Econsult from Lauttasaari High School for International Business in Helsinki won the national upper-secondary-level Beyond 2030 Challenge science competition organised by the City of Turku and Bayer. Erika Pajunen's Econsult team's topical work in environmentally friendly urban planning impressed both the jury and the audience. The winner was decided in a close final of five teams in front of a live audience on April Fools' Day. The winning team was awarded with 4,000 euros.

In Econsult's awarded work, outdoor areas and home yards are turned into carbon sinks through a comprehensive land use assessment report. The report clearly indicates whether an outdoor area is a carbon sink or a carbon storage, and it is based on soil tests conducted in connection with the report. The client who ordered the report will also receive clear instructions on how to develop the area. The idea and concept can be utilised by, for example, property management companies, companies specialising in yard design and private landowners. 

- Winning the competition and hearing that others think our work has potential is amazing, says the surprised and happy winner Erika Pajunen from the Econsult team.

The Syöpäleikkuri hTERT Cas9 team won silver with its cancer diagnostics research, and the Älykierrätys team took bronze with its mobile application that facilitates recycling. 

The finalists were Econsult from Lauttasaaren yhteiskoulu (Helsinki), LightDrops from the Eura and Sotkamo upper secondary schools, dQw4w9WgXcQ from the Turun Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu upper secondary school, Syöpäleikkuri hTERT Cas9 from the Kulosaari upper secondary school (Helsinki) and Älykierrätys from the Tulliportin normaalikoulu upper secondary school (Joensuu). The teams were mentored by students from Turku's higher education institutions.

In the final, the teams impressed the jury members with three-minute elevator pitches, after which the jury members presented questions to the finalists. The competition entries were assessed based on their presentation, idea and implementation. 

- Erika Pajunen's entry impressed with its topicality and how ready it was for utilisation. The jury's task was not easy! All in all, we had a magnificent, high-level competition, and the ranking of the entries was difficult, says Mika Hannula, Vice Rector of the University of Turku and Director of TechCampus Turku.  

From an idea to an inspiring competition for young people 

The Beyond 2030 Challenge science competition was born from the shared idea of the City of Turku and Bayer in the spring of 2020. The fruitful collaboration has seen the science competition become nationwide in less than two years. The science competition gives young people a unique opportunity to open-mindedly apply what they have learned in school to their topics of interest, develop working life skills and perform on stage. 

- The teams' impressive presentations underlined their bold ideas. The young contestants did a wonderful job in seeking inspiration from their daily lives and even from rarer topics, such as challenges in recycling and light pollution, says the impressed Mayor of Turku Minna Arve

- The fields of science, research and technology need skilled professionals and creative innovations to solve the world's greatest challenges now and in the future. That is why it has been enormously inspiring to follow the development of the teams’ impressive and convincing ideas throughout the competition. These young people will certainly be heard of again, says Kati Nyman, Head of Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability at Bayer Nordic. 

The winning team was awarded with 4,000 euros. The teams that came in second and third were awarded €2,000 and €1,000. The sponsors of the competition also awarded finalists and semi-finalists with product and experience prizes.