EUR 31 million to Academy Projects in natural sciences and engineering

10 June 2013

The Academy of Finland has granted some EUR 31 million to Academy Projects in natural sciences and engineering. Within the September 2012 call, the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering received a total of 436 applications for Academy Project funding. The success rate was about 16 per cent. Academy Project funding is designed to promote the diversity of research and its capacity for renewal. All of the funded Academy Projects involve international research collaboration, and about one-fifth of the funding recipients are foreign researchers.

Examples of funded Academy Projects:

FiDiPro Professor Anita Lloyd Spetz (University of Oulu) is working to develop simple and inexpensive methods to detect potentially toxic effects of nanoparticles (NPs) on cells. The health status of cells during exposure to NPs is monitored in a CMOS-based cell clinic developed at the University of Maryland. The project is expected to create new knowledge of, for example, lab-on-a-chip, the toxicity and synthesising of NPs and sensor technology. Lloyd Spetz’s project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Maryland.

Professor Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma (University of Helsinki) is investigating the design, synthesis and biological activity of selective antimicrobial agents against intracellular pathogens. The project will apply molecular modelling and modern methods of organic synthesis to prepare novel compounds that selectively inhibit the growth of Chlamydia pneumoniae and Leishmania donovani. C. pneumoniae is an intracellular bacterium whose chronic form has been associated with serious diseases, such as atherosclerosis. L. donovani, in turn, is an intracellular protozoan parasite that causes fatal visceral leishmaniasis.

Professor Ari Koskelainen (Aalto University) is researching to develop a method for temperature determination of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. At present, no non-invasive methods are available for determination of the RPE temperature inside the eye, but in the future, treatment approaches of degenerative retinal diseases may be based on heating of the RPE cells by near-infrared light through the optical pathway of the eye. The method, based on two intrinsic molecular thermometer mechanisms in photoreceptor outer segments, is expected to cover temperatures up to 45 ̊C.

Professor Jarmo Partanen (Lappeenranta University of Technology) aims to develop methodology for a techno-economic analysis of large-scale application of energy storage in smart electricity distribution networks. Another aim is to develop algorithms for optimal investment decisions and operation of batteries in the long-term development of electricity distribution networks and in their daily operation. By applying these methods, the project will study the outlook for future distribution systems and their benefits. It is expected to yield high-level scientific results related to the interaction of energy storage and the electricity distribution networks. A hypothesis is that the future load profiles in electricity distribution networks will be almost flat (constant) based on successful management of active resources connected to the grid.  

More information:

  • list of Academy Projects
  • Science Adviser Outi Oila, tel. +358 29 533 5086, Science Adviser Hanna Pikkarainen, tel. +358 29 533 5045, Senior Science Adviser Juha Latikka, tel. +358 29 533 5058, firstname.lastname(at)

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Specialist Vesa Varpula
tel. +358 29 533 5131

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