The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Virus Research was interested to explore enveloped viruses that infect bacteria and archaea. Its aim was to describe the essential nature of these membrane-containing viruses, particularly viral molecular motors. In addition, researchers at the CoE worked to develop new methods for analysing the structure of viruses.
Information on virus structure was used among other things to study virus evolution and how viruses are related to each other. The four research teams at the CoE included experts in the fields of microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology. The unit was also an Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in Research during the 2000–2005 term.
The CoE was headed by Academy Professor Dennis Bamford.