Shortening the gap between academic research and practical applications

This autumn Slush, the biggest startup event in the Nordics, brought together the leading actors of the scene to Helsinki. This year, over 2300 startups, 1100 venture capitalists, and 600 journalists from over 120 countries attended Slush to drive business.

Besides startups, a special science award was granted in the event by Skolar. It is a school for researchers created by researchers, aiming to teach researchers to communicate their science in an interesting and more effective way. The Skolar Award was described as being “a research grant for a post-doc researcher who comes up with a new, groundbreaking research proposal and has the spirit to test that idea on the pitching stage”.

Winner of the grant of 100 000 euros went to Virpi Virjamo from the University of Eastern Finland. She aims to develop novel antibiotics from spruce and pine alkaloids, to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria.

This Skolar Award is a good example of efforts aiming at shortening the gap between academic research and practical applications and encouraging scientists to communicate their results beyond the traditional platforms. This is exactly what we are aiming for in our project funded by Academy of Finland. We are applying our photobiological knowledge by measuring irradiances and applying site-specific solar radiation modelling in order to optimise light utilization and control in controlled environment agriculture.

By now I have done light measurements in greenhouses and polytunnels (tomato, lettuce, ornamental plants) in Finland and in England. In January I will visit a cucumber greenhouse in Finland and some greenhouses in the Netherlands. And in 2017 I will spend some months at the North Carolina State University in USA for yet more visits and measurements in varying light environments!

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