NordAqua News & Events 2018

  • BLÅBIONORGE Assembly in Norway

NordAqua Vice-Director Assoc.Prof. Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne attended the BLÅBIONORGE Assembly on Friday, 30th November in Stavanger, Norway organized by The Nordic Centre of Excellence for Sustainable and Resilient Aquatic Production (SUREAQUA). The aim of the event was to provide an arena for knowledge sharing and network building among players with a vested interest in developing the blue bioeconomy in Norway. As an invited speaker, Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne presented NordAqua project plan & activities with an overview for the possible algae based Nordic Blue-bieconomy.


  • #BlueNordic Workshop in Finland!

NordAqua members from University of Turku (UTU), Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) attended the second New added-value products from fish and algae workshop”  in Helsinki on 28 November organized by the #BlueNordic project.

The workshop aimed to develope a common plan with concrete ideas for research and innovation of added value products and production, and set base for new funding opportunities on a Nordic and EU level. The event also gathered together the Nordic researchers and industrial experts on blue bioeconomy to build up a co-operating network and to boost public-private partnership.


  • EABA Novel Food Task Force Meeting in Germany!

NordAqua Vice-Director Assoc.Prof. Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne attended the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA) Novel Food Task Force Meeting on Monday, 19th November in Frankfurt, Germany. The attendees of the meeting had opportunity to discuss future of algae as a novel food and which algae species are most relevant for the EABA activities.


  • Open PhD position on removal of pollutants by photosynthetic microorganisms and their biomass valorization for biofuel production

Our partners are looking for a motivated Ph.D student to hire!

The project is based on a collaboration between Umeå University (UmU) and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

During the Ph.D. work, the applicant will select efficient aquatic photoautotrophs (microalgae and cyanobacteria) from the Nordic culture collection at NIVA and analyze their potential in cleaning wastewater from contaminants, nitrogen and phosphorous. The applicant further will investigate the valorization of this algal biomass for biofuels, biofertilizers and/or energy.

For more information about the application process see: “PhD position on removal of pollutants by photosynthetic microorganisms and their biomass valorization for biofuel production

  • Two research papers by the Uppsala University team are on-line!

Generation of a functional, semisynthetic [FeFe]-hydrogenase in a photosynthetic microorganism” is published in the Energy and Environmental Science which is a leading journal in the field of energy, alternative fuel technologies and environmental science with an impact factor 30 !

Engineering photoautotrophic carbon fixation for enhanced growth and productivity” is published in the Sustainable Energy & Fuels.

  • The World Algae Day!

Starting from 2017, we are celebrating October 12th as the “World Algae Day”. The celebration of this day is initiated in 2017 by a German biologist, Jörg Ullmann. Jörg is an algae researcher, farmer and also a writer.

We, the NordAqua team, believe that algae are one of the most promising sustainable sources of biomass and the next-generation catalyst of solar powered chemicals! Happy World Algae Day!

  • New research paper by the Uppsala University is on-line!

” Enhancement of photosynthetic isobutanol production in engineered cells of Synechocystis PCC 6803”  is published in the Biotechnology for Biofuels.

  • H2020 application of UTU team successfully approved!

Excellent news from our partners! Congrats to Prof. Jarna Heinonen, the ” Entrepreneurship, Training and Communication” work package leader of NordAqua, for the successful approval of H2020 application! For more information see:  Yrittajyysyliopisto blog post 

  • Seeing is believing: A site visit to UQ Algae Energy Farm

Christiane Funk (Umeå University) visited the University of Queensland Algae Energy Farm located outside of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in August, 2018 through researcher mobility programme.

UQ Algae Energy Farm developed in partnership with support from the local livestock industry and is a prototype demonstration farm that deploys new cost-saving technologies to produce food, feed, nutraceuticals or biodiesel from microalgae. The farm can also be used as a zero-input “power plant” with full resource recycling capability to produce fuel (biogas and biodiesel).


  • Research paper by the Umeå University team contributing to WP1 is on-line!

” Subartic microalgal strains treat wastewater&produce biomass at low temperature&short photoperiod“, is published online!

  • New research paper by the University of Turku team contributing to WP5 is on-line!

Comparison of ethanol tolerance between potential cyanobacterial production hosts”  is published in the Journal of Biotechnology.

  • Welcome to the SmartBIO Student Symposium! 

We are pleased to inform that the abstract submission & registration for the SmartBIO Student Symposium are now open! For more information see: SmartBIO Student Symposium

  • A book chapter in “Microalgal Biotechnology” from NIVA team!

Congratulations to Elena Martínez-Francés and Carlos Escudero-Oñate! Their book chapter on “Cyanobacteria and Microalgae in the Production of Valuable Bioactive Compound” has been published in the “Microalgal Biotechnology”! Please click here to read more!

  • H2020 calls for the algae sector and photosynthesis

Click here to download the call opportunities of H2020 for the algae sector which also includes the projects approved in the recent calls. Thanks to EABA president Vítor Verdelho Vieira for the detailed information.

  • Newly elected NAS foreign associate Eva-Mari Aro!

