Scientific breakthroughs and new initiatives emphasised in new Academy Projects in natural sciences and engineering

11 Jun 2019

“There were far more Academy Project applications that were deemed excellent (overall rating 5 or 6) by the expert panels than the Research Council could fund. The Council aims to fund research in a wide range of different fields and to take into account the special characteristics of each field. In making funding decisions, the Council especially emphasised high scientific quality, feasibility, novelty and breakthrough potential of the research”, says the Council Chair Reko Leino.

In the September 2018 call, the Academy of Finland decided to allocate all three Research Councils a total of 25 million euros to support early-career researchers. A little less than half of the now funded 86 projects, that is 42, belonged to the call aimed at early-career researchers. The special budget authority of 9.25 million euros reserved for early-career researchers was used in 18 of those 42 projects.“The future of science in natural sciences and engineering seems very promising, as the early-career researchers did very well in the Academy Project call”, says Leino.

These are some of the now funded projects in different fields that show potential for scientific and technological breakthroughs:

Katsuyuki Haneda from Aalto Universityand Xiaoshu Lü from the University of Vaasa concentrate on the new challenges of wireless communications. Stricter regulations concerning the energy performance of buildings call for airtight and energy efficient insulators that reflect radio signals from base stations, thereby interfering with cell phone usage indoors. The consortium project aims to develop a wall that is permeable to signals. Decentralized antennae will be attached on each side of the wall through suitable microwave circuits, eliminating the need for internal cellular network and the resulting costs.

Antti Kosonen from Lappeenranta University of Technology studies the quality of the electrical current produced by power electronics and how it affects the electrolysis capacity of water. The Academy project aims to find energy and cost-efficient solutions to producing electricity-based hydrogen for the market at competitive prices. As meeting the climate goals requires a complete reform of the energy system and industrial manufacture into zero emission systems, the need for renewable electricity-based hydrogen has been estimated to grow rapidly during the next decades. Uses of hydrogen include zero-carbon transport fuels and raw materials for the chemical industry.

Mikko Nissi  from the University of Eastern Finland adapts ultrashort echo time magnetic resonance imaging and develops a new image reconstruction method for it. This enables 3D magnetic imaging that is faster and more accurate. The new method results in an image whose detail and sensitivity are diagnostically better compared to the more traditional anatomical imaging. Additionally, ultrashort echo time magnetic resonance imaging enables the magnetic imaging of tissues that are hard to image, that is, tissues that have no signal.

Jaana Vapaavuori from Aalto University studies the utilization of rigid devices and functional materials as parts of flexible textiles. The project develops methods to transfer nanosized and microsized conponents straight into the textile fibres or into the finished fabric. Additionally, Vapaavuori studies how the flexibility of rigid electrodes can be improved on so that the structural stretch more than triples. Uses for these flexible electrodes include organic solar cells that can be implanted into textiles.

More information:

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

The Academy of Finland funds high-quality scientific research, provides expertise in science and science policy, and strengthens the position of science and research in society.We work to contribute to the renewal, diversification and increasing internationalisation of Finnish research.We support and facilitate researcher training and research careers, internationalisation and the utilisation of research results.Our activities cover the full spectrum of scientific disciplines.In 2019, our funding for research amounts to 458 million euros.A portion of our funding comes from proceeds of Finland’s national gaming company Veikkaus.We are a government agency within the administrative branch of the Finnish Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

Last modified 7 Nov 2019
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