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EUR 21.7 million to research posts in natural sciences and engineering

4 May 2012

At its meeting on 4 May 2012, the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering granted a total of EUR 21.7 million for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and Academy Research Fellow. The funding is allocated to 48 new, three-year research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and 20 new, five-year research posts as Academy Research Fellow. Within the Academy’s September 2011 call, the Research Council received 244 applications for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and 166 applications for research posts as Academy Research Fellow.

Postdoctoral Researchers nationally and internationally networked

The Academy is involved in the operations of five of the Finnish Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation by funding research in their thematic fields. Postdoctoral Researcher funding was granted to, for instance, Ville Lehtola, DScTech (Aalto University), whose research is affiliated with the thematic area of the strategic centre for the built environment, RYM Ltd. Lehtola works to develop data processing methods that automatically produce 3D virtual models for existing game engines from LiDAR data and captured camera images. LiDAR is an optical remote sensing technology whose potential includes photorealistic 3D modelling of building interiors. If used to provide virtual visits, it has revolutionary potential in the real-estate business, for example.

Nearly one-third of the applicants for research posts as Postdoctoral Researchers have a foreign background. The number of foreign applicants increased by 25 per cent from the year before. Nearly one in four of those who were granted funding are foreign researchers, and most of them have come to Finland after gaining their doctorate. One the recipients of Postdoctoral Researcher funding is Nonne Prisle, PhD (University of Helsinki), who is investigating the basic chemical properties of particles in the atmosphere and the ways in which they influence the formation of clouds. Clouds are the greatest cause of uncertainty in model prediction of global climate. The research will involve both Finnish, Nordic and European researchers.

More than half of the new Postdoctoral Researchers will carry out part of their research at a foreign research organisation. Mikko Pakkanen, PhD (University of Vaasa and Aarhus University, Denmark), is researching ambit processes, which are probabilistic models of random phenomena that evolve over time. In particular, these ambit processes can be used to capture variations in the magnitude of random fluctuations, that is, volatility. Ambit processes are viable models of features such as energy prices (especially electricity prices), but they can also be used to describe, for instance, turbulence and tumour growth. The aim of the project is to gain more knowledge of the mathematical properties of ambit processes, to develop statistical methods to estimate the parameters of ambit processes using large datasets, and to understand economic properties of price models based on ambit processes.

Academy Research Fellow funding helps advanced researchers gain further competence

The applications for Academy Research Fellow funding were of a high quality, and the Research Council could fund only every tenth applicant. Those who were granted funding are aged 30‒39 and one-fifth are women. More than half of the new Academy Research Fellows have worked abroad after gaining their doctorate, and nearly one-third intend to spend more than twelve months abroad during their term. More than half of the new Academy Research Fellows have previously had or presently have Postdoctoral Researcher funding from the Academy.

The new Academy Research Fellows are researching, for instance, the following topics:

Mika Järvinen, DScTech (Aalto University), is working to develop effective simulation methods and tools for processes involving complex multiphase reactions combined with mass transfer limitations. Better models help systematically save energy, materials and money. The models will also be used for environmental protection in the steel industry, for instance. The project is affiliated with the strategic centre for metal products and mechanical engineering, FIMECC Ltd.

Leena Ukkonen, DScTech (Tampere University of Technology), is researching advanced antenna structures. Wireless identification and sensing systems have a huge potential to enhance the quality of life in, for instance, the fields of healthcare, security, environmental sensing and the efficient use and recycling of natural resources. The aim of the project is to develop microscopic antenna structures for implanted and embedded microscopic wireless identification and sensing systems.

More information:

  • Decision communication on Postdoctoral Researchers
  • Decision communication on Academy Research Fellows
  • Postdoctoral Researchers: Science Adviser Maaria Lehtinen, tel. +358 9 7748 8484, maaria.lehtinen(at)aka.fi, Science Adviser Johanna Törnroos, tel. +358 9 7748 8260, johanna.tornroos(at)aka.fi, and Science Adviser Tommi Laitinen, tel. +358 9 7748 8209, tommi.laitinen(at)aka.fi
  • Academy Research Fellows: Science Adviser Jan Bäckman, tel. +358 9 7748 8394, jan.backman(at)aka.fi

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Vesa Varpula
tel. +358 9 7748 8458
vesa.varpula(at)aka.fi

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