€13.4m granted to Academy Projects in health research – competition for funding is tougher than ever

28 Apr 2016

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Health has granted a total of 13.4 million euros in Academy Project funding to 28 research projects. That puts the success rate in this year’s funding round at 13 per cent. Last year, the success rate was 16 per cent. Many of the projects that did not receive funding were at a high international level. Compared to last year, the funds earmarked for the Academy of Finland in the government budget for research post and Academy Project funding have been reduced. This inevitably leads to a lower success rate.

In making its funding decisions, the Research Council for Health was keen to emphasise the scientific quality and impact of the projects as well as research in support of science renewal. A key goal of the Research Council is to provide a broad range of support to the health research field. The funded projects explore, for instance, the causes and mechanisms of different diseases, new forms of therapy for eye diseases and how to achieve healthier ageing.

Examples of funded projects

Laura Elo-Uhlgren heads a project that aims at developing a computational model for the prediction of early disease and treatment risk. Elo-Uhlgren’s team at the University of Turku will analyse the variation of marker substances detected in follow-up studies to try to understand how different diseases progress. The objective is to develop strategies for individualised prediction of disease and treatment risks so that the risks could be detected as reliably and early as possible. The project is also anticipated to accelerate development of improved diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of complex diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The Research Council for Health considered the project to have potential for significant impact.

Academy Research Fellow Matias Palva was granted funding for a project at the University of Helsinki studying the functional significance of neuronal criticality in human cognition and mental disorders. The project will also test whether abnormal criticality could play a role in the symptoms of major depressive disorder and epilepsy. The Research Council for Health especially praised the project’s innovative and radical approach. The chosen approach means that the project can be expected to provide new breakthroughs as regards understanding brain function.

Juha Pekkanen and Martin Täubel received funding for their project on factors that promote indoor air quality. Conducted at the University of Helsinki and the National Institute for Health and Welfare, the research project is based on the premise that the rich microbial environment of farms is associated with protection from asthma. In their individual projects, Pekkanen and Täubel have also concluded that the greater the similarity to typical farmhouse microbiome in a house, the lower the risk of asthma in children living in that house. In their new project, Pekkanen and Täubel will investigate which constituents define the asthma protective capacity of indoor microbiome and whether it is possible to modify the home microbiome to make it health-promoting by introducing farm dust in the home.

More information:

  • List of funded projects
  • Science Adviser Antti Hautaniemi, tel. +358 295 335 006, firstname.lastname(at)


Academy of Finland Communications

Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist

tel. +358 295 335 131


More information

Academy of Finland Communications
Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 131

Last modified 11 May 2016
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