Academy of Finland grants funding for Finnish-Norwegian research projects in engineering

15 Apr 2021

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering has granted 2 million euros for a new type of research cooperation between Finnish and Norwegian research teams.

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering has granted 2 million euros in funding for three Finnish-Norwegian research projects. The funding, announced as a collaboration between the Academy and the Research Council of Norway (RCN), was granted under an International Co-Investigator Scheme.

The three-year projects funded through the targeted call promote the quality of research, scientific impact and impact beyond academia as well as scientific renewal and diversity. Reko Leino, Chair of the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering, said: “The objective is to achieve internationally high-quality engineering research together with Norwegian partners.”

The applications were of a very high quality: 40 per cent of the applications received an overall rating of 5 or 6.

The funding cooperation supports researcher-driven international collaboration. Within the funding scheme, the Academy and the RCN commit to funding the work of foreign partners of researchers in their own country. The research cooperation is expected to bring significant added value to the funded research projects.

Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research at the Academy of Finland, said: “The call provided funding for pilot projects where the funding was granted to Finnish research organisations. The Finnish research organisation is responsible for the use of funding with a party to the Norwegian research team.”

The new funding cooperation agreement between the Academy and the RCN complements the Academy’s European research funding collaborations. According to Reko Leino, the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering has succeeded in activating engineering researchers beyond expectations.

Funded projects

Academy Research Fellow Isaac Afara (University of Eastern Finland) and Professor Achim Kohler (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) are developing a novel approach based on infrared spectroscopy for monitoring and controlling cartilage tissue growth. If successful, the results of the research could lead to improvements in functional tissue engineering and address the need for viable replacement cartilage for treatment of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis.

Associate Professor Mikko Hokka (Tampere University), Senior Research Scientist Alexandre Kane (SINTEF) and Research Scientist Ruben Bjørge (SINTEF) received funding for an energy engineering project that will develop a new drilling concept. The novel drilling concept uses high-voltage alternating current to weaken Granite rock by piezoelectric actuation of the Quartz mineral. The research is also expected to promote cost-effective geothermal harvesting in Scandinavia.

Professor Marko Huttula (University of Oulu) and Professor Unni Olsbye (University of Oslo) head a chemical engineering project where they study zeolites. Zeolites are materials widely used in industry today and recognised as key catalysts for emerging sustainable processes such as biomass valorisation and CO2 conversion into valuable products.

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