Academy of Finland selects Academy Projects in biosciences, health and environmental research

26 May 2021

Funding totalling approximately 40 million euros was granted for research projects of a high scientific standard.

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment today granted funding for 80 Academy Projects that include a total of 94 subprojects. The funding totals around 40 million euros. The success rate was about 18 per cent.

The aim of the Academy Project funding opportunity is to attain internationally as high a scientific standard of research as possible and to support scientific renewal and top-tier international research collaboration. Academy Projects employ researchers from different career stages for several years. Academy Projects are among the most important funding schemes of the Academy in terms of the number of applications, the number of grants and the volume of funding.

The most important criterion in the funding decisions made by the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment was the high scientific level of research. The Research Council also emphasised potential impact.

Ursula Schwab, the Chair of the Research Council, said: “The level of the applications was very high. All funded applications received a rating of 5 or 6 in the scientific review. As a result of the intense competition, a disappointingly large number of excellent applications could not be funded.”

Academic Project funding also supports the career development of early-career researchers and helps them grow into research project leaders. In this round, the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment funded 13 projects headed by early-career researchers.

The Research Council also granted shorter-term, two-year funding for eight projects classified as containing high risks but also a high scientific quality. Their potential was estimated to be so significant that the Research Council wanted to support their start-up.

The Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment funds a wide range of Academy Projects. Examples of funded projects:

Peppi Karppinen (University of Oulu) heads a research project that is aimed at preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of progressive dementia with no curative treatment. Alzheimer’s disease causes a huge burden to patients, families and the healthcare system. Karppinen’s objective is to investigate members of the enzyme family of 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases (2OGDD) as novel treatment targets in neurological and other diseases. Karppinen will especially study activation of the hypoxia response pathway via inhibition of key cellular oxygen sensors as a novel treatment concept.

Juha-Pekka Salminen (University of Turku) heads a project that aims to develop and use new tools for accurately analysing the chemical diversity found in the plant and insect kingdom. The project will build predictive models for emerging herbivore pests in changing landscapes and climates. For insect chemistry, the project will uses a new innovation, the MetaboKIT tool, which can reveal the most important chemical parameters of plants against insects and the abilities of insects to handle plant defences. The tools to be developed can also be used to link changes in global biodiversity to subsequent changes in nature’s chemical diversity.

Markus Skrifvars (Helsinki University Hospital) heads a research project on recovery from cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest affects some 350,000 people each year in Europe. With rapid cardiopulmonary resuscitation the heart can be restarted in about half of all cases, and these patients require treatment in an intensive care unit. Patients’ chances of recovery are influenced by the state of the blood flow and by the possibility of hypoxic brain injury. One way of maintaining blood supply to organs is making sure that the blood pressure is high enough. Skrifvars’ project will investigate whether this really benefits patients.

Inquiries and more information

  • List of funded projects
  • Funding criteria and policies of the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment
  • Sirpa Nuotio, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 082
  • Suvi Broholm, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 045
  • Anni Kleino, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 161
  • Jaana Lehtimäki, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 060
  • Annika Raitala, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 097
  • Aki Salo, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 104
  • Timo Sareneva, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 106
  • Anne Uutela, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 107

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Academy of Finland Communications
Pekka Rautio, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 040

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