Seven teams have been selected for the final stage of the science competition Helsinki Challenge intended to develop new solutions for the challenges of our changing world. Helsinki Challenge involves Finnish universities in multidisciplinary cooperation to benefit the rest of the world. The competition themes – people in change, a sustainable planet and urban future – link to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

The international jury has selected six teams from among the 20 semifinalist teams to continue on to the Helsinki Challenge finals. In addition, one research team was selected by the audience at the Helsinki Challenge Semifinal Pitch Nights in early June. CICERO Learning is represented in two of the finalist teams: Dlearn.Helsinki which hopes to teach global skills in new way and Parental Box focusing on the mental wellbeing of new parents.

Team Dlearn.Helsinki wants to develop pedagogical tools and practices for schools that struggle with educating their students in a globalising world. In our rapidly changing world, young people need problem-solving and cooperation skills which do not feature sufficiently in the current school system. Dlearn.Helsinki is creating practical pedagogical tools which will help students learn and evaluate their own future skills.

Team Parental Box wants to update the Finnish maternity box and to offer accessible help to promote mental health and coping among families with young children.  The mental maternity box is important because mental health problems are increasing despite material wealth, and an increasing number of children are at risk of marginalisation. The team wants to offer simple, practical tips and collect research data on Finnish families. The goal is to donate a mental parental box to every family with children in the world.

Other finalists are ELMO which battles malaria with a three-dimensional mosquito net, HeatStock with a new solution for storing summer heat for the winter, POCKit which is a laboratory you can put in your pocket, the iCombine database which would enable personalised cancer treatments as well and FutuRena which hopes to 3D print a working miniature kidney.

The teams selected for the Helsinki Challenge feature more than 70 researchers and experts from Finnish universities, companies, organisations and public bodies.

The jury selected the finalist teams based on their scientific basis, their focus on finding a solution, as well as their impact, novelty and creativity. The chair of the jury is Tuija Talvitie, executive director at the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI).

 “We in the jury found it very difficult to select the teams for the final. We examined the impact of the proposed ideas from the perspective of global changes and considered how they could develop from scientific ideas to global solutions for sustainable development,” says Talvitie.

The jury selects one or more winning teams and announces its decision in November 2017. The prize is a sum of €375,000, intended to realise the team’s solution, which may be a new discipline, an idea with business potential, a new company or groundbreaking research.

You can read more about Helsinki Challenge here.