Academy Projects in health research get EUR 16 million


The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Health has granted Academy Projects a total of some 16 million euros in funding. In the October 2010 call, the Research Council received 146 applications for Academy Project funding. Forty of these were granted funding. The overall funding for Academy Projects increased somewhat on previous years, the average funding per project being some 450,000 euros.  

Academy Projects are the key funding opportunity provided by the Academy in that they offer funding for projects where the researchers themselves have selected the topics. Such non-tied project funding is a way to guarantee renewal in scientific disciplines as well as the freedom of scientific research. Academy Project funding provides the best research projects with four-year funding. Most of the researchers in these projects have completed their doctorates and the research is carried out in international cooperation that may involve researcher mobility to and from Finland.

Academy Project funding was granted, for example, to the following researchers:

Johanna Schleutker (University of Tampere) is researching the hereditary components of prostate cancer susceptibility. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men worldwide, but there are currently no reliable means to distinguish the risk for aggressive prostate cancer from the majority of indolent cases. Schleutker aims to identify and characterise predisposing genes and variants, especially those affecting aggressive disease outcome, including treatment responses to therapies. The molecular findings will be translated into clinical benefits leading to improved diagnosis, prognosis and management of prostate cancer. Specific variants could be an important part of future applications, such as targeted PSA screening.

Hasse Karlsson (University of Turku) is researching the effects of events during the prenatal period and early infancy on both the quality of life and health-related issues in adulthood. A particular focus of the research is on depression and cardiovascular disorders. The FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study is a large study that focuses on child brain development by collecting data from genes, developmental psychology, neuropsychology, paediatrics and registers. The data collected can be applied in the development of measures promoting the welfare and health of families, children and young people.

Olli Silvennoinen (University of Tampere) is investigating the molecular mechanisms of cytokine signalling. Silvennoinen’s goal is to implement the information to dissect disease mechanisms and evaluate therapeutic strategies through proof-of-principle experiments in in vivo models and clinical material. The focus is on the group’s recent finding of a novel function of the pseudokinase domain in JAK kinases and its role in the regulation of normal and pathogenic cytokine signalling. The group’s second project will characterise the role of the Tudor-SN protein in normal physiology as well as in cancer and allergy by utilising the generated Tudor-SN knockout mouse model and applying genome-wide and proteomic analysis and analysis of clinical samples.

More information:    

  • Academy Projects funded by the Research Council
  • Science Adviser Aki Salo, tel. +358 40 591 3596
  • Science Adviser Heikki Vilen, tel. +358 40 518 8932
  • Science Adviser Sara Illman, tel. +358 40 012 5236
  • Science Adviser Kaisa Koli, tel. +358 40 162 6929

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Vesa Varpula
tel. +358 9 7748 8458

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