Sander Ratso and Juhan Saharov received the main prizes in National Contest for University Students

On 15 December, authors of the best student papers of 2021 were awarded at the Estonian Academy of Sciences. The national awards were given for the best research papers written by students of the three levels of higher education, in six fields of research. The two main prizes (3,600 euros) were presented to University of Tartu students Sander Ratso for “Electrocatalysis of Oxygen Reduction on Non-Precious Metal Catalysts” and Juhan Saharov for his paper “From Economic Independence to Political Sovereignty: Inventing 'Self-Management' in the Estonian SSR”.

A total of 75 papers were awarded at three levels of study (professional higher education and bachelor’s studies, master’s studies and doctoral studies) and in six fields of research (natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences, agricultural and veterinary sciences, social sciences, and humanities and the arts). The award committee gave a letter of national appreciation to authors of 28 papers.

“The awarded works are not just well-written and published research papers – they all have their practical real-life value,” said Kristi Vinter-Nemvalts, Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research, as she presented the national awards.

Besides the national awards, special prizes were presented to 20 authors in recognition of their research. The special prizes were by the President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences and the academy’s fund for constitutional law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Chancellery of the Riigikogu, National Heritage Board and the Foundation of Marine Culture of Captain Uno Laur. Also supervisors of the best papers were recognised.

The chair of the award committee Hannes Palang, Professor of Human Geography at Tallinn University, welcomed two facts. “First, that despite the current situation in higher education funding, a number of high-quality papers are still submitted to the contest, many of which can change our future for the better. And secondly, that the number of institutions giving their special prizes to add value to students’ research papers has grown,” he recognised the participants and partners.

This year, Estonian Research Council received 495 submissions to the contest, most of them from master’s students. The fields of research in which most papers were submitted was social sciences, followed by natural sciences and humanities and the arts.

Research papers were submitted to this year’s contest from 30 universities, including 15 foreign universities. The total award fund was 80,727.79 euros. The full list of awardees is available on the website of Estonian Research Council.

The National Contest for University Students is organised by Estonian Research Council in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.


On the photo ther are University of Tartu students Sander Ratso and Juhan Saharov. Photo by ETAg


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