NordAqua News & Events

  • Two new research papers by UTU team contributing to WP4 are on-line

The paper titled “Immobilized heterocysts as microbial factories for sustainable nitrogen fixation”  is published in Journal of Biotechnology and “Elimination of the flavodiiron electron sink facilitates long-term H2 photoproduction in green algae” is published in Biotechnology for Biofuels!

  • Sunrise Finland Stakeholder Workshop, December 9th 2019

As a partner of the EU SUNRISE CSA we cordially invite you to join the SUNRISE Finland Stakeholder Workshop! To learn more please see: SUNRISE FINLAND STAKEHOLDER WORKSHOP

  • New research paper by Umeå University team contributing to WP1 is on-line

The paper titled as “Growth performance and nutrient removal of a Chlorella vulgaris-Rhizobium sp. co-culture during mixotrophic feed-batch cultivation in synthetic wastewater” and is published in Algal Research!

  • SUNRISE consortium partner Hélène Lepaumier from ENGIE answers: “Will ☀️renewable energy fully replace ⛽️fossil fuels?”

Sunrise consortium partner Hélène Lepaumier, a research engineer at ENGIE Laborelec and an expert in carbon capture, answers the question “Will renewable energy fully replace fossil fuels?”. She is optimistic: “Moving away from the use of fossil fuels will be a long process, but it is definitely feasible if we have cheap and abundant energy to produce these renewable fuels.” Please watch the interview by clicking HERE.

  • SUNRISE consortium partner Nicola Armaroli talks about “Towards a Circular Economy”

The SUNRISE action team has launched the first of a series of video interviews, to get answers to questions ” What does ‘circular economy’ stand for? Why is it important? How can we incorporate it in our daily lives? “. Sunrise consortium partner Nicola Armaroli, an expert photochemistry and photophysics and a research director at the National Research Council of Italy (CNR), talks about “Towards a Circular Economy” and gives the answers of the questions! Please watch the informative interview by clicking HERE and learn more about the “circular economy” concept.

  • SUNRISE- Solar Energy for a Circular Economy

SUNRISE is one of six candidates for a future European large-scale research initiative that has been selected by the European Commission in the Horizon2020 call “FETFLAG-01-2018”. SUNRISE proposes a sustainable alternative to the fossil-based, energy-intensive production of fuels and base chemicals. The needed energy will be provided by sunlight, the raw materials will be molecules abundantly available in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen. The University of Turku partnership in SUNRISE consortium is represented by Prof. Eva-Mari Aro and Assoc. Prof. Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne.

Recently SUNRISE and Energy-X (another EU CSA initiative selected by EU) announced the joint cooperation as a major step towards building a climate neutral EU. Merged SUNRISE and ENERGY-X projects aim to develop sustainable approaches for the storage of solar energy through its conversion to fuels and commodity chemicals using abundant molecules such as carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen. UTU team has contributed to the development of joint Energy-X Research Needs Report, which was launched and presented to representatives from the European Commission on September 26, 2019, in Brussels (to download the report pls see  https://www.energy-x.eu/research-needs-report/). Currently the University of Turku representatives are involved in finalizing the SUNRISE Scientific and Technological roadmap.

To learn more about Sunrise action please see: https://sunriseaction.com/

  • Open PhD position on investigating the biochemical composition of the cell wall of  Nordic strains

Our partner Umeå University is looking for a motivated Ph.D student to hire! The project is based on a collaboration between Umeå University (UmU) and other Nordic Universities/Research Institutes within the frame of a Nordic Center of Excellence (NordAqua, www.nordaqua.fi) funded by NordForsk Bioeconomy programme. Umeå University are using algae in wastewater treatment for nutrient and contaminant removal to develop a sustainable clean technology while also adding value to the wastewater treatment process by nutrient recovery. Breakage/extraction of compounds from the algal biomass is a bottleneck in biotechnological applications, therefore the applicant will investigate the biochemical composition of the cell wall of the best-performing Nordic strains and use molecular biological tools to improve the biomass. The applicant will biochemically characterize the cell wall of different microalgae grown in different conditions. Molecular biological tools will be used to change the cell wall properties of certain algae for improved breakage and harvesting.

Deadline for the application is 16 October 2019! For more information about the application process see: “PhD student position in Chemistry with focus on Biochemistry

  • A visit to Ruhr-Universität

NordAqua chair Yagut Allahverdiyeva-Rinne has been invited to MiCon Summer School which was held at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. She gave a talk titled “Improving photosynthesis for bioproduction” and also participated to Career Symposium discussions. The Research Training Group “Microbial Substrate Conversion (MiCon)”,  Ruhr University Bochum, Germany aims at understanding the mechanistic principles of microbial metabolic processes at the molecular level and organized the MiCon Summer School  between 11 – 13 September 2019.


