Watch the final pitches of 2018

Here are the eight powerful research pitches from last year's finalists, presented at Slush on December 5th 2018. Their ideas range from saving coral reefs to studying the identities of young people. The winner Sandra Jernström was awarded 100,000 euros to carry out her research.

Elina Marttinen from the Univerity of Helsinki and the University of Jyväskylä wants to explore the factors affecting young people’s identity building. Marttinen wants to research the formation of youth identity and find out why the youngsters in Finland are so lost.

Joosu Kuivanen from VTT Technological Research Centre of Finland wants to tackle the plastic problem in the world. His research idea is about exploring the microbes that degrade plastic so that it could be used as a protein source. At the core of the idea is a bioprocess, which converts plastics into protein.

Sandra Jernström from Karolinska Institute strives to find a new kind of treatment to cancer by analyzing not just the type of cancer but the composition of the tumor. That way patients could get more personalized treatment and faster results.

Yang Bai from the University of Oulu aims to create a multi-functional material that can turn any renewable energy such as solar energy as well as thermal energy and kinetic energy into electricity. This could be much more advanced and efficient than any other single-functional energy generator, such as solar panels.

Ville Pihlajaniemi from VTT Technological Research Centre of Finland thinks cellulosic sugar could be one solution to the food crisis our planet is inevitably facing in the future. Pihlajaniemi’s team aims to make wood cellulose digestible for humans and test its nutritional potential.

Amber Geurts from Aalto University sees that the conversation around AI is limited and we need more varied perspectives. Amber wants to bring computer scientists and graphic designers together to create an understanding of how an emerging technology is constructed, shaped and understood in real-time to inform public discourse.

Ulrike Pfreundt from ETH Zürich wants to 3D print coral reefs to support the coral reef ecosystems. Her research idea is to create artificial reef structures by 3D printing and that way find out which aspects of the surface structure are necessary for the coral reef to grow. Pfreundt’s idea bridges digital architecture and marine ecosystem restoration.

Foivos Perakis from Stockholm University combines investigations of water both on molecular and societal level in his research idea. Perakis wants to find out if cryo-desalination, separating water and salt by freezing, could be a potential way to ensure clean and safe water in the Nordics.

Read more about the winner Sandra Jernström here.