Author:
Raigo Pajula, Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei

Awards of the Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic given to Hedvig Tamman and Liisa Rätsep

President Alar Karis presented the awards of the Cultural Foundation the President of the Republic in Kadriorg, Tallinn. The Young Scientist Award was given to University of Tartu Associate Professor in Genetics Hedvig Tamman and the Young IT Scientist Award to University of Tartu Head of Applied Natural Language Processing Liisa Rätsep.

Awarding the prizes, President Alar Karis said that, on the one hand, they are an acknowledgement to young people who have already excelled in their field, but on the other hand, the existence of such a prize is an expression of gratitude and encouragement to all young people who have chosen the path of a scientist and an example to those who are considering it. 
 
The head of state noted that although the work of a scientist is considered difficult mainly because it requires extreme depth, critical thinking and self-criticism, as well as the mastery of complex methods and vocabulary, perhaps the most difficult part is linking sociality and science. 

"Science is valuable when it solves real and important problems and contributes to important societal decisions. However, in doing so, it must always be based on facts and scientific reasoning, and not allow itself to be carried away or intimidated by heated debates or trendy ways of thinking," said the President.

Laureate of the Young Scientist Award Hedvig Tamman, Associate Professor in Genetics at the University of Tartu, focuses her research on microorganisms – more specifically, the competition between bacteria and the viruses or phages that infect them. Tamman explores how phages affect bacterial life and make bacterial cells work in their favour, how bacteria defend themselves against them, how phages then change to overcome or avoid defence barriers, and how bacteria then change again to survive. Understanding these relationships may help to address antibiotic resistance in the future.

See the video of the laurate giving an overview of her research. (In Estonian)

Image
Laureate of the Young Scientist Award Hedvig Tamman with President Alar Karis
Laureate of the Young Scientist Award Hedvig Tamman with President Alar Karis (author: Raigo Pajula, Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei)

Laureate of the Young IT Scientist Award Liisa Rätsep, Head of Applied Natural Language Processing at the University of Tartu explores the development of natural-sounding, expressive speech synthesis, which allows artificial intelligence to read out texts in both Estonian and small Finno-Ugric languages. A tailor-made speech synthesis app Neurokõne has been created, which is accessible to everyone and allows you to listen to articles in Estonian on the Estonian Public Broadcasting news portal, among other things.

See the video of the laurate giving an overview of her research. (In Estonian)

Image
Noore IT-teadlase preemia laureaat Liisa Rätsep koos president Alar Karisega
Laureate of the Young IT Scientist Award Liisa Rätsep with President Alar Karis (author: Raigo Pajula, Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei)

In addition, the President presented the Young Environmental Scientist Award to Reimo Lutter, who works as a tenured junior professor at the Chair of Silviculture and Forest Ecology at the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

Congratulations to all laureates of the young scientist awards!

The awards of the Cultural Foundation of the President of the Republic are designed for people up to the age of 35 doing research at an Estonian or foreign research institution or university. The amount of each award is 5,000 euros. The Young Scientist Award is sponsored by Väino Kaldoja, the Young IT Scientist Award by Microsoft Development Center Estonia, and the Young Environmental Scientist Award by Chocolala OÜ.

Toivo Maimets in the inauguration speech of professor Elin Org 03.04.2024 in the university aula

Researchers need Widening to offer more than just networking

TÜMRI 30. juubeli konverents Omicumi maja suures auditooriumis

Annual Conferences

Doktorant teeb laval ettekannet

Mark your calendars: three-minute thesis competition for doctoral students to be held on 2 October