Special Recognitions

World Cultural Council grants special acknowledgements to eight people from the University of Helsinki who have achieved outstanding performance in the fields of science and education.
Maxime Grandin

The research of space physicist Maxime Grandin is geared towards improving our understanding of the connections between particles in the magnetosphere and the polar ionosphere with the help of high-class simulations and observations. He made crucial contributions to the discovery of dune auroras with the help of citizen science. Grandin carried out his doctoral studies at Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory and at Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (Toulouse, France). He completed his doctorate at the universities of Oulu and Toulouse in 2017, and since 2018, he has worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki.

Riikka Hohti

Dr. Riikka Hohti’s research pushes the educational sciences to rediscover its core both theoretically and methodologically. Hohti’s work, starting from her dissertation studies in 2016, has called attention to how we think and talk about children, adults, and education and study their entangled formations in ways that help us think with and solve global crises in the current environmental emergency. This makes Hohti’s work both timely and highly relevant locally, nationally, and globally. Her current research projects, such as ‘Children of the Anthropocene’, examine shifting nature-culture relations and atmospheres, and advance attentiveness towards multispecies relations in society.

Juha Kangasluoma

Docent Juha Kangasluoma has specialised in research on aerosol measurements and related physical-chemical phenomena. Kangasluoma defended his doctoral thesis in aerosol physics at the University of Helsinki in 2015, and has subsequently worked e.g. as an R&D scientist at Karsa Oy and as visiting researcher in the Beijing University of Chemical Technology as a visiting scientist for establishing an atmospheric research station in Beijing, besides working at the University of Helsinki. With his research group at the University of Helsinki, Kangasluoma has developed measurement methodologies in his field, such as aerosol number and size distribution instruments, and cluster synthesis and characterization methods, as well as cooperating with instrument manufacturers.

Sonja Laine

Sonja Laine, PhD, is currently a university lecturer at the Department of Education, University of Helsinki. She was previously a lecturer at the University’s Viikki Teacher Training School. Laine’s success in combining research and the practice of teaching and guidance is exemplary. She collaborated with the school pedagogy research group to conduct an intervention program that aimed to develop primary school students’ mindsets about learning. In 2020 the Nordic Mensa Fund presented Laine with its Article of the Year award. In her doctoral thesis, approved with the grade of pass with distinction, Sonja Laine examined Finnish class teachers’ perspectives on gifted education. She represents Finland in two international organisations that provides advocacy and support for gifted and gifted education (ECHA and WCGTC).

Katrianne Lehtipalo

In her research, physicist Katrianne Lehtipalo focuses on measuring aerosol nanoparticles and the formation processes of particles in the atmosphere. Lehtipalo defended her thesis on aerosol physics at the University of Helsinki in 2011, and then worked as post-doc researcher at the University of Helsinki and as visiting researcher at the Paul Scherrer institute in Switzerland.  Since 2018, Lehtipalo has worked as associate professor and since 2023 as professor at INAR at the University of Helsinki and at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Lehtipalo has received honours such as the Vaisala Prize of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters in 2022.

Katariina Mertanen

Katariina Mertanen, PhD, applies research on education and youth policy, sociology, digitalisation, changing governance and social justice to examine ambitious issues, such as the future of the education system and the role of education in building a socially sustainable future. In her doctoral thesis approved in 2020 at the University of Helsinki, Mertanen explored youth policies, education and guidance aimed at preventing the social exclusion and marginalisation of young people. She currently holds a fixed-term university lectureship at the University of Helsinki.

Antti Rajala

Dr. Antti Rajala’s current work on utopias in education broadens the scope of research on learning and instruction beyond its conventional topics. Rajala’s work exemplifies across-discipline collaboration and devotement to renewing the field of learning and instruction in ways that make it fitter to address current societal issues via rigorous educational research. Rajala’s work focuses on designing research-based participatory pedagogical approaches which involve multiple different stakeholders and which focus on pressing societal issues. Antti Rajala is currently Senior Research Fellow at the University of Eastern Finland and Docent at the University of Helsinki.

Laura Riuttanen

University Lecturer in atmosphere sciences, Laura Riuttanen, PhD, is the INAR coordinator of Climate University, a national university network for education in climate and sustainability. She has participated in developing and teaching many popular online climate and sustainability courses, such as Ilmasto.nyt and Leadership for sustainable change, and establishing the European network for climate teaching, Climademy, and a new specialist training programme for climate experts. She is a meteorologist and studied the effects of air pollutants on the climate in her doctoral research. Today, she is the head of a research group in climate competence at the University of Helsinki.