The Academy of Finland's Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering funds collaboration between Postdoctoral Researchers and societal actors

8 May 2019

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering has decided on funding for 43 new Postdoctoral Researchers. The funding totals around 11 million euros. The application success rate was about 16 per cent. 28 per cent of the funded Academy Research Fellows are women. Women accounted for approximately 24 per cent or the applicants.

All the funded applications received an overall rating of either 6 or 5. In their funding decisions, the Council emphasised the importance of the applicant’s qualifications and the high scientific quality of the research.  Other funding criteria included the applicant’s mobility in support of increased independence, especially the quality of planned mobility as well as its added value for the research plan and the applicant’s career in research.

“The Council finds it important that researchers and societal actors collaborate actively. During this call the Council had a trial run of reserving a part of postdoctoral researcher funding for promoting collaboration. It is essential to collaborate in tackling significant challenges, such as climate change, energy supplies and future health care”, says the Council Chair Reko Leino.

The funded postdoctoral research projects have a significant societal impact

Sara-Maaria Alatalo from the University of Eastern Finland produces noble-metal-free photoactive graphitic nano carbons which can be used in effectively splitting water to produce hydrogen on the visible light spectrum. Development of sustainable materials is among the greatest challenges in materials science.

Robert Hartmann from the Aalto University studies a new type of sustainable froth flotation chemical that is a by-product of the pulp and paper industry and the food industry. The chemical can be used to reduce the environmental impact of lithium-ion-battery production. These batteries are made of elements such as lithium, cobalt and copper, which are difficult to process. In Finland, deposits exist which consist of minerals bearing these elements. This could be a chance for Finland to become a supplier of these elements, if the problems in mineral processing can be solved. Currently the minerals are enriched by froth flotation which is a process that requires several toxic chemicals.

Sarah Mailhiot from the University of Oulu aims to develop and study a new cement material, using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The production of cement is estimated to account for 25% of human carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. The aim of the project is to produce a new cement material with low or zero carbon dioxide emissions.

Saija Saarni from the University of Helsinki will in her project concentrate on increasing our knowledge on spatially and temporally varying flux rates of plastic in the coastal regions of the Baltic Sea and examine the factors that control the sedimentation of microplastics. Microplastics are a recognised risk for the environment. However, our current understanding of the impact of microplastics on aquatic environments is inadequate.

More information and inquiries

  • Science Adviser Soile Kukkonen, tel. +358 295 335 037, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Senior Science Adviser Maaria Lehtinen, tel. +358 295 335 061, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Science Adviser Minna Räisänen, tel. +358 295 335 072, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Senior Science Adviser Kati Sulonen, tel. +358 295 335 110, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

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