Academy of Finland grants €19m in funding to researchers in natural sciences and engineering

29 Apr 2015

The Academy of Finland has granted a total of 19 million euros in funding for research posts in the field of natural sciences and engineering. Awarded by the Academy’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering, the funding goes towards 38 three-year posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and 22 five-year posts as Academy Research Fellow. In both of these funding opportunities, the number of applications was almost the same as in the previous year. The Research Council received 396 applications for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher and 227 applications for a research post as Academy Research Fellow. The success rate was around 10 per cent.

Postdoctoral Researchers contribute to the renewal of science

The applications for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher were of a very high standard. Successful applicants are expected to conduct research with both scientific and technological impact. The research can also have broader societal impact. Postdoctoral Researchers are internationally mobile researchers with huge potential to deliver fresh ideas. Around a third of those who received funding in this year’s round are foreign nationals. Women accounted for 29 per cent of funding recipients.

Examples of Postdoctoral Researchers funded:

Jaana Vapaavuori (Tampere University of Technology) is seeking to develop new, polymer-based photomechanical materials. By using a supramolecular approach, she will conduct fundamental studies on the key elements of creating materials that convert light energy directly into motion as efficiently as possible. The research will increase our knowledge of the interactions between light and matter. It will potentially also contribute to studies on new energy-conversion schemes.

Emil Vainio (Åbo Akademi University) studies low-temperature corrosion in biomass combustion. Low-temperature corrosion is a problem known to occur especially in connection with combustion of fossil fuels with high sulphur content. The cause of low-temperature corrosion in biomass combustion appears to be dramatically different. The differences are attributable to key factors of biomass combustion: different combustion technology, lower sulphur content and ash composition. By analysing the causes of low-temperature corrosion in combustion of biomass fuels, Vainio aims to pave the way for new anti-corrosion solutions.

Leena Tähkämö (Aalto University) aims to develop a more reliable calculation method to evaluate the environmental impacts of light and light pollution. Previous life-cycle assessments of light sources have not considered the environmental impacts caused by the light from the light sources, since there is no available method for quantifying it in such assessments. This may distort the actual environmental impacts and lead to favouring the wrong light source technologies from a total environmental perspective.

Academy Research Fellows are internationally active scientists

The applications for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher were also of a very high standard. The funding recipients have actively engaged in international research collaborations. Foreign nationals accounted for 36 per cent and women for 23 per cent of the funding recipients. Successful applicants are expected to carry out cutting-edge research during their funding period, thereby establishing themselves in the Finnish scientific community.

Examples of Academy Research Fellows funded:

Satu Ojala (University of Oulu) aims to develop metal oxide materials that can be used both as catalysts for utilisation processes and as sensors for measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOC). The research is based on the utilisation of VOCs, a class of emissions that has excellent potential to be processed catalytically into chemicals or synthesis gas with high economic value. VOC emissions also require new measurement solutions. The development work will be done with the aid of a new spectroscopic technique that is capable of measuring both electric and catalytic properties simultaneously. This allows for fast and economic development of the materials and shortens the time from scientific results to actual implementation.

Matti Mäntysalo (Tampere University of Technology) is seeking to develop epidermal electronics and sensors using nanomaterials and advanced printing technologies. Today, such electronics are rigid, brittle and planar. The interface between the physical world and users should instead be soft, bendy and stretchy. Printed electronics provide soft and flexible structures especially for personal embedded electronics. Such devices could be used, for example, in long-term home-monitoring of patients, thus promoting personal wellbeing, preventive healthcare and a shift from expensive institutional care to home care.

More information:

More information

More information on Postdoctoral Researchers:

  • Science Adviser Maaria Lehtinen, tel. +358 295 335 061
  • Senior Science Adviser Kati Sulonen, tel. +358 295 335 140
  • Science Adviser Jukka Tanskanen, tel. +358 295 335 071

More information on Academy Research Fellows:

  • Science Adviser Jan Bäckman, tel. +358 295 335 010
  • Science Adviser Anna Kalliomäki, tel. +358 295 335 035

Emails: firstname.lastname(at)


Academy of Finland Communications
Anna-Riikka Oravakangas
Communications Trainee
tel. +358 295 335 056

Last modified 6 May 2015
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