News / 15.1.2014

Four scholarships for environmental research on the Baltic Sea

Helsingin Energia’s 100th anniversary fund has awarded four scholarships for environmental research on the Baltic Sea. The projects support research on wastewater emissions in the Baltic Sea and the development of a maritime spatial planning tool for the protection of the Baltic Sea.

Helsingin Energia is taking part in the funding of a multidisciplinary project of the University of Helsinki concerning municipal wastewater emissions into the Baltic Sea and the diversions from wastewater treatment plants. The project aims to support research on problems caused by the diversion of municipal wastewater by funding three interlinked Master’s Theses. The theses examine the diversion of municipal wastewater by focusing on the key sources of loading in terms of the coastal waters of Helsinki, i.e. the Viikinmäki wastewater treatment plant and the wastewater treatment plants in the municipalities in the upper reaches of the River Vantaanjoki.

The multidisciplinary Master’s Thesis project is awarded with a total of EUR 11,000: every student completing their Master’s Thesis receive an individual scholarship of EUR 3,000, and the Master’s Thesis on the biodegradation of municipal wastewaters was also granted EUR 2,000 to cover laboratory costs.

The scholarships were awarded to:
• Politicisation of wastewater diversions, author Milja Heikkinen
• Cost-effective overflow management in wastewater treatment, author Tyyra Linko
• The DOM load of municipal wastewaters and its biodegradation in the Gulf of Finland, author Pietu Pankonen.

Furthermore, a scholarship of EUR 3,000 is also granted from the anniversary fund for research, which is part of the TOPCONS project. TOPCONS is a Finnish-Russian co-operation project that develops a new map-based tool for the planning of sustainable use of sea areas. The Master’s Thesis pertaining to the project examines the impacts of oil transportation and offshore wind farms on the biodiversity of the seafloor, the spawning grounds of fish, and important bird habitats. The scholarship is awarded to Aino Helle.

Helsingin Energia’s annual environmental investments amount to several millions of euros and they mainly focus on air quality and energy efficiency.
– In addition to the development of our own environmental activities, we want to act in close co-operation with universities and students in the promotion of environmental protection in a comprehensive way, explains Maiju Westergren, Environmental Director of Helsingin Energia. – The Baltic Sea scholarships are a good example of this. The Masters’ Theses we are now funding examine a single subject from several different aspects in a multidisciplinary way in order to obtain a wider view to explain and resolve the phenomenon. This is also what we are aiming for in our own environmental work.

The purpose of Helsingin Energia’s 100th anniversary fund is to promote research in the Gulf of Finland. The anniversary fund was established in 2009 when Helsingin Energia invested EUR 100,000 in its own fund, which was established in connection with the University of Helsinki Funds, and directed to the fund all donations made in honour of the company’s 100th anniversary.

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