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Funding granted for multidisciplinary research on the Antarctic region

26 Sep 2016

On 26 September 2016, the Academy of Finland made the funding decisions concerning its funding instrument for Antarctic research. The aim of the funding instrument, open for application every three years, is to generate internationally significant breakthroughs in Antarctic research. In accordance with Finland’s Antarctic Research Strategy, the funding supports interactive and multidisciplinary research.

The Academy received a total of 17 Antarctic research plan proposals within the call, which was open in April 2016. Funding will be granted to five proposals for a total sum of about 2 million euros. All funded projects involve international research collaboration.

Funded projects:

Professor Juha Hyyppä (Finnish Geospatial Research Institute) was granted funding for a research project aiming to deepen the knowledge of cryosphere-lithosphere interaction in Antarctica and to improve current and future scenarios of the Antarctic ice sheet contribution to global sea level rise. The project will involve, among other things, measurements of absolute gravity change and development of novel laser scanning methods. It will also aim to improve current Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) models as well as estimates of Antarctic ice mass balance and predictions of Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise.

Adjunct Professor Arto Luttinen (University of Helsinki) received funding for a research project on volcanic eruptions. Flood basalts, the results of giant volcanic eruptions, represent the rarest and greatest mode of volcanism and may have caused mass extinctions. Luttinen’s research team has discovered exceptionally well-preserved, primitive types of flood basalts in Antarctica and Africa. Their pristine, early-formed minerals with tiny pockets of trapped initial magma provide a rare opportunity for combined analysis of trace element, isotope and volatile compositions of initial flood basalts. The team’s results are expected to provide unique insights into the origins and impacts of the world’s largest volcanic eruptions.

Professor Ilya Usoskin (University of Oulu) was granted funding for a project aiming at continuous measurements of cosmic rays in the polar atmosphere. One goal is to measure simultaneously atmospheric aerosols and cosmic rays to study a hypothesis that cosmic rays may affect atmospheric aerosols or clouds. The research will utilise a ground-based cosmic ray detector installed at the Concordia Station in the Antarctic plateau. The proposed location in the Antarctic plateau is the best possible location because it guarantees the greatest variability in the cosmic ray flux. In addition, the extremely clean and fairly isolated troposphere provides the best conditions to study aerosol changes.

Professor Timo Vihma (Finnish Meteorological Institute) received funding for the ASPIRE project, which is aimed at improving our knowledge of the physical processes of Antarctic snow, the atmospheric boundary layer, clouds and atmospheric dynamics. The meteorological conditions in Antarctica are strongly coupled with the underlying snow, but the processes involved are currently poorly understood. The knowledge produced within the project will be used to, for instance, improve weather and climate predictions in the Northern Hemisphere.

The project by University Researcher Phillip Watts (University of Oulu) will sequence the genomes of many Antarctic octopus species to determine whether they are similarly adapted to the depth at which they live. Also, the project will examine the controversial idea that species moved to quite different parts of the Southern Ocean during a previous period of climate change.

Finland joined the Antarctic Treaty in 1984 and established the Aboa research station in 1988. Finland is a consultative member of the Antarctic Treaty, which requires significant scientific research activities in Antarctica. With this funding opportunity, the Academy of Finland contributes to the funding of Antarctic research projects.

More information

  • list of funded projects
  • Science Adviser Outi Oila, tel. +358 295 335 086, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Science Adviser Jukka Tanskanen, tel. +358 295 335 071, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Academy of Finland Communications
Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 131
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Last modified 3 Oct 2016
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