The Helsinki City Science Award was presented to Craig Primmer. Photo: University of Helsinki


On Helsinki Day, the Helsinki City Science Award was presented to Craig Primmer, a professor at the University of Helsinki. Primmer works as a professor at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Institute of Biotechnology, as well as serving as Vice Dean responsible for research and international affairs. The value of the science award is €10,000.

Craig Primmer, born in 1970, is an Australian-Finnish researcher leading a team that studies the genetics of fish populations.

By deciphering the genetic basis of salmon life cycles, Primmer and his team aim to find ways to preserve biodiversity in both natural populations and fish farming. His work focuses on understanding the reasons behind fish behavior, which contributes to the development of effective conservation strategies, even in changing environmental conditions. Some of Primmer's most significant research findings in the field of conservation genetics, focusing on fish genetics, have been published in prestigious scientific journals such as Nature. He has also authored over 200 scientific articles.

Primmer earned his Ph.D. from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in 1997 and received his docentship in ecological genetics from the University of Helsinki in 1999. In 2005, he was appointed as a genetics professor at the Department of Biology at the University of Turku, and in 2017, he became a professor of genomics at the University of Helsinki.

The fact that Primmer has been selected as an academy professor twice is a testament to his scientific achievements. His research work is of high international caliber, as evidenced by his two grants from the European Research Council (ERC) under the Advanced funding scheme, which is dedicated to top researchers in their groundbreaking and ambitious projects with significant impact potential.

Strengthening Helsinki as a City of Science

The Helsinki City Science Award has been awarded since 1996 with the aim of strengthening and promoting Helsinki as a city of science. The award recognizes significant scientific contributions made by individuals or research conducted in Helsinki. By honoring outstanding researchers like Craig Primmer, the award highlights Helsinki's commitment to scientific excellence and its vibrant scientific community.

Helsinki City Grants for Urban Research

On Helsinki Day, the City of Helsinki also awarded research grants to ten research projects, with a total value of €73,000. These grants are intended to support researchers with advanced degrees, particularly those working on their licentiate theses and doctoral dissertations. The grants also provide support for recently graduated postdoctoral researchers.

The selection criteria for the grants included the scientific quality of the research plan, its feasibility, and the significance of the research topic for the city of Helsinki.

The City of Helsinki Research Grants were awarded to the following recipients and research topics:

  • Reija Ahola, M.Sc., University of Helsinki: Factors influencing attraction and retention in early childhood education, as well as well-being management and leadership support in early childhood education in preventing regional segregation development.

  • Rosa Huotari, M.Sc., University of Helsinki: Urban theology of social inclusion in faith-based food assistance in Finland.

  • Elisa Jokelin, M.D., University of Helsinki: Effects of operational models on the outcomes of health stations.

  • Jenni Marjokorpi, M.Sc., University of Helsinki: Assessing developing language skills in basic education in Helsinki: examining the use and results of an observation-based assessment method (Marjokorpi defended her doctoral dissertation on March 4, 2023).

  • Hamed Mazaherylaghab, M.Sc. in Architecture, Tampere University: A territorial planning framework for green infrastructure in the EU: a case study of the metropolitan regions of Helsinki, Milan, and Stockholm.

  • Mika Mäkelä, Ph.D., University of Helsinki: The post-World War II renovation of Helsinki's city center.

  • Cansu Pylkkänen, M.A. in Interior Architecture, University of Helsinki: The intangible cultural heritage of Finland: did it prevail or experience sensory reductionism in Helsinki since 1500 AD?

  • Saara Pyykkö, Landscape Architect, Aalto University: Color design of new neighborhoods.

  • Salla Veijonaho, M.Sc., University of Helsinki: Youth well-being related to climate change and its connection to the coping mechanisms and participation in environmentally responsible actions.

  • Marika Ventovuori, M.Sc., Aalto University: Studies on neighborhood dynamics and urban policy.

By supporting these research projects, the City of Helsinki demonstrates its commitment to advancing knowledge and addressing relevant issues within the urban context. The grants not only foster academic excellence but also contribute to the development and well-being of the city and its residents.

Helsinki's commitment to scientific research and innovation, as showcased by the Helsinki City Science Award and the research grants, further solidifies the city's position as a hub for cutting-edge scientific advancements and reinforces its reputation as a thriving center for academic excellence and creativity.