“A very rich experience”

31 young researchers from five countries were invited to the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg event in Stockholm, Sweden.
– The Young Researchers’ Program was a very rich experience in terms of networking, says PhD student Céline Montanari.

Céline Montanari at the Wallenberg Wood Science Center, Stockholm, Sweden, has just returned from a conference in USA, where she presented new data on her research on transparent wood. She has found how the material can be impregnated with a polymer to regulate temperature variations. Transparent wood for thermal energy storage was also the topic of the paper that Céline Montanari presented at the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg event in Stockholm last September.
– During the poster session I had the opportunity to discuss with several people from the industry and the academia worldwide. It was interesting to discover new industrial or research groups, that could potentially be of interest for my future career, Céline Montanari says.

Amazing prize ceremony
The banquet and ceremony, when King Carl XVI Gustaf presented the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize to Professor Torgny Näsholm, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, was of course the highlight during the stay in Stockholm. Yanding Li, PhD-student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, remembers the prize ceremony as an amazing event, where he also had the chance to meet influential representatives from the forest industry.
– It is almost impossible for young researchers like us to participate in such a great event in any other place in the world. It really encouraged me to carry on my research, because a lot of people took interest in what I’m doing, says Yanding Li.

Yanding Li, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo: Johan Gunséus.

Three minutes each
Yanding Li had applied to the program with a paper on ”ideal lignin”, which he also explained during the workshop with three-minute presentations, 3MT. All 31 participants had three minutes each on stage, where they communicated their own research showing only one single slide.
– The 3MT gave us a great opportunity to learn about the research frontier of the forest industry in a very short time. All the presentations were very well prepared. I’m sure all of us picked up a lot from each other’s talk, says Yanding Li.
Fungal auxin and its role in the ectomycorrhizal development was the subject that was squeezed into three minutes by Yohann Daguerre, postdoc at Umeå Plant Science Center, Sweden.
– We were forced to do the effort of popularisation which is sometimes missing in fundamental science, Yohann Daguerre comments.

Yohann Daguerre, UPSC/SLU. Photo: Johan Gunséus.

Lectures and guided visits
The Marcus Wallenberg Foundation had invited post doctors and PhD students from different universities and research institutes in Austria, Finland, Germany, Sweden and USA to apply for a four day stay during the prize event. The up-and-coming researchers also took part of lectures and guided visits to the Vasa Museum, Stora Enso Biomaterials Innovation Center, Cellutech AB and Wallenberg Wood Science Center at KTH Royal Institute of Technology – all in Stockholm.
– My best experience during the whole event was definitely the study visit at Cellutech and Wallenberg Wood Science Center. It was amazing to see all the things we can or are about to make out of wood, says Yohann Daguerre.
A meeting with the laureate is always included in the Young Researchers’ Program.
– Following the discussion we all had with Torgny Näsholm, the winner of the 2018 Marcus Wallenberg Prize, I did a spontaneous application. Since 1st of April I am a happy new member in his group, Yohann Daguerre tells.

Apply now for the 2019 event
The Young Researchers’ Program is an annual arrangement with workshops, lectures, guided tours and a symposium in honor of the Marcus Wallenberg Prize Laureate. The idea is to stimulate collaboration, inspire research and create networking opportunities. The 2019 Young Researchers’ Challenge is now open for applications by PhDs or postdocs, 35 years old or younger. For applicants from Swedish organizations the MW Foundation has managed to find financing. International applicants need to provide their own travel and lodging. Follow the link here.