Congratulations to the NordAqua director Eva-Mari Aro! She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences as a foreign associate in recognition of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. For more information see: “News from the National Academy of Sciences

  • A site-visit to Ecoduna “Hanging Gardens” Plant

NordAqua director Eva-Mari Aro and vice-director Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne had the opportunity to visit the Ecoduna “Hanging Gardens” Plant in Bruck an der Leitha, Austria on 24th April through the organization of ACI’s 8th European Algae Industry Summit. Ecoduna is a global company in microalgae biotech which mission is leading technology for sustainable production of biomass to solve future challenges in the field of food safety. We have also been honoured to host Dr. Silvia Fluch, Chief Operating Manager of Ecoduna, at the first Nordic Algae Symposium (NAS18) in January 2018,Helsinki, Finland as an invited speaker.


  • The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters Academy Award 2018!

NordAqua director Eva-Mari Aro was awarded the “Academy Award” by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. This is the most prominent recognition from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and is given annually to a distinguished member of the Academy for their scholarly achievements. To read more please click!

  • Two research papers by University of Turku team contributing to WP4 are on-line!

Versatile templates from cellulose nanofibrils for photosynthetic microbial biofuel production” is published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

A new approach for sustained and efficient H2 photoproduction by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii” is published in the Energy and Environmental Science which is a leading journal in the field of energy, alternative fuel technologies and environmental science with an impact factor 29.5 in 2017! 

  • Two research papers by Uppsala University team contributing to WP5 are on-line!

Protein engineering of α-ketoisovalerate decarboxylase for improved isobutanol production in Synechocystis PCC 6803” and “Engineered cyanobacteria with enhanced growth show increased ethanol production and higher biofuel to biomass ratio” are published in the Metabolic Engineering.

  • NordAqua visited Turun Normaalikoulu

The NordAqua representatives have visited Turun normaalikoulu (Teacher Training School of Turku) to discuss with the young students about blue bioeconomy, to introduce the algae world and NordAqua to the youths.

We thank to the teachers of the Turun normaalikoulu for their hospitality and allowing us to visit the school. Special thanks go to UTU members Martina Jokel, Ph.D and Anita Santana Sanchez, M.Sc for their great presentations.

We hope that we were able to draw the students attention to the green engineering concept.



  • Three Minute Thesis Competition at University of Turku

PhD students from NordAqua made it to the finals of Three Minutes Thesis competition on 8th of March 2018!

The Three Minute Thesis competition was organised at the University of Turku for the second time. Nearly 200 people came to hear the presentations of the ten finalists. (Photos by Hanna Oksanen)

Please watch the videos of the event here:



  • The 1st NordAqua Annual Meeting 2018 , 31 Jan-2 Feb 2018, Helsinki, Finland @ Hotel Scandic Simonkenttä and 1st Nordic Algae Symposium 2018 (NAS18)

We would like to thank everyone who attended the 1st NordAqua Annual Meeting 2018!

2018´s annual meeting hosted nearly 40 people and included not only NordAqua academic partners but also moderators, representatives of industry and funding organisations – NordForsk and Academy of Finland.  

The first day of the annual meeting was overlapping with the evening session of the 1st Nordic Algae Symposium 2018 (NAS18). Overview of NordAqua project was presented by our vice-director Assoc. Prof. Yagut Allahverdiyeva-RinneDr. Reeta Huhtinen has presented the Smart Chemistry Park innovation platform for value chain development. The day ended with the panel discussion under the moderation of our vice-director with the panelists Academician Eva-Mari Aro (NordAqua NCoE chair), Dr. Federico G. Witt (Production Director of AlgaEnergy, Spain), Heikki Hyttinen (General Manager of Subitec GmbH, Germany), Prof. Peter Lindblad (Uppsala University Team Leader of NordAqua), Prof. Poul Erik Jensen (Head of Copenhagen Plant Science Centre, Denmark) , Dr. Silvia Fluch (Chief Operating Officer of Ecoduna, Austria) and Vitor Verdelho (EABA president and Co-founder of A4F, Portugal). 

In the internal NordAqua Annual meeting (1st and 2nd of Feb 2018) progress of WPs were monitored. As WP7 ongoing activity, the NordAqua Entrepreneurship Workshop was held with the participation of both junior and senior researchers of NordAqua under the management of Prof. Jarna Heinonen and Research Director Ulla Hytti from University of Turku. The workshop designed (i) to understand the entrepreneurship as an idea, (ii) to become familiar with the entrepreneurial process and (iii) how to transfer ideas into business opportunities and present ideas to others. We would like to thank to Prof. Jarna Heinonen for bringing the idea of workshop and implementing it.

Thank to all the members of NordAqua who made this meeting informative and generative. We look forward to meeting you in the further events!

ATTENTION: All the documentation of the 1st NordAqua Annual Meeting 2018 is available now at the consortium library- NordAqua Seafile.

Please find here the Final Programme of the annual meeting 2018. The programme contains information about all sessions, including the WP presentations and Entrepreneurship Workshop.