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TUT researchers among Helsinki Challenge finalists

Seven teams have made it into the finals of the Helsinki Challenge science competition. One of them, Team ELMO, features researchers Markku Honkala and Tomi Hakala from Tampere University of Technology Team ELMO fights against malaria with a three-dimensional mosquito net.

“This place in the finals tells us that this is an important theme and that we have done our work well, at least so far,” says Markku Honkala.

Team ELMO combats malaria with new kinds of mosquito traps. They are also aiming to develop a new vaccine for diseases spread by mosquitoes. The vaccine is being developed by the University of Helsinki.

“I cannot give many details on the mosquito trap just yet, but its principle is that it allows a mosquito to enter through the first net, but it does not allow it to continue through the second net or exit back through the first net. This would act as a so-called double screen mosquito trap when installed in, say, the window openings of houses,” Honkala explains.

TUT’s responsibilities have included the development of the one-way net structure. TUT has also worked on the materials and processibility of the trap. During the project, these TUT-developed mosquito trap prototypes have undergone testing at the University of Helsinki’s mosquito tunnel and field testing in Africa.

To Brussels in September

In September, the finalists will travel to Brussels to take part in the Global Impact Camp. The aim of this camp is to promote awareness of Finnish research, instruct teams in applying for EU funding, and create deeper connections with societal decision-makers.

“It is important that as many people as possible are aware of our concept. This would help us get the support we need to bring these concepts to reality,” says Honkala.

The Helsinki Challenge competition brings Finnish universities together for interdisciplinary collaboration projects for the benefit of the whole world. The competition themes – people in change, a sustainable planet, and urban future – link to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The jury selected the finalist teams based on their scientific basis and their focus on finding a solution as well as their impact, novelty, and creativity. The jury selects one or more winning teams and announces its decision in November 2017.  The prize is a sum of €375,000, intended to realise the winning team’s solution.

Seven Helsinki Challenge finalists offer groundbreaking solutions for UN’s sustainable development goals

Meet the finalist ELMO

News submitted by: Riku Haapaniemi
Keywords: science and research, services and collaboration, image and communications, helsinki challenge, materials science