Finland receives three significant ERC Advanced Grants

3 Apr 2020

The European Research Council (ERC) granted a five-year Advanced Grant on 31 March 2020 to a total of 185 researchers in the 2019 application round. In Finland, grants were received by Professor Jan Klabbers from the University of Helsinki, Professor Christina Salmivalli from the University of Turku and Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala from the University of Eastern Finland.

The ERC Advanced Grant is the largest personal research grant available in Europe. The Advanced Grant is awarded to established research directors and top researchers who have achieved significant results in their respective fields over the course of the past ten years. The grant covers a period of five years with a total value of approximately EUR 2.5 million.

The ERC awarded grants to a total of 185 researchers through the 2019 Advanced Grant competition. The purpose of the funding is to support new and innovative research projects that strengthen the European knowledge base and European research work. It is one of Europe’s most competed-for and coveted grants.

Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala wins his third Advanced Grant for his research into severe coronary heart disease and heart failure

For a third consecutive time, the ERC has awarded a grant to Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala of the University of Eastern Finland. He is the first in Finland to achieve such a feat and joins only 19 researchers across Europe who have received the ERC Advanced Grant three times.

The ERC grant won by Ylä-Herttuala was awarded for the purposes of research into severe coronary heart disease and heart failure. The research project develops novel vascular growth factor molecules. These molecules make it possible to perform what is known as a biological bypass, which is used to improve blood circulation in a heart suffering from ischemia and improve metabolism and energy supply, particularly in hearts suffering from heart failure.

Ylä-Herttuala has enjoyed three terms as an academy professor with funding from the Academy of Finland from 2005 to 2020. Additionally, he has headed a research team, funded by the Academy of Finland, at the Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease during the 2014–2019 term.

Funded by the ERC Advanced Grant, the tension between intergovernmental organisations and the private sector is examined in the project of Professor Jan Klabbers

The ERC-funded project of University of Helsinki Professor of International Law Jan Klabbers examines how widespread the private sector’s involvement in the activities of intergovernmental organisations is and in what ways legislation that applies to these organisations responds to this involvement. Additionally, Klabbers’s research team looks into what the effect of this tension is on the framework that acts as the basis of law. The goal of the project is to develop legislation in relation to intragovernmental organisations with the intention of creating a stable theoretical legislative basis that takes the organisations’ significant influence on the world into account.

Klabbers was the first to hold the Martti Ahtisaari Professorship in Peace Research and International Conflict Management funded by the Academy of Finland from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2018. Additionally, he headed the Academy of Finland-funded Centre of Excellence in Global Governance Research from 2006 to 2011.

Professor Christina Salmivalli has received the ERC Advanced Grant for research into persistent bullying cases

University of Turku Professor of Psychology Christina Salmivalli’s ERC Advanced Grant advances research into bullying. The grant will be used to study why interventions into bullying sometimes do not work and what factors can be used to explain challenging cases of bullying with the use of longitudinal studies, experimental set-ups and molecular genetics. By exploring these causes, new operational models can be created for intervening in various types of challenging cases of bullying.

Salmivalli is currently the deputy head of INVEST – Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State, which is funded by the Academy of Finland. She also won the Finnish Science Award in 2017, awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture in recognition of significant scientific achievement.

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Additional information

ERC grants are one of Europe’s most respected research funding schemes. Every year, Starting Grants are awarded to researchers who are in the early stages of their careers, Consolidator Grants are awarded to those in the middle stages of their careers and Advanced Grants are awarded to well-established researchers. In addition to a high scientific standard, applicants need to display perspectives that reshape our scientific understanding.

The Academy of Finland organises nationwide interview training for those going into the second stage of interviews in the Starting Grant and Consolidator Grant competitions. The European Research Council funds excellent basic research in all scientific fields.

  • Science Adviser Annika Raitala, tel. +358 29 533 5097

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