Aerosol Research Fund Award to Professor Tuukka Petäjä

Professor Tuukka Petäjä has been awarded a commendation worth €20,000 by the Aerosol Research Fund for his merits in the service of Finnish aerosol research. The Fund's commendation to a junior researcher has been awarded to Panu Karjalainen.

The Aerosol Research Fund handed out the 2022 commendations during the ACCC Flagship conference in Tampere on 21 November 2022.

Professor Tuukka Petäjä was awarded the commendation, worth €20,000, by the Aerosol Research Fund for his merits in the service of Finnish aerosol research. 

Tuukka Petäjä is a physics professor specialising in experimental atmosphere research at the University of Helsinki. Petäjä is vice-director at the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research INAR, in charge of research infrastructures and the research into aerosols. Petäjä has been the director of the Värriö research station of the University of Helsinki and the Station for Measuring Ecosystems-Atmosphgere Relations (SMEAR) now located in Hyytiälä. Further, he is the scientific director of the Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX) and the PI for several research projects funded by the European Union.

Petäjä is merited as one of the developers of the European research infrastructure of his field. He has headed the work in Finland of the ACTRIS research infrastructure – focused on observing fine particles, particle gases, and clouds – and international research collaborations during the past years. Presently, the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ACTRIS ERIC) is commencing its work in Helsinki, at the Kumpula campus. Placing the headquarters of ACTRIS ERIC in Finland is an indication that Finland has a leading role in international aerosol research and acts to promote all Finnish aerosol research.

For many years, Petäjä has been listed on the ISI highly cited scientist list for international scientist ranking. To be listed, researchers must have a long history of impacting the research in their field and having their peer-reviewed publications ranking among the best 1 % in their field.

Tuukka Petäjä has promoted Finnish aerosol research by developing the ACTRIS community and by working to integrate the observation sets of different research infrastructures, especially for reaching an understanding of the processes affecting aerosol particle content in the atmosphere. This has brought visibility, attention, and funding to the Finnish community both nationally, on a European scale, and globally.

– The maintenance and development of long-term and commensurate measurements are vital for monitoring such things as climate change and air quality. We need reliable and extensive measurements to support science-based decision-making, It is especially the development and integration of observations that demands open collaboration across disciplines, says Petäjä.

First Aerosol Research Fund commendation to a junior scientist to Dr (Tech.) Panu Karjalainen

Panu Karjalainen has been awarded the commendation to a junior scientist by the Aerosol Research Fund for his ground-breaking post-doc research into particle emissions and measurement methods. The commendation is worth €5,000.

Karjalainen defended his doctoral thesis at Tampere University of Technology in 2014. He has a period as an Academy of Finland post-doctoral researcher (2019-2022) at the University of Tampere behind him. Currently, he is working as a Senior Research Fellow in the research collegium Tampere Institute for Advanced Study and at the Aerosol physics laboratory. He has also worked as visiting researcher at MAN Truck & Bus AG, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and the University of Lund.

Karjalainen's research studies the aerosol emissions of traffic and engines. He is especially interested in emission components and sources that remain unregulated. Karjalainen has been innovative in his participation in developing new, experimental methods, as well as publishing e.g. the first time-resolved measurement of the formation potential of secondary aerosols of car emissions. Karjalainen has been successful in his work at the interface between aerosol research and industry, studying e.g. the effect of various technological solutions on reducing emissions.

– Finland has world-class knowledge in the field of emission-measuring methods, developing low-emission technologies, and monitoring of air quality. It is great to be able to carry out research that may have an impact on both science and society, says Karjalainen.

The aerosol research fund supports and promotes research and education in the aerosol field. As a part of its remit, the fund hands out commendations for merited researchers and junior researchers. The commendation for merited researchers is geared towards scientists around midway in their careers, with merits in the field of aerosol research, education and/or technology.   The criteria for awarding the commendation also include the promotion of the aerosol field in Finland, as well as proof of scientific leadership. The commendation for junior researchers, which was now awarded for the first time, is directed at younger scientists who have made fast progress, gained merits in the field of aerosol research, education and/or technology, as well as proved to be creative, original, and independent as researchers.