The winning team of the Beyond 2030 Challenge science competition organised by the City of Turku and Bayer Nordic is Voittamattomat (“the Invincibles”) from Turun Suomalaisen Yhteiskoulun lukio (Turun Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu Upper Secondary School). The winners were awarded in the award gala organised on 14 January.

The ambitious goal of the competition was to use means of technology and science to develop solutions that would save the planet and man. The competition encouraged upper secondary schools in Southwest Finland to immerse themselves in the world of science and technology and to discover the various study and career opportunities in these fields.

– The Beyond 2030 Challenge science competition offered students a unique opportunity to get to know and immerse themselves in technology and interdisciplinary action through innovations. It is great that the science competition inspired adolescents both from upper secondary schools and vocational education institutions. I hope that the competition encourages the participants to proceed to working life in the field of technology in the future, says Mayor of Turku Minna Arve.

– We at Bayer believe that science is the key to a sustainable future. I am therefore delighted that the Beyond 2030 Challenge science competition inspired many talented adolescents to innovate creative solutions for a more sustainable tomorrow. Securing professional and highly qualified work force is critical for the vitality of local business.  I hope that the path marked by this competition will guide more and more adolescents towards the wonderful world of science and technology and the versatile career options it offers. The fact that the competition has been well received also demonstrates the power of collaboration. I would like to see continuation for this initiative, uniting various local operators also in the future, says CEO of Bayer Miriam Holstein.

A total of 41 teams submitted their entry for the science competition. Themes of the entries that made it to top ten include, for instance, different kinds of apps, games, devices developed for reducing plastic on land and at sea and a device designed for health care that measures pathogens in exhaled air.  

– We need these kinds of measures on a local and national level to highlight science expertise and the need for it and to get more talented and capable future-makers in this country, says Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko.

Digital leap used in solutions of the top three teams from Turku and Halikko

The jury with representatives of the City of Turku, Bayer Nordic, business sponsors and higher education institutions chose the winner from among all the innovative inventions. The winning team is Voittamattomat (“the Invincibles”) from Turun Suomalaisen Yhteiskoulun lukio (Turun Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu Upper Secondary School). They designed an app against noise for city residents who can use it to avoid becoming exposed to noise that has adverse effects on health. The app has already been taken into use and was praised particularly for innovativeness, use of technology and an extensive plan for implementation.

The second-best entry was a peer support network for adolescents based on anonymity. The network, invented by team FoM (also known as Frame of Mind) from Kerttulin lukio (Kerttuli Upper Secondary School), operates online and on Instagram and Discord apps. The low-threshold service has been taken into use and adolescents have actively participated in the operating of the network. The jury praised the team for highlighting communality and for selecting a current and important topic.

The third-best team was Ideonella Sakaiensis from Halikon lukio (Halikko Upper Secondary School). The idea of the team was to create an energy-efficient plastic-degrading station that operates independently at sea and reduces plastic waste.  The process of degrading plastic would make use of a plastic-degrading enzyme produced by the bacteria Ideonella sakaiensis. The team was praised by the jury particularly for courage, an interdisciplinary and technological approach and innovativeness.

– There was plenty of variety among the competition entries. The submitted entries reflected issues that are important to young people and occupy them. Some entries had already been taken to the prototype level. We hope that as many as possible of those who participated will have an opportunity to study the substance and skills needed to face the challenges that formed the competition theme and are relevant for the environment as well as man, says Vice Rector Mika Hannula from the University of Turku, chair of the competition jury.

The bar was high and the competition was even in the first ever Beyond 2030 Challenge. The science competition united local adolescents, public administration, businesses and higher education institutions, succeeding in the goal of increasing and developing collaboration between those involved. Organising this unique science competition in Finland for the first time was a joint effort of public administration, the education sector and private businesses. In addition to the City of Turku and Bayer, the competition was financially supported by Turku Energia Oy, Raisio Oyj and NGS Finland Oy. 

Jury of the competition

Vice Rector Mika Hannula (TechCampus Turku, University of Turku, chair of jury)
Professor Patrik Henelius (Åbo Akademi)
Director of Education Juha Kontio (Turku University of Applied Sciences)
Principal Päivi Lehtinen (Turku Vocational Institute, City of Turku)
Service Area Director Esko Heikkonen (upper secondary education, City of Turku)
Head of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Development Marketta Häkkänen (Bayer Nordic)
Corporate Responsibility Manager Katri Järvinen-Wilén (Raisio Oyj)
CEO Timo Honkanen (Turku Energia Oy)
CEO Miikka Evesti (NGS Finland Oy)