Research infrastructures receive substantial funding
The Academy of Finland has provided some EUR 26 million in funding for research infrastructures. Research infrastructures constitute a pool of research tools, equipment, datasets and services that facilitate and promote research and development. The projects to be funded are large-scale facilities prioritised and regarded scientifically significant by universities and research institutes.
“There has long been a growing need for infrastructure funding. We’ve now carried out an extensive national call that will provide potential for the further development of research environments,” explains Dr Riitta Mustonen, Vice President (Research) of the Academy of Finland.
Within the 2010 infrastructure call, funding was granted to a total of 26 projects; 17 of these are associated with a European-level survey, the ESFRI roadmap, or with the Finnish roadmap that mapped out the research infrastructure needs vital to Finland. Several countries have drawn up similar roadmaps and related funding schemes.
One of the funded infrastructure projects, the ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) project, is an integrated European research infrastructure that consists of national measurement stations. It will produce long-term, unified, precise and quality-controlled greenhouse gas time series to meet the needs of research and emission monitoring and mitigation. Finland has applied for the establishment of the headquarters of the European ICOS project in Finland.
The Biomedinfra project of the University of Helsinki received funding for building infrastructures focusing on three related pillars:
1) Developing improved biobanking infrastructures for biomedical research and discovery
2) High-performance computing infrastructure for facilitating next-generation biomedical data analysis needs
3) Translational infrastructure to facilitate future clinical and industrial benefits, focusing on the application of biobanks to advance diagnostics and personalised medicine.
Biomedinfra is a consortium of three Finnish organisations included in the ESFRI project and listed in the national roadmap for research infrastructures.
The Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) was granted funding for construction costs. A separate unit of the University of Tampere, the FSD archives and disseminates national and international digital research data for the scientific community. In the next few years, the FSD will work to offer even more comprehensive and versatile data reserves and services. The FSD is also involved in ESFRI work.
Micronova, a joint research centre of Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland for R&D on micro- and nanotechnology, was granted funding both for improving electron beam lithography (EBL) and atomic layer deposition of metals (metal-ALD). EBL is used for a number of cutting-edge research projects, which may lead, or have already led to, scientific breakthroughs such as the quantum metrological triangle and the single-electron-based realisation of the unit ampere, graphene as a quantum nanomechanical element, and carbon nanotube memory devices. The ALD reactor is aimed at depositing conductive, metallic thin films by plasma enhanced ALD.
The aim of the infrastructure call (FIRI 2010) is to enhance the quality of Finnish science and research, to improve its competitiveness and capacity for renewal, to promote interdisciplinarity, to increase the attractiveness of Finnish research environments, and to promote both national and international cooperation between university research teams and individual researchers. Research infrastructures also serve to support researcher training and the development and application of scientific competencies and knowledge capital.
More information on research infrastructures: ESFRI:
• Academy of Finland: Senior Science Adviser Eeva Ikonen, tel. +359 9 7748 8233, eeva.ikonen(at)aka.fi
• Academy of Finland: Senior Science Adviser Hannele Kurki, tel. +358 9 7748 8398, hannele.kurki(at)aka.fi
• National roadmap: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture: Counsellor of Education Petteri Kauppinen, tel. +358 9 1607 7479, petteri.kauppinen(at)minedu.fi
More information on the above projects:
• Professor Timo Vesala, University of Helsinki, Dynamicum, tel. +358 50 415 4767, timo.vesala(at)helsinki.fi
• Director Olli Kallioniemi, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), tel. +358 9 191 25731, Olli.Kallioniemi(at)helsinki.fi
• Director Sami Borg, Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD), tel. +358 3 3551 8524, sami.borg(at)uta.fi
• Director Veli-Matti Airaksinen, Micronova, tel. +358 9 470 26075, veli-matti.airaksinen(at)aalto.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Leena Vähäkylä
tel. +358 9 7748 8327