PhD Tiina Sikanen
Every year the Academy of Finland presents the Award for Scientific Courage to an outstanding and distinguished researcher. Dr Tiina Sikanen, currently based at the University of Helsinki, was presented with the prize at an award ceremony in February. She received it for creatively combining several different scientific disciplines in her work, such as microfluidics, bioanalysis and nanotechnology.
Dr Sikanen, who is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow, works on the development of new microchip biotechnology, for example for the purpose of screening drugs. Her devices are polymer-based, low-cost and can be produced on demand. Application-wise, she is particularly interested in the interactions between drugs and environmental pollutants.
She has been based at the University of Helsinki for most of her career. In 2007, she gained her PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry there before continuing as a postdoctoral researcher. During her postdoc, she gained a second master’s degree from Aalto University, this time in chemical engineering. In 2012 she was able to set up her own research group after winning a starting grant from the European Research Council. Dr Sikanen is currently leading on a series of grants worth over €2.5 million, and since 2015 she has been the coordinator of an initiative on sustainability in pharmaceutical sciences called Generation Green.
The prize, one of two presented annually by the Academy of Finland, is given to a researcher who has shown exceptional scientific audacity, creativity or innovation in research. “In my own field, the introduction of new technologies and the combination of methodological skills help in the discovery of new knowledge,” Dr Sikanen said in a press release, “Scientific courage is needed to break away from the mainstream, which is essential for the renewal of science.”
The other prize, the Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact, was awarded to Dr Emilia Korkea-aho, who researches lobbyism.(© AcademiaNet)