On 21 February, at the ceremony marking the anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, the University of Tartu announced the recipients of two scholarships. The Ernst Jaakson memorial scholarship was awarded to Ronald Väli and the Peeter Tulviste memorial scholarship to Andra Siibak.
This year’s Ernst Jaakson memorial scholarship of 18,000 euros was awarded to Ronald Väli, Research Fellow of Physical Chemistry.
Already during his master’s studies, Ronald Väli started to study electrode materials that could be used in sodium-ion batteries. He defended his doctoral thesis in 2019 and is now Research Fellow of Physical Chemistry at the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Tartu. Professor Enn Lust, Director of the Institute of Chemistry, says that Ronald Väli’s research is significant as the first experimental study on batteries conducted at the University of Tartu.
Väli’s research focuses on lithium- and manganese-rich materials, which have the potential to increase the energy density of batteries. As these materials do not contain cobalt, the batteries become less expensive and the violation of human rights related to cobalt mining can be avoided.
The scholarship helps Ronald Väli to continue his postdoctoral fellowship in the Jeff Dahn Research Group at Dalhousie University, Canada. Jeff Dahn is recognized as one of the pioneering developers and a leading researcher of the lithium-ion battery. An important cooperation partner and sponsor of his research group is Tesla Motors.
The Ernst Jaakson memorial scholarship was established at the University of Tartu Foundation in 2001 and today was the 15th time the scholarship was awarded. The aim of the scholarship is to support the doctoral students, research fellows and teaching staff members of the University of Tartu who continue their degree studies or research abroad.
The Peeter Tulviste memorial scholarship of 5,000 euros was awarded to Andra Siibak, Professor of Media Studies of the University of Tartu.
Andra Siibak has been working at the University of Tartu as a researcher and a member of teaching staff since 2007. In 2009, she defended her doctoral thesis in the field of media and communication. Since 2016, she has been Professor of Media Studies of the University of Tartu. During her career, Andra Siibak has received several national and international research prizes and awards.
According to Professor of Media and Communication of Malmö University Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, who has been Andra Siibak’s teacher, colleague, co-author and cooperation partner, this year’s scholarship goes to an extremely productive young researcher whose research topics are highly relevant, interdisciplinary and essential for understanding today’s digital society. “Her research topics focus on being a human in a society saturated with technology, considering the risks arising from the use and abuse of technology,” said Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt.
The Peeter Tulviste memorial scholarship was established in autumn 2017 and this was the third time the scholarship was awarded. The aim of the memorial fund is to support and recognise active students and young researchers who contribute to the progress of the Estonian society with their outstanding studies and research. The scholarship is awarded to a person holding a master’s or a doctoral degree and studying or working at the University of Tartu and whose research has largely contributed to the understanding of the cultural nature of the human being.