The 2023 Tapojärvi Innovation Challenge for Students, organised by the circular economy company Tapojärvi in collaboration with EIT RawMaterials, has proven to be a remarkable catalyst for innovation. The competition centered on converting waste into valuable resources, advancing the raw materials industry with circular economy solutions

New high of participation at Tapojärvi Innovation Challenge for Students

The 2023 challenge set a new participation standard, attracting 29 teams from 14 countries representing 22 universities and comprising a diverse group of 71 students of 43 nationalities. Out of this diverse talent pool, five exceptional teams were invited to the showdown held in Tornio, Finland, where they pitched their ideas to a panel of industry experts.

Tapojärvi, a forerunner of the circular economy, views this innovation challenge as a strategic initiative to tap into global talent, particularly from European universities renowned for sparking innovation and technological breakthroughs.

Seppo Ahola, the Chief Innovation Officer of Tapojärvi: “Tapojärvi’s goal is to become a global leader in the circular economy by 2035, and talent and innovation will be the key to making it happen. With the invaluable support of EIT RawMaterials, we are uncovering exceptional talents who can aid us in reaching our ambitious goals. We were thrilled that the competition brought us into contact with students from leading European universities and even more stoked to see their remarkable levels of creativity and enthusiasm.”

Winner was ReAct from the Technical University of Madrid

The competition’s winner is ReAct, a team comprised of Advanced Material and Innovative Recycling (AMIR) master’s students from the Technical University of Madrid. They presented a groundbreaking concept that combined fly ash, a by-product of the forest industry, with wood to create activated carbon for air and water purification.

Simon Coen, Chief Executive and Chemical Engineer of ReAct, views the competition as an invaluable opportunity: “The Innovation Challenge opened doors for us to apply our classroom knowledge to real-world challenges. We received expert coaching and developed an entrepreneurial mindset for sustainable solutions. The experience of travelling to Lapland, visiting the Outokumpu’s mine in Tornio, and exploring the Tapojärvi’s facilities was incredibly rewarding.”

Open Innovation Challenges by EIT RawMaterials crucial to European advancements in circular economy

The competition is a part of the Open Innovation services that EIT RawMaterials offers, dedicated to sparking growth and innovation in the raw materials sector. The organisation leverages its extensive network to connect students, companies, and startups throughout Europe, tackling pressing challenges and spurring industry progress.

The next Tapojärvi Open Innovation Challenge for Students will be held in 2025. Watch this space!