The Academy of Finland has presented the 2020 Award for Social Impact to atmospheric particle researcher Mikko Sipilä (b. 1978). Sipilä is one of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists, and with his research team he was the first to report a direct experimental observation of the particle formation mechanism outside the laboratory.
Sipilä’s research has considerable social impact, and the results of his research have been put to use in a wide variety of ways, for instance by developing measurement equipment.
– I want my work to help humankind solve its major problems, such as climate change and species extinction. I hope that my work on atmospheric research, mainly on particulates and various vapours in the atmosphere, will at least partly produce significant knowledge to help understand the causes and consequences of global change and contribute to solving the problems, Sipilä says.
“Let research run its full course to make the most of it”
Sipilä is highly experienced and skilled in field observations and has also led many measurement campaigns. In recent years, measurements have been carried out at the particularly challenging research stations in the Antarctic and Arctic regions.
Studying the first steps of atmospheric particle formation is challenging in terms of measurement technology, and the development of measurement techniques is a consistent feature of Sipilä’s work. Sipilä is a leading developer of measurement equipment in his field and he has participated, among other things, in establishing three spin-off companies producing services and measurement equipment. One of his companies focuses on improving civil aviation safety.
– It’s a good idea to let research run its full course to make the most of its opportunities. It can bring us a better environment, increased security or new jobs, Sipilä says.
Mikko Sipilä obtained a PhD in physics at the University of Helsinki in 2010. He received Academy Research Fellow funding in 2016. He currently works as Associate Professor at the University of Helsinki. Sipilä leads a research team and, since 2020, heads the University of Helsinki’s Värriö Sub-Arctic Research Station in Salla. Sipilä was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2017.
The Academy of Finland Award for Social Impact is granted to a researcher who has significantly contributed to increasing public awareness of scientific research or the researcher’s job, inspired interest in science, actively contributed to public debate in society, or otherwise strengthened the role, application and impact of science and research in society. The Academy also granted the Award for Scientific Courage to researcher of housing market and urban economics Teemu Lyytikäinen (b. 1977).