Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry: prizes for achievements in teaching, research and influencing in 2021 awarded

The prize for achievements in teaching was presented to the OMPPU group, the prize for research achievements to Professor Marko Virta and the Influencer of the Year prize to Doctoral Researcher Lotta Kaila. 

The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry has awarded the annual prizes for achievements in teaching, research and influencing in 2021. 

The prize for achievements in teaching was presented to the OMPPU group, which piloted general upper secondary school collaboration through the OMPPU short course. On the course, general upper secondary school students had the opportunity to learn in practice about the chemistry, technology and sensory quality of food. 

In addition to University Lecturers Anna-Maija Lampi, Susanna KariluotoMari Lehtonenand Kirsi Jouppila and Professor Mari Sandell the OMPPU group includes other teachers and teaching assistants from the Department of Food and Nutrition. 

The award committee justified its choice by noting that the course is a prime example of innovating novel education options and successfully trialling new teaching methods. The success of the course has required collaboration both within the department as well as across institutional boundaries and levels.  

Faculty students have also been involved in the implementation of teaching, providing them with new learning experiences as well. Based on feedback, the course has been a success from the perspectives of general upper secondary school students, their teachers and teaching assistants alike. 

Research Achievement of the Year prize to Professor Marko Virta 

The Committee awarded the prize to Marko Virta unanimously. Marko Virta had an elemental role in building the Antimicrobial Resistance Research (AMR) consortium and in applying for the Academy of Finland Center of Excellence (CoE) funding. 

Receiving CoE funding as a coordinator is an excellent academic achievement. AMR-CoE has a novel expertise area that is expected to have a significant scientific and societal impact. The AMR-CoE will have a great significance for the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. 

Lotta Kaila named Influencer of the Year  

The Influencer of the Year prize was awarded to Doctoral Researcher Lotta Kaila, MSc (Agr&For). Kaila is conducting doctoral research at the University of Helsinki on the effects of plant protection products on pollinating insects.  

Alongside her research, she has significantly contributed to enhancing the societal impact of research. Kaila has had a strong role in highlighting her research topic in public discussion, in which she participates as a mediator of research-based knowledge. 

The justifications for granting the award state that Kaila employs an active communicative approach and that she has systematically worked to increase her visibility in the media and social media. Kaila's primary channel for public communication is Twitter, where she is an active communicator and debater. Her informative and engaging texts, images and videos, which have been put together in an interesting and understandable manner, familiarise people with science and research, ecosystem services and sustainable food production. Besides Twitter, Kaila has talked about her research topic on television and written popular blog entries. 

The award committee also commends Kaila for illustrating the everyday work of researchers to a wider audience. Among other things, Kaila has used videos to describe how research is conducted, which serves to promote the openness of science and research.