The University of Turku has received €3.3 million in EU funding for a doctoral training project that responds to the current need for experts by training 25 doctoral researchers from fields related to green and digital transition. Five researchers will be recruited for projects linking to water research and three will be working directly on Freshwater Competence Centre topics, with the fluvial research group in Turku
The European Social Fund granted €3.3 million in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Cofund funding to the Solutions for Green and Digital Transition (UTU-GreDiT) project led by Professor of Geography Petteri Alho. The entire funding for the project is €7.4 million.
In the beginning of 2024, international researchers will be recruited to the project as doctoral researchers in the University of Turku Graduate School. They will start their research in the autumn semester 2024.
“Our aim is to train doctoral researchers who are capable of tackling complex environmental challenges and advancing societal change and digitalisation. The goal is to promote sustainable socio-economic growth in Europe,” says Alho.
Climate change and biodiversity loss have caused economic losses of over €145 billion over the past decade in EU, in addition to which there has been unforeseen human costs. Food safety and water and energy supply security are increasingly at risk, both in Europe and globally, with a growing likelihood of a crisis.
“The research topics of the doctoral researchers recruited to the project will be connected to climate change, biodiversity, circular economy, water security, sustainable environment, clean energy, robotics, and machine learning AI,” says Alho.
Doctoral researchers will work in multidisciplinary research environment
The training offered to the doctoral researchers responds to the need for experts in the fields related to green and digital transition. The doctoral researchers will visit international partner organisations and the training also focuses on extensive professional life skills.
The core of the doctoral training project consists of 14 research groups of the University of Turku and of over 45 professors, docents and senior researchers who work at the Faculty of Science, Faculty of Technology and Turku School of Economics. The doctoral researchers will be placed in these research groups and will work on their dissertations as part of the research conducted in the groups.
“I believe that the multidisciplinary framework with several research groups and the collaboration between three faculties guarantee a genuinely multidisciplinary research environment for our new doctoral researchers,” notes Alho.
Views on the needs of professional life from partners
In addition to doctoral training, the project focuses on offering professional life and career skills to doctoral researchers. The project has ten academic organisations, six companies and ten other organisations as partners. Partners include the World Bank, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Manchester, Boliden Harjavalta, and German Aerospace Center.
The partners can participate in the project in different ways. They can participate in the seminars of the project, offer work periods for doctoral researchers, and fund the project. The project is currently looking for more partners.
“We must develop the researcher career path so that it becomes even clearer and more versatile and, above all, we must reinforce the employment of graduates outside academia as well. Therefore, doctoral training must include, in addition to conducting research, learning different professional life skills and preferably also getting personal experiences from outside the academia,” says Vice Rector responsible for research Kalle-Antti Suominen.