The four French institutes in the Nordic region (Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway) launched the French Institute Nordic Award (FINA) in 2020. This prize aims to promote cultural and scientific cooperation between France and the Nordic countries and to reward outstanding projects in this field.The first edition of FINA in 2020 focused on the topic of youth and green innovation.

Four laureates have been selected and will travel to Marseille. During their stay in France, they will attend the UICN Congress and will participate in the Nature Generation Areas (Espaces Génération Nature) event. The laureates will be able to present their research and interact with the public or other research institutions during these events. A webinar will be held on 14 January 2021 to introduce the four researchers and their research (more information to come in the following months).

Helena Tukiainen – Finland

Research centre: Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu

« I am a geographer from the University of Oulu, Finland. My research focuses on the dynamics of geodiversity and biodiversity, and especially to their mutual relationships. In the current iGeoBio project which I work in as a postdoctoral researcher, we are exploring new empirical evidence for this relationship on different spatial and temporal scales. One of my key motivations to study this topic is to find new advantages for nature conservation, especially for halting the biodiversity loss in changing climate. Geodiversity, or the abiotic diversity of the earth´s surface (including variation in rock, soil, hydrology, topography and geomorphology) has conservation value itself but also a great potential to be used as a coarse filter strategy for biodiversity conservation. The FINA award offers me an excellent opportunity to attend to the IUCN conference, where I would like to share our findings about geodiversity- biodiversity relationships and discuss how geodiversity information could be utilized and considered in nature conservation. »

Annabel Mempel – Norway

Research centre: Center for Development and the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo

« Through my studies at the Center for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo, I have developed an interest in finding connections between different fields of research. This is why I focus on nature conservation in connection with international cooperation in my research for my master thesis. The European Green Belt is an excellent example of this connection between environmental values and personal relationships. The conservation of nature is increasingly becoming more important, but also more global. With my research, I hope to evaluate this need for transboundary cooperation and support conservation policies with international cooperation. The FINA 2020 enables me to connect with people from different backgrounds and provide more perspectives for my research. »

Justine Ramage – Sweden

Research centre: Nordregio

« As a physical geographer, I focus on understanding the impact of climate change on the landscapes and the people living in the Arctic. Permafrost, or frozen ground, is a key component for the Arctic ecosystems. Permafrost thaws in response to climate change and dramatically alters the livelihood of the residents of the Arctic region. In my most recent work within the project Nunataryuk, I investigate how permafrost thaw affects the quality of ecosystem services in the Arctic. This knowledge will help communities affected by permafrost thaw to find pan-Arctic solutions to better cope with the change. The FINA prize is a unique opportunity for me to attend the IUCN congress and to share the latest results of my research as well as to meet and link with other people involved on related topics. »

Julie Strand – Danmark

Research centre: Randers Regnskov

« Biodiversity and genetic diversity are the major drivers of my research, and due to the accelerating biodiversity crisis, it has never been more imperative in terms of species conservation. Biobanking is a technique to safeguard and preserve genetics through collection of biological material from threatened and endangered species. My research focus is on developing and improving technologies within biobanking, especially focusing on establishing and characterizing viable cell lines from amphibians and reptiles. Viable cell lines are one of the most versatile genetic resources and can play an important role in both in situ and ex situ conservation. Cell lines banked in liquid nitrogen can be main­tained indefinitely and provide a continual source of ge­netic material to complement future research and conservation strategies. The FINA prize provides a rare opportunity to share my research and results at the IUCN congress, with the potential to reach out globally to discuss future strategies within this area. »