Academy grants €9.6m in funding for Academy Research Fellows in natural sciences and engineering

10 May 2016

The Academy of Finland has decided to grant 9.6 million euros in funding for research posts as Academy Research Fellows in the natural sciences and engineering field. The funding, decided by the Academy’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering, goes towards 22 five-year posts as Academy Research Fellow. In the Academy’s September 2016 call, the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering received in all 238 applications for funding for Academy Research Fellow posts. The success rate was around 9 per cent. Women and foreign applicants both account for 18 per cent of the funding recipients.

Excellent researchers in mechanical engineering and materials science

The Research Council received a great number of excellent applications, especially in materials science and technology as well as in mechanical engineering and manufacturing technology. During their funding periods, the Academy Research Fellows are expected to achieve scientific breakthroughs and to cement their position in the Finnish scientific community.

Examples of funded Academy Research Fellows:

DSc (Tech) Timo Saksala from Tampere University of Technology explores advanced rock drilling technologies. In traditional rock drilling, the rock breakage is caused by mechanical loading only. New drilling techniques include microwave- and waterjet-assisted rock drilling. Saksala aims to develop a model of these new rock drilling techniques. The research project and the developed model have both considerable scientific and practical impact. The results of the project will also be useful for the industry that manufactures conventional drilling equipment.

DSc (Tech) Veikko Sariola from Aalto University develops materials and surfaces for bioinspired soft robots with applications in surgery, for instance. Sariola will use materials such as rubbers and biomaterials to fabricate sticky soft robots. The adhesive surfaces used in the project include surfaces inspired by geckos and adhesives inspired by mussels. Sariola will fabricate fully functional sensors into soft robots and validate the biocompatibility of the developed robots both in vitro and in vivo.

PhD Vivek Sharma from the University of Helsinki studies the function of natural molecular machines such as proteins and DNA. The research, a line of computational biophysics, will include modelling the natural function of these biological nanomachines in order to learn what happens when they malfunction and how to repair such malfunctions. Eventually, Sharma expects to develop remedies that will treat various diseases caused by these dysfunctional machines.

DSc (Tech) Johanna Virkki from Tampere University of Technology investigates novel materials and fabrication methods for wearable humidity and strain sensors. She will fabricate flexible and reliable antennas and interconnections to be embedded into textile materials using conductive yarns and 3D-printed materials. The results achieved in the research project will benefit the healthcare and wellbeing industry, for instance. The research will be a collaboration between top research groups in Finland, China and Japan.

More information

  • Funded Academy Research Fellows
  • Science Adviser Jan Bäckman, tel. +358 295 335 010, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Science Adviser Anna Kalliomäki, tel. +358 295 335 035, firstname.lastname(at)

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

Last modified 11 May 2016
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