Birgit Aasa has received two prizes in the context of the National Contest for University Students, an annual competition for theses promoted by the Estonian Research Council and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.
Aasa was awarded the first prize for the best doctoral thesis in the field of social sciences, as well as one of the four special prizes given out in the competition by the Estonian Academy of Sciences, for her thesis The principle of mutual trust in EU law: what is in a name?. Aasa defended her thesis at the EUI Law Department in February 2021, under the supervision of Professor Urška Šadl.
This year, just short of 500 applicants took part in the competition, which is open to all students and researchers studying in Estonia, as well as Estonian students carrying out research abroad. In this context, to receive two such high-level distinctions makes the achievement all the more outstanding, as was noted during the award ceremony. "I was overly honoured and surprised," mentions Aasa.
The award ceremony itself, shared Aasa, provided her additionally the opportunity to present her doctoral research for the first time in Estonia and in Estonian, at the Academy of Sciences. "But the most memorable aspect of the ceremony," recalls Aasa, "was when one member of the committee, also an EUI Alumna, came to me to say that it was an honour for her to read my thesis. Such kind words really move and motivate."
Reflecting on the role that the EUI and the Law Department played in her academic journey, Aasa remarks on the phenomenal support and inspiration she received from her supervisor, Professor Urška Šadl, and all of the other faculty members who encouraged and engaged with her work throughout her PhD, especially Professors Deirdre Curtin, Bruno De Witte, Marise Cremona and Gabor Halmai, without whom "this thesis and prizes would have not been possible."