Skip to main content

Veera Koskue pitches to win the 3MT competition with a study on circular economy

Published on 27.1.2021
Tampere University
Tampere 3MT competition finalists Andrei Tregubov, Mary Nurminen, Alma Yrjänäinen, Heidi Tuorila and Veera Koskue and the competition host Annina Lattu in front of them.
Veera Koskue won the international Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in Tampere. In three minutes, Koskue gave an excellent succinct presentation of her research on how to recycle wastewater nutrients as fertilizers.

In the 3MT finals, five doctoral researchers from Tampere University presented their research to a wide audience. Koskue, whom the jury picked as the winner, was also the audience favourite. Koskue is conducting research for her doctoral dissertation in the Bio and Circular Economy research group at Tampere University.

Koskue found the competition stiff and was pleasantly surprised by her victory.  She thinks that winning a well-known and respected competition also benefits her research career.

“When working on my doctoral dissertation, I have become increasingly interested in effective science communications, meaning that the competition provided excellent training and experience in this respect,” Koskue says.

According to Ira Virtanen, an expert on postgraduate education and communication at Tampere University who trained the finalists, all finalists aroused the interest of the audience and comprehensibly illustrated the complex contents of their research also with non-verbal communication.

“The talks were carefully targeted, meaning that the researchers chose concepts and examples from people’s everyday lives. The winner, Veera Koskue, brought rhythm to her talk with tactful lightness and clearly communicated the motives and solutions of her study to the viewers,” Virtanen analyses.

The high-level and popular 3MT competition continues in Tampere

The organisers were positively surprised by the popularity and high level of the Tampere competition which is likely to continue next year.

“The number of people who watched the virtual event also exceeded our expectations. There is clearly a demand for the event among doctoral researchers and participation in the competition supports their growth as researchers. The event also brought welcome English-language content to the Science Forum,” says Kaisa Kurki, Manager of International Affairs at Tampere University.

“Popularising scientific knowledge is extremely useful for everyone. It helps researchers crystallise what is relevant and interesting about their complex research topics to different audiences. For the audience, research questions and results provide support, inspiration, and solutions,” Virtanen says.

“The undisputed winner of the 3MT competition is scientific research because we have very committed and skilled doctoral researchers,” Virtanen adds.

Koskue’s study on the recycling of wastewater nutrients as fertilizers supports sustainable development

The main objective of Koskue’s study is to find a way to recycle valuable nutrients such as nitrogen back to agriculture to be used as fertilizers safely and efficiently. Currently, these nutrients largely end up in wastewater. According to her, it would be more sustainable if the production of new fertilizers were replaced by using existing fertilizers more than once.

“My research results benefit agriculture directly because some of the industrially produced fertilizers can be replaced by domestic recycled fertilizers, which also increases the self-sufficiency of agriculture. Wastewater treatment plants will also potentially benefit as their energy consumption and need for added chemicals decreases,” Koskue explains.

Veera Koskue: What you flush down the toilet might feed you in the future (Three Minute Thesis, Tampere 2021)

Koskue aims to complete her dissertation by the end of 2021. She is conducting research cooperation with the Australian University of Queensland. Her study is funded by the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation and Tampere University’s Doctoral School.

Next, Koskue will participate in the virtual Southern African-Nordic Centre’s (SANORD) international 3MT finals which will be organised in Bergen, Norway in September 2021.

The 3MT finals were held as part of the Tampere University Science Forum event on January 23, 2021.


Veera Koskue
veera.koskue [at]

Kaisa Kurki
tel. +358 40 190 1531

kaisa.kurki [at]

Ira Virtanen
tel. +358 50 330 7193

ira.virtanen [at]


Text: Anna Aatinen
Photograph: Jonne Renvall