  • The Elias Tillandz Prize

Congrulations to Dr. Sergey Kosourov, Dr. Martina Jokel, Prof. Eva-Mari Aro and Assoc. Prof. Yagut Allahverdiyeva Rinne from University Turku team for winning the Elias Tillandz Prize -awarded to Best BioCity Turku Publication in 2018. The best publication prize of BioCity Turku has been named after Professor Elias Tillandz (1640-1693) who was the first empirical life scientist in Turku. Prof. Tillandz  has been considered to be the “father of botany” in Finland because he published in 1673 the first botanical study, “Catalogus plantarum, tam in excultis, quam in cultis locis prope Aboam superiore aestate nasci observatarum”, and also because he established the first academic botanical garden in Turku (1678).


  • New research paper by Uppsala University team contributing to WP5 is on-line

Modular engineering for efficient photosynthetic biosynthesis of 1-butanol from CO2 in cyanobacteria” 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 33.25 in 2018! 

  • New research article by UTU team contributing to WP4 is online

Flavodiiron proteins 1–to-4 function in versatile combinations in O2 photoreduction in cyanobacteria” is published in the eLife under the Biochemistry and Chemical Biology, Plant Biology articles category.

  • Umeå Uni team hosted Prof. Keith Cowan from South Africa

On 4-5 June 2019 Prof. Keith Cowan from Rhodes University, South Africa, visited Umeå University (UMU) and gave a seminar tittled ” Water repair: the essence of biotechnology for a circular economy” . Prof. Keith Cowan is the director of the Institute for Environmental Biotechnology (EBRU), South Africa and using algae for wastewater reclamation in large scale.He also visited  the Umeå University facilities with the guidance of our UMU team leader Prof. Christiane Funk. 


  • Ph.D. defense by Mikeal Jämsä from UTU team

On the 27st of May 2019, the NordAqua Ph.D student Mikeal Jämsä successfully defended his Ph.D thesis. The defence of his thesis “Improving the efficiencies of photoautotrophic biofuel production: from biomass to biocatalysts” took place at University of Turku, Finland & his opponent was Prof. Raúl Muñoz Torre from University of Valladolid, Spain. The media also showed interest into Mikaels´ studied topic for his doctoral thesis! Please click the links below to read the media coverages:

Yle Svenska : https://svenska.yle.fi/artikel/2019/05/27/ny-forskning-vid-abo-universitet-visar-att-alger-kan-bli-framtidens-olja

Yle Englishhttps://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finnish_researcher_looks_to_blue-green_algae_for_biodiesel_production/10804264

Hs.fi: https://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006116329.html


  • 🌱Congratulations to all on Fascination of Plants Day 🌱

A big thank you to Umeå University team for representing NordAqua at the Fascination of Plants Day in Umeå & introducing algae world to all interested people from toddlers to grandparents. On the 18th of May, the Fascination of Plants Day was arranged for the fifth time in Umeå & took place in Kafé Fika at Väven.

18th of May is a special day to all who are interested in fascinating world of plants! To highlight the importance of plants and plant sciences, the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO www.epsoweb.org) invites all to celebrate the Fascination of Plants Day.


  • Charles D. Scott Award for Professor Merja Penttilä

Congratulations to Professor Merja Penttilä on receiving the Charles D. Scott Award ! Professor Merja Penttilä, VTT team leader of NordAqua, received the Charles D. Scott Award for her outstanding research contribution in biotechnology for the production of fuels and chemicals in Seattle on 30 April 2019. Initiated in 1995, the Charles D. Scott Award recognizes individuals who have made distinguished contributions to enable and further the use of biotechnology to produce fuels and chemicals. The award is named in honor of Dr. Charles D. Scott, who founded the Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals and chaired the conference for its first ten years.

  • Succesfully completed course “Towards Bio-based Finland”

The course “Towards Bio-based Finland”, organized by University of Turku (UTU) & Åbo Akademi University (ÅA) & supported by NordAqua NCoE, SmartBio Biocity Programme and Turku Science Park Ltd, was held between 15-17 April 2019. Special thanks to all invited lecturers throughout the course, providing information about their projects & companies, also sharing their knowledge and experiences. Please follow NordAqua web page for the information about more courses in 2019-2020!



  • BioFuture2025 Annual Seminar on 16–17 April 2019

University of Turku team attended the BioFuture2025 Annual Seminar in Lahti, Finland where all Biofuture2025 researchers gathered together for the annual seminar of the Academy programme to present the projects & their progress.


  • Thank you for attending the 2nd NordAqua Annual Meeting 2019 in Oslo, Norway

The second NordAqua Annual meeting has been held in Oslo, Norway 27th Feb – 1st March 2019. To those of you who were able to participate, thank you for attending! For the NordAqua team members all meeting materials have been posted to the NordAqua internal cloud- Seafile. We hope to see you again for the 2020 NordAqua Annual Meeting in Sweden!

  • The International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Gender equality is a global priority for UNESCO, and supporting young girls for their education is a necessity for the development. On 22 December 2015, the General Assembly decided to establish an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science, celebrated on 11 February, is implemented by UNESCO and UN-Women, in collaboration institutions and civil society partners that aim to ensure full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Within the scope of 11th Feb, UTU team hosted an event in Turku which aims to promote women and girls in sciencebring visibility to changes & challenges to women over the years. Professor emerita Marjatta Raudaskoski gave a talk to women researchers at UTU Turku facilities about her scientific career including highlights; and the changes & challenges in science.


