Application period for DEEP: Microplastic Challenge is now open! Organized for a third time this water themed hackathon tackles a micro-sized but challenging issue of microplastic particles.

This year we are going to bring together students, researchers, entrepreneurs and other enthusiasts to co-create solutions for preventing microplastics from getting in to the Baltic sea. The teams are joined by mentors who will be sharing their expertise in the hackathon weekend on 29.11-1.12. Read more on how they are going to help our contestants on developing their ideas!


Jyri Maunuksela, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Jyri is a Doctor of Technology working for biorefineries and production systems and developing new innovative concepts, materials and projects for marine, forest, agricultural and urban bioeconomy.

As a chemist, microbiologist and trainer of environmental engineers Jyri has been working close to plastic, energy and forest industry. He will guide our contestants with 30 years of industrial and business experience. 



Sanna Kuningas, Research scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Sanna is a marine biologist and currently works on topics related to fish reproductive areas in the Finnish coastal areas and the possibilities to maintain natural fish production through restoring important reproductive areas. Recognizing and understanding the uniqueness of the Baltic Sea biodiversity and maintaining it for the future is important to Sanna and she is at her happiest when being at sea, appreciating this great ecosystem that sustains us.

She is looking forward to hear innovative ways to tackle the issue of microplastic at sea and to discuss the ideas further with our teams. 



Marjatta Vahvaselkä, Research Scientist, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Marjatta currently works with biocircular economy, valorization of industrial side streams and microplastics reduction and analytical methods. Her special interests include choral music, visual arts and service design, e.g. developing tools that encourage people to reduce the amount of plastic waste they produce, and to recycle their plastic waste more efficiently.

Having broad knowledge in bioscience and biomaterials and experience in project management, innovation and teaching at Aalto University, Marjatta has great tools in helping the teams with developing their ideas.


Erika Winquist, Senior Scientist, D.Sc. (Tech.), Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Erika is a process engineer working with biorefinery concepts and related process development and techno-economic analysis. Quite recently she joined Luke’s microplastic team for she feels microplastics are a growing concern and not only in natural ecosystems but also in circular economy processes where diverse waste- and side-streams are used as raw materials. She has done her PhD on bioremediation of contaminated soil and thus is familiar with organic contaminants which are also part of the problem.

Erika believes she can help the teams to see a holistic view of their problem and give advice on what might be economically viable to put into practice.


Galyna Medyna, Researcher/postdoc, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Galyna specializes in environmental and social life cycle assessment of complex systems and value chains. She currently works on helping develop a resilient and sustainable bioeconomy in Finland and previously worked on environmental policy matters at the Joint Research Centre, where she first encountered the issue of primary and secondary microplastics in the scope of EU Ecolabel requirements.

She will gladly help the teams screen for environmental hotspots of any novel technical approaches proposed and provide input to help achieve more sustainable solutions.


Tuuli Saukkonen, Helsinki Think Company board member, circular economy enthusiast 

Tuuli is a young multitalent and a member of Helsinki Think Company board. She is passionate about accelerating societal change for a better, sustainable future. At the moment she is doing it at Helsinki Think Company facilitating young changemakers into action and at the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra where she works as a trainee in circular economy focus area.

She is finalizing her Master’s studies in communication studies and has also gained knowledge in political science in Finland and abroad.  If you need ideas on how to communicate and create traction around your concept, Tuuli is there to help you.


Tuomas Kulmala, Head of Partnerships at Helsinki Think Company

Tuomas works at Helsinki Think Company to bring together all organisations to create more sustainable future. Only at 15 years old, he founded his first company, and today is interested in circular economy and studying electrical engineering at Aalto University.

He tends to get excited about everything associated with oceans: protecting, swimming, sailing etc. On his free time Tuomas also volunteers as a sea rescuing (SAR) crew member at Helsinki Lifeboat Association. With his experience on Think Company and entrepreneurship, he will help you with pitching, piloting and creating concepts.


Would you like to develop a solution to microplastic pollution with the help of these experts? Read more and apply for DEEP: Microplastic Challenge here by 19th of November!

Teksti: Anni Kuivalainen