen. Risi is an artificial intelligence researcher and has received numerous best paper awards and recognitions. His research focus areas are computational evolution, deep learning, and crowdsourcing. Risi is also co-director of the Robotics, Evolution and Art Lab (REAL), machine learning consultant at Uber AI Labs as well as co-founder of

Kristine Sahlberg, head of research at Vestre Viken Hospital, Norway. She is focused on genomic and functional analysis of therapeutic targets in breast cancer. Sahlberg is also a the head of Oslo Breast Cancer Research Consortium and Regional Network for Breast Cancer Research. 

Virpi Virjamo, postdoctoral researcher at University of Eastern Finland. Virjamo is a Skolar alumnus and the winner of Research Pitching Competition from year 2016. Virjamo’s winning research idea focused on chasing medicines from boreal forest. Now she is part of a research group that studies plant responses to climate change factors such as elevated UV-B radiation, temperature and CO2.

How does the preliminary jury work?

Each member of the preliminary jury will choose the top five applications from their own field of research. They will rank the applications so that the best one gets 5 points, second best 4 points etc. 

After the preliminary jury, the finalists and winner will be selected by a final jury composed of six academic experts. Get to know our final jury here


Original photo credits:
Eric Bonsdorff: Åbo Akademi
Joasia Krysa: Kim Haugaard
Kristine Sahlberg: Studio E, Norway
Katri Kärkkäinen: Erkki Oksanen, Luke