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DSII doctoral student wins the third prize on The Millennium Pitching Contest

Samu-Pekka Ojanen won the third prize in the Millenium Pitching Contest. He is proud of his success and he thinks it was of great help learning to pitch one's research data.


Samu-Pekka Ojanen was pleasantly surprised for his success in The Millennium Pitching Contest. Photo: Nea Alanen

The Millenium Pitching Contest was organized first time this year. It is a pitching contest for young doctoral students studying in Finnish universities. Dozens of competitors applied to get selected in the final.


DSII doctoral student Samu-Pekka Ojanen, 27, had the honors to participate in the final with four other young researchers from different universities around Finland.


Ojanen is doing his doctoral dissertation in collaboration with Tampere University and Vaisala. He is in his third year of studying. Ojanen’s research subject is silicon photonics-enabled multi-wavelength gas sensors. He combined his research idea with a more universal subject and so his pitching was done with the title “Integrated gas sensor network for real-time monitoring of air pollutants”.


“I didn’t expect to get chosen as one of the three best competitors, so it was a great surprise”, Ojanen tells.

Vaisala was of great help. The company arranged a professional cameraman to shoot the video that was sent in the pre-selection round of the contest.


“Vaisala was also happy for my success. It is the many years of strong collaborative work between our research group, ORC, the silicon photonics group at VTT, and Vaisala, made this pitching possible."


"This collaboration has resulted in four EU projects and Business Finland projects, which have not only supported my doctoral research, but also brought the maturity of this technology to the level that is appealing for applications. I really emphasize the importance of collaboration between research organizations and companies. It’s very enriching.”


So Ojanen was qualified with four other doctoral students. They shoot their final pitching videos in the grand final in Vantaa. He wants to encourage other doctoral students to apply in the pitching contest too.


“You don’t lose anything by applying, and you never know what happens. Your pitching might be surprisingly successful!”


The Millennium Pitching Contest participants represented the Millennium Technology Prize partners, the partnering universities, VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland) and the Millennium Innovation Forum event partners. The contest was organized by Technology Academy Finland as part of the Millennium Innovation Forum 2021 programme.


Read more about the competition here.



The Grand Final can be seen here. Samu-Pekka Ojanen's pitch starts from minutes 15:50.