VTT Research Scientist PhD (Biotechnology) Lauri Reuter won the Global Impact Challenge competition, which seeks ideas for solving global problems – climate change, in this instance – on 29 March 2017. Reuter won a USD 35,000 scholarship to Singularity University's Global Solutions Program for this summer.
"Globally speaking, food production is a huge burden on the environment. At the same time, climate change is a threat to agriculture in particular. This cycle can only be broken once and for all by producing more and more of our food in closed systems, such as bioreactors", explains Lauri Reuter. Sustainable future food production is also one of VTT's research priorities.
"In the long term, food production using micro-organisms will overtake agriculture by its efficiency and environmental friendliness in many areas. The area released from farming can be used to grow forest. The best thing is that closed-system production is also possible where climate change has the direst effects: in areas that are turning into deserts and in large cities. And, if we ever leave this planet, we will in any case need to be able to cut our ties to the environment and produce our food independently", Reuter says.
Another VTT Research Scientist, MSc (Technology) Elina Hakkarainen, was also among the five finalists. Hakkarainen's idea was a mobile application that produces comprehensive information about the impacts of products on health and the environment.
Singularity University is an institution founded by futurist Ray Kurzweil and serial entrepreneur Peter Diamandis in 2009, which strives to solve the biggest challenges facing mankind with the help of exponentially developing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, robotics and nanotechnology.
This was the third Global Impact Challenge competition held in Finland. The partners of the competition are the KAUTE Foundation, the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation, SITRA, KONE, Fazer and Samsung.
Lauri Reuter's "Food without fields" pitch online (from 1:00): https://www.facebook.com/GICFinland/videos/1356854651046463/?pnref=story
The finalists and their ideas: https://kaute.fi/kaute/kauten-tukemia-hankkeita/gic/