  • Open engineer position on microalgae technology and bioprospecting in Norway

Our partner the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research’s (NIBIO) is looking for a motivated engineer to hire! The work covers studies on microalgae’s potential to produce high quality proteins, polyunsaturated fatty acids and carbohydrates for future food and feed; and also studies on high-value products for use in pharmaceuticals, food and healthfood.

The deadline for application is March 6th, 2019. For more information about the job advert & application process see: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/164261/engineer-microalgae-technology-and-bioprospecting

  • Course Announcement: NordAqua Spring 2019

The course ” Applied Photosynthesis Research” includes the basic concepts of the biorefineries and  discuss the contribution of photosynthetic organisms to blue and green biorefineries. The course “Towards Bio-based Finland” covers the basic concepts of the bioeconomy and the circular economy, with an overview of different industrial companies operating in Finland.  The course “Entrepreneurship for Research Professionals”  provides introduction to entrepreneurship by looking at entrepreneur-ship at individual and company level. To see more information for each of the coursesCLICK!

  • The 2nd NordAqua Annual Meeting 2019: Registration is now open for NordAqua members

The 2nd NordAqua Annual Meeting 2019 will be held on 27 Feb-1 March 2019 in Oslo, Norway at Thon Hotel Bristol. On Wednesday, 27th Feb the annual meeting will overlap with the last session of the 2nd Nordic Algae Symposium 2019 (NAS19) organized by NIBIO (For more info: NAS19) . We strongly encourage all our members to participate in NAS19. Please take into account that NAS has a separate registration link. Next 2 days, Thursday 28th Feb and Friday, 1st March , a “closed annual meeting” is going to be organized for NordAqua members only.

Registration link was sent via email to NordAqua members. The preliminary programme for the 2nd NordAqua Annual Meeting 2019 is now available online: Preliminary Programme. Please note that the programme is subject to changeMore details about the meeting programme will be posted soon! Please stay tuned!  We look forward to seeing and meeting as many of you as possible in OSLO!

  • Public talk at Turku City Library

On 10th Jan 2019, University of Turku (UTU) team organized a public talk at Turku City Library which is a great way to present our project and activities. The event also made the NordAqua visible and available to general public.

The talk, given by Postdoctoral Researcher Martina Jokel (Ph.D), gave a chance to audiences to learn about bioeconomy & blue-economy terms, the state of the blue-bioeconomy transition in Finland and the role of algae.Active participation of the audiences with their questions showed their engagement to our project and interest to bioeconomy topic.

Thank you to everyone who attended the public talk at Turku City Library!  We will be releasing date of the public outreaches for 2019 in the web page. Please stay tuned for information relating to public talks by NordAqua members!


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

Northern green algae have the capacity to remove active pharmaceutical ingredients” is published in the Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety.

Green bioplastics as part of a circular bioeconomy” is published in the Trends in Plant Science.


Here you will find a running list of events occurring in the NordAqua partner organisations! The events listed below are not necessarily supported by NordAqua.

– Upcoming Ph.D defence Announcement- Mikael Jämsä on Monday, May 27, 2019 — 2:00 pm (Finland time zone)

CandidateMikael Jämsä           

Topic:  Improving the efficiencies of photoautotrophic biofuel production: from biomass to biocatalysts

Location: Pharmacity building, seminar room Pha1, University of Turku

Thesis Supervisor: Assoc.Prof. Yagut Allahverdiyeva, Department of Biochemistry, University of Turku, Finland

Opponent: Prof. Raúl Muñoz Torre, University of Valladolid, Spain

News and upcoming events related to the algae sector and photosynthesis are listed below!

  • AlgaEurope 2019, 3-5 December 2019, Paris, France

Every year the European algae scene meets at the AlgaEurope conference. AlgaEurope offers a unique opportunity for an exchange between academia and industry, established in a networking-based environment that will explore sector’s evolution worldwide as well as the main European players. For more info click!

  • Algae Biomass Summit, 16-19September 2019, Orlando, Florida

The Summit is the algae industry’s leading event, where leading producers of algae products go to network with industry suppliers and technology providers, where project developers converse with utility executives, and where researchers and technology developers rub elbows with venture capitalists.For more info click!

  • IWA Conference on Algal Technologies and Stabilization Ponds for Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery IWAlgae2019, 1-2 July 2019, Valladolid, Spain

IWAlgae2019 is a joint event bringing together the 2nd IWA Conference on Algal Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery and the 12th IWA Specialist Group Conference in Wastewater Pond Technology. These two international conferences will allow scientists, algaeneers and practitioners to exchange the latest knowledge on the application of photosynthetic microorganisms for wastewater treatment and resource recovery, covering traditional opened ponds systems and the use of photobioreactors. For further information click!

  • The 9th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts, 17-19 June 2019, Embassy Suites, Boulder, CO, USA

The 9th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts (AlgalBBB 2019) will take place in Boulder (CO, USA) where as the previous years the event will continue to provide an exciting atmosphere to discuss the latest research and technologies and to interact with leaders in the field in the algal technologies. For further information click!