News from the North

Webinar: French Institute Nordic Award (FINA) 2023

On 23 November 2023, the five laureates of the French institute Nordic Award 2023 (FINA), from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden presented their research and shared lessons learned from their one-week visit of research institutions in France (Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon) in September 2023. It was followed by a round table addressing main challenges concerning circular economy, moderated by Tobias Dan Nielsen, an expert from the European Environment Agency. Tobias Dan Nielsen is a researcher on climate and sustainability politics including petrochemicals, plastics, and climate policy.

Find out more about the panelists

The 2023 laureates

Denmark – Hong Thang Tran, PhD researcher in Bioactives at the Technical University of Denmark. His research aims to cope with the issues of food waste and food quality deterioration by developing new methodology and framework for applications of Pickering emulsions.

Estonia – Sharib Khan, PhD researcher in Lignin Valorisation at the University of Tartu. He is a biorefinery enthusiast, his research focuses on the design and synthesis of ionic liquids for lignocellulosic biomass fractionation as well as the electrochemical valorization of lignin in ionic liquids.

Finland – Jenni Kaipainen, double PhD researcher in Business & Technology at Tampere University and at Polytechnic University of Milan. Her research focuses on companies’ strategic development processes towards a circular economy.

Norway – Olga Odrzygóźdź, PhD researcher in Sustainable Soil Management at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Currently she does research in the use of mine waste products for agricultural usage – as a natural soil amendment and fertilizers.

Sweden – Pierre Oesterle, PhD researcher in Environmental Chemistry at Umeå University in Sweden. His PhD project focuses on removing contaminants such as antibiotics, drinking coffee… from water with adsorbents made of biobased waste materials, and assessing the impact of the use of these adsorbents.

The moderator

Tobias Dan Nielsen is an expert at the European Environment Agency since December 2021. He is a researcher on climate and sustainability politics including petrochemicals, plastics, and climate policy. He joined IVL Swedish Environment Research Institute in 2019 from Lund University, where he was a post-doctoral fellow working on plastics. At IVL, he has conducted several policy studies on plastics (incl. petrochemical sector) for the European Environment Agency (EEA), the German Development Agency (GIZ), and the Swedish Environment Agency. He has published several pieces on plastics, and on environmental and climate politics in top international journals. In addition, he has held several public talks on plastics and petrochemicals.


French Institutes in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden.


Launched in 2020, the French Institutes Nordic Award (FINA) aims to promote scientific cooperation between France and Nordic countries and to reward the outstanding achievements of young researchers. The theme of 2023 was Circular Economy, with a special focus on food, waste management, textiles, biobased materials, recycling, and development of new crops. According to the United Nations, the circular economy is a system of production, exchange and sharing that allows for social progress, preservation of natural capital and economic development as defined by the Brundtland Commission (i.e., the UN World Commission on Environment and Development published a book in 1987: “Our Common Future”).

This 2023 edition of the FINA Awards was part of the drive to promote the following sustainable development goals:

  • ODD2: End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • ODD12: Responsible consumption and production. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  • ODD13: Climate action. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

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