The Jury

The first review of Research Pitching Competition by Slush and Skolar applications is done by a preliminary jury, which is composed of twelve experts from different scientific fields. After the first round of reviews, the eight finalists will be selected by a final jury of six scientific experts. Check out who's in the jury from below.

Final jury 2019

These world-known academics and science communicators select the eight finalists and the final winner at Slush on Nov 22nd 2019.


Sandra Jernström

Postdoc researcher at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. Jernström is a cancer researcher and the winner of Research Pitching Competition 2018. Sandra will be substituting Gianni Angelini in the finale at Slush.



Professor of cosmology who recently retired from the University of Helsinki. He is one of the most famous science communicators in Finland and has written several books popularizing natural science. Enqvist is also a regular guest in TV-shows and panels, explaining science understandably to all audiences. Enqvist has carried out research on cosmology in several organisations, for example CERN, Geneva.




Professor of gamification and the leader of the Gamification Group at Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University. Dr. Hamari’s and his research group’s research covers several research areas where technology, economics, psychology and games meet such as gamification, mixed reality, electronic sports, sharing economy, crowdsourcing and virtual economies. His research has been featured on the lists of most notable articles in computer science by the ACM and IEEE and he has received several awards for the prodigiousness of his scholarly productivity and quality. For example, he has been named “Young Researcher of The Year” by the Finnish Foundation for Technology Promotion.



Associate professor in the Research Laboratory for Art and Technology, Department of Communication & Psychology at Aalborg University, Denmark. Jochum is the Co-Founder of Robots, Art, People & Performance (RAPP) Lab and the Robot Culture and Aesthetics (ROCA) research group, and a member of Aalborg U Robotics. She is a Topics Editor for Frontiers In The Art of Human-Robot Interaction: Creative Perspectives from Design and the Arts, and serves on the editorial board of Global Performance Studies. Dr. Jochum is a faculty member of the ERASMUS European Masters of Excellence Program in Media Arts Cultures. In 2019 she was named teacher of the year at the Faculty of Humanities at AAU.



Professor of cardiac surgery at the British Heart Foundation and director of the Bristol Heart Institute, and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Over the last twenty years Angelini has been at the forefront of the cardiac surgery community worldwide. Angelini’s main research interests are in the area of saphenous vein bypass graft failure, myocardial protection, blood conservation, coronary artery bypass surgery on the beating heart and arterial revascularisation. 


Helena Kahiluoto

Professor of sustainability science at Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT and she was in fact the first professor in sustainability science in Finland. She is working with solutions enabling sustainability transformations with a focus on resilience, fairness and circular economy from local to global scales. She leads, for example, research on leverages to future sustainable food systems and on fair incentives to citizens’ mobility transitions. Kahiluoto has led scientific papers in publications such as PNAS, Environmental Research Letters, Nature Climate Change, Global Food Security.



Professor and chair of sustainable manufacturing at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Sweden. His research work has won numerous Best Paper Awards and he is also an eight-time winner of NRC Institute Awards. Wang is also the chairman of Swedish Production Academy. His research interests are presently focused on real-time monitoring and control, human-robot collaboration, distributed process planning, cloud manufacturing, cyber-physical and sustainable production systems.

Original photo credits:
Gianni Angelini: Blue Steel GDA
Kari Enqvist: Maija Enqvist
Juho Hamari: Annette Mueck
Helena Kahiluoto: Juho Salminen

Preliminary jury 2019

These 12 academic superstars from six different fields of research (Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Medical and Health Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences) reviewed and ranked the Research Pitching Competition 2019 applications.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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. 




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.



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.



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.



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



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. 



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.

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

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“Research Pitching Competition opened my eyes once again to the fact that there’s far more to the world than just university lecture halls.”

Tommi Himberg, Research Pitching Competition 2017 finalist