“More than a gala dinner”

Young Researchers meeting senior colleagues

Impressive and inspiring.
The participants in the Young Researchers’ Program during the Marcus Wallenberg Prize event were satisfied with the four days in Stockholm, Sweden.

Every third participant in the Young Researchers’ Program 23-26 September 2018 came from Finland. One of them was Antti-Jussi Kieloaho, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke, Helsinki.

Luke has a funding for two people to go to Stockholm to the Marcus Wallenberg Prize event. Antti-Jussi Kieloaho and Kersti Haahti were both encouraged by their research professor to apply.

–At our institute it is a kind of an honour to be selected to take part in the program. Somebody has been following our research and suggested us, and we were also pleased to be admitted by the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, Antti-Jussi Kieloaho says.

Busy poster session
Simone Haslinger at Aalto University, Espoo, was told by her supervisor to apply.

–The program has a good reputation at our institute. Everybody wants to come here at a certain time of the career. It is said to be a great experience, Simone Haslinger tells.

She had however heard very little about the design of the program. The information from her predecessor focused more on the prize ceremony and banquet with the king and queen.

Simone Haslinger has presented posters at conferences, where very few paid any attention to her project.
–Once I ended up hunting people. “Are you interested in my poster?” she recalls.

The situation was totally different at the poster session during the Prize Symposium. Simone Haslinger had a little queue of senior colleagues and business representatives wanting to know more about her research on finding a method of recycling textile waste.

–The questions I had were at first more general and also more personal than at other conferences. Then they got into details, she explains.

Antti-Jussi Kieloaho had the same experience.
–At a scientific conference it is normal that very few people care about the posters. They ask the same kind of questions and tend to be very technical. Here the interest showed a broader perspective and also from a business point of view, Antti-Jussi Kieloaho says.

Good for a career in academia
In addition to the poster session all the young researchers had to give a three-minute presentation to a jury of senior researchers. The performances were evaluated in a group discussion.

Antti-Jussi Kieloaho thinks it was good for the interaction in the group.
–At conferences you are too shy to talk to people you don’t know. Since we worked together during this program we started talking to each other, he says.

Jatin Sethi, the university of Oulu, Uleåborg, was also impressed with the program.

–It is inspiring to meet the professors from around the world and connect with them. It is a great opportunity for young researchers like me, who are looking for a career in academia, Jatin Sethi says.

Simone Haslinger also considers the program to be better than an average conference.
–It gives you a chance to improve yourself. It is so much more than the dinner with the king and the queen, she says.

Eleven participants from Finland
The Young Researchers’ Program is an annual arrangement with workshops, lectures, guided tours and a symposium in honour of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize Laureate. The idea is to stimulate collaboration, inspire research and create networking opportunities.

This year 31 participants from five countries were invited.

Eleven PhDs or postdocs from Finland were sponsored by the Forest Products Engineers, the Jaakko Pöyry Foundation, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke.