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Nordic research collaboration expected to provide solutions to climate and energy issues

Nordic research collaboration is expected to contribute to responding to challenges in future energy solutions and the management of climate change. Finnish research teams are therefore strongly represented in the new Nordic Centres of Excellence and research projects of the Top-level Research Initiative launched by the Nordic prime ministers.

The Top-level Research Initiative (TRI), which is jointly funded by Nordic research funding agencies and ministries, will focus on research on climate change and energy issues. The initiative comprises six sub-programmes, two of which will focus on climate change research and four on energy research. In Finland, the Top-level Research Initiative is funded by the Academy of Finland and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

The themes of the sub-programmes within climate change research are effect studies and adaptation to climate change, and the interaction between climate change and cryosphere. The cryosphere is the term which collectively describes the portions of the Earth’s surface where water is in solid form. It is a predominant feature of the arctic and subarctic regions and large parts of the North.

Three new Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoEs) will be funded within the TRI sub-programme “Effect Studies and Adaptation to Climate Change”; one of these is headed by Lauri Oksanen from the University of Turku and Finnmark University College (Norway). In his project, Oksanen and his team will investigate how to preserve the tundra in a warming climate. The NCoE also involves research teams from the Universities of Turku and Lapland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. These teams are headed by Pekka Niemelä (University of Turku), Bruce Forbes (University of Lapland), Jouni Pulliainen (University of Eastern Finland), Erkki Korpimäki (University of Turku) and Jukka Käyhkö (University of Turku).

Two Finnish research teams are participating in the new NCoE “Climate Change Effects on Marine Ecosystems and Resource Economics”, headed by Erik Bonsdorff (Åbo Akademi University) and Marko Lindroos (University of Helsinki). Lasse Peltonen’s research team from Aalto University is involved in the NCoE “Nordic Strategic Adaptation Research”.

Three new NCoEs will also be funded within the sub-programme “Interactions between Climate Change and the Cryosphere”; one of these is headed by Markku Kulmala from the University of Helsinki. Kulmala’s project will focus on the role played by short-lived pollutants and aerosol-cloud interactions and their linkages with cryospheric changes and the climate. The project involves teams from the Universities of Helsinki and Eastern Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Besides Kulmala, the teams are also headed by Ari Laaksonen (University of Eastern Finland) and Gerrit de Leeuw (University of Eastern Finland).

The other NCoEs focusing on the interaction between climate change and the cryosphere will study changes in ice sheets, glaciers and permafrost. The teams researching ice sheets and glaciers are headed by Thomas Zwinger (CSC – IT Center for Science), Heikki Järvinen (University of Eastern Finland) and John Moore (Arctic Centre/University of Lapland). The teams studying permafrost are headed by Pertti Martikainen (University of Eastern Finland) and Timo Vesala (University of Helsinki).

Energy efficiency, biofuels and wind power

The TRI sub-programmes focusing on energy research will investigate how to improve energy efficiency by means of nanotechnology, how to support wind power development and how to produce sustainable biofuels.

The research on energy efficiency will develop environmentally friendly, paper-based batteries and nanocoatings with improved conductivity properties, for instance. The Finnish researchers involved in these projects are Maria Smolander and Lasse Makkonen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Harri Lipsanen from Aalto University. VTT also participates in projects within the sub-programme focusing on biofuels. Together with the Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation CLEEN Ltd, VTT is also involved in one of the projects that will investigate wind power. The project aims to improve the predictability of winds, waves and ice formation. Further, one sub-programme will investigate carbon capture and storage.

More information:

  • Programme Manager Paavo-Petri Ahonen (climate change management and adaptation), Academy of Finland, tel. +358 (0)40 189 6233, paavo-petri.ahonen(at)aka.fi
  • Science Adviser Harri Hautala (climate change and cryosphere), Academy of Finland, tel. +358 (0)40 180 4382, harri.hautala(at)aka.fi
  • Programme Manager Anssi Mälkki (energy efficieny and nanotechnoloy), Academy of Finland, tel. +358 (0)40 702 7921, anssi.malkki(at)aka.fi

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Manager Riitta Tirronen
tel. +358 (0)9 7748 8369, +358 (0)40 828 1724
riitta.tirronen(at)aka.fi

 

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