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Academy of Finland grants €22m for biosciences and environmental research

16 May 2017

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences and Environment has granted 22 million euros in funding to 42 research projects consisting of a total of 50 research teams. The funding was granted under the Academy Project funding scheme.

The success rate rose to 18 per cent from 15 per cent last year. The higher success rate compared to the last few years was made possible thanks to the additional funds allocated to the Academy of Finland in the state budget for 2017. The additional funds enabled the Research Council for Biosciences and Environment to support more high-quality projects than before under the Academy Project funding scheme.

In its funding decisions, the Research Council focused on initiatives that promote science renewal, societal impact, equality and talented researchers in a buoyant career phase.

The success rate for female applicants increased significantly compared to previous years. Women secured 48 per cent of the funding granted in this round, compared to some 37 per cent in the three previous rounds.

Examples of funded projects

Eleni Giannakaki (Finnish Meteorological Institute) was granted funding for a project that utilises active remote sensing for real-time characterisation of atmospheric pollen. Pollen is one of the main causes of allergies and its impact on human health may increase due to climate change. Specific measurements are needed to separate man-made air pollution from natural sources of pollution such as pollen. Giannakaki’s project will use sophisticated laser measurement techniques to retrieve missing long-term and real-time information on pollen properties. The data will be further used to validate a pollen model and to utilise space-borne lidar for a spatial distribution of pollen.

Leena Lindström (University of Jyväskylä) studies human-induced trans-generational stress tolerance and invasion success. Humanity’s influence on the Earth is so great that it constitutes a whole new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Despite the ongoing sixth mass extinction, we are witnessing the success and rapid spread of some organisms into new areas. The success of invasive species may result from their excellent ability to adapt to varying conditions. Lindström’s project aims to assess the human contribution to the development of stress resistance in invasive species. Her team will estimate the relative roles of genetic background, trans-generational effects and human-induced selection on stress tolerance. The project’s results will serve both basic research and improve the sustainable implementation of invasive species strategy.

Mika Nieminen (Natural Resources Institute Finland) and Markku Ollikainen (University of Helsinki) were granted funding for a project that will compare continuous cover forestry (CCF) with even-aged forest management on drained organic soils from socio-economic and environmental perspectives. They will test the hypothesis that CCF is an environmentally better alternative to even-aged forestry because of lower greenhouse gas emissions and water-borne carbon, nutrient and sediment exports. The project will also test whether the avoided investment costs in CCF management improve its economic outcome. CCF does not necessarily require soil preparation and planting, seedling stand management or ditch network maintenance, if there is sufficient natural regeneration and if the tree stand is kept sufficiently stocked.

Inquiries

  • Science Adviser Jaana Lehtimäki, tel. +358 295 335 060, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Science Adviser Päivi Lindfors, tel. +358 295 335 028, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Science Adviser Timo Sareneva, tel. +358 295 335 106, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Science Adviser Kata-Riina Valosaari, tel. +358 295 335 128, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Click here to view the full list of funded projects.

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

The Academy of Finland’s mission is to fund high-quality scientific research, provide expertise in science and science policy, and strengthen the position of science and research. In 2017, our funding for research amounts to 437 million euros. Part of our funds (€70.7m in 2017) come from proceeds of Finland’s national gaming company Veikkaus.

Last modified 16 May 2017
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