2013 Edition

Arenberg-CG Prize

Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize 2013


On 23 May at the 2013 General Assembly of the Coimbra Group at NUI Galway the Duke of Arenberg presented Juho Terrijärvi with the 2013 Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. Juho Terrijärvi thanked the Arenberg Foundation and the Coimbra Group for selecting him as this year’s laureate.

Dear Duke of Arenberg,
Dear General Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’m honored to be present here at the University of Galway and to be nominated as the laureate of the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize.
Europe is in a crisis, one hears every day. The same news was also true when I first went to Germany to study at the University of Heidelberg as well as the second time to do my Master’s thesis in Darmstadt. Still despite the current unhappy news, it has never been easier to travel, to study and to work in another European country. This situation was great for me since even before I went to university I knew that I wanted to spend some time abroad, luckily the European Union and groups like the Coimbra Group had made my decision easy to fulfill.
To live is to learn! I can say that in this the Coimbra Group has succeeded. It has succeeded to enhance the integration of Europe and to make it easier for young, eager minds to deepen the European integration as well as open the minds of scholars willing to experience new. When it comes to fairly new subjects, still constantly changing, like my favorite topic, biotechnology, working together and learning from different angles bring new insights and help to innovate anew. This was especially true in my case. Without the exchange, my Thesis would had been completely different.
Dear Duke of Arenberg, dear Coimbra Group. I am honored that you chose me to be the Arenberg-Coimbra Group laureate this year.

Thank you.


On 22 March the Executive Board approved the result of the selection committee for this year’s Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. The 2013 Laureate is Juho Terrijärvi from the University of Turku and the selection committee’s recommendation follows here:


This year there were nineteen nominations from ten universities for the Arenberg-Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students. The selection committee consisted of Professors Jean-Marie Boisson from the University of Montpellier, Ain Heinaru from the University of Tartu, and Dorothy Kelly from the University of Granada (chair).

The selection committee for the 2013 Arenberg Coimbra Group Prize for Erasmus Students is pleased unanimously to nominate Juho Terrijärvi of the University of Turku (Finland) for this year’s award. Mr Terrijärvi spent his Erasmus exchange at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) during the early months of his Master’s programme in Biotechnology.

During his Erasmus exchange, Mr Terrijärvi took courses in Biotechnology and Chemistry, but very especially was able to join a research project allowing him to acquire considerable experience and expertise in laboratory techniques involving the cultivation of human cancer cells. This laboratory expertise was crucial to his later applying and being selected for a six-month internship at the pharmaceutical company Merck Serono in Darmstadt, where he carried out the research which has formed the basis of his Master’s thesis entitled “Validating uncoordinated 51-like kinase as an oncological target”. The dissertation is devoted to the study of the inhibition of autophagy through the blockage of ULK1 kinase as a potential cancer therapy.

In his application, Mr Terrijärvi outlines the multiple benefits reaped from his Erasmus experience firstly for his Master’s thesis and more broadly for his later academic career. While the actual academic content of his study programme in Heidelberg and the way in which it offered a sound complement to his home course in Turku is underscored as a central element, he also stresses the benefits gained in other areas of competence. In particular, he speaks highly of the importance of the improvement in his language ability in German, in his knowledge of German culture and in his ability to work and live in a different cultural and linguistic environment. Similarly, he explains how the exchange experience offered him a context in which to develop greater personal initiative and autonomy, together with international networking opportunities. He considers that the combination of all these aspects was an essential turning point in his academic and professional career: “without the exchange there would not have been the Master’s thesis”.

Mr Terrijärvi’s application is an excellent all-round example of taking full advantage of the opportunities offered for academic, professional, cultural, linguistic and personal growth during an Erasmus exchange. There is no doubt that these were all essential elements in his obtaining a subsequent industrial placement in Germany to carry out the research on which his Master’s thesis is based, and later his current post at his home University, where he continues to work in international research teams in his field of Biotechnology.

The Committee would like to congratulate Mr Terrijärvi on submitting the application which best justified the added value of the Erasmus experience for his Master’s degree work. We would further like to congratulate the other 18 candidates for this year’s award, all of whom are excellent young international researchers in their fields, and worthy ambassadors of the Coimbra Group universities where they took their degrees and undertook their exchange periods.

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