Academy of Finland selects Academy Research Fellows in biosciences, health and environment

3 May 2021

The Academy’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment made the decisions emphasising the high scientific quality of the projects, the upward career progression of the applicants and a focus on international cooperation.

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment today decided to fund 24 new posts as Academy Research Fellow.

Besides the high scientific quality of the application and the qualifications of the applicant, the Research Council emphasised the importance of a clear, upward career path that shows signs of increasing independence and solid international engagement. The Research Council’s decisions were made taking into account the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mobility and mobility plans.

In this round, the Research Council’s funding for Academy Research Fellows totals around 11 million euros. Academy Research Fellows are granted funding for five years. The Research Council received 176 applications, and the success rate was around 14%. Women account for 42% of the funding recipients and 48% of the applicants.

Professor Ursula Schwab, the Chair of the Research Council, said: “We received extremely high-quality applications. Unfortunately, a lot of high-level applications could not be funded.” All funded Academy Research Fellows had received a rating of either 6 or 5 in the review.

The aim of Academy Research Fellow funding is to provide promising researchers with wide and versatile opportunities for independent research, to support them in establishing their own research team and to enable them to advance research in their field. Academy Research Fellows are expected to have good national and international networks. With the funding, the Research Council also wants to encourage researchers to engage in broader and more diverse international cooperation.

The granted funding covers the Academy Research Fellow’s own salary. However, the funded researchers will also be invited to submit a separate application for funding for their research costs.

The Research Council funded several scientifically excellent researchers. Here are a few examples:

Antti Eloranta (University of Jyväskylä). Eloranta’s research project explores the large-scale effects of natural and anthropogenic environmental factors on food webs and salmonid populations in more than 100 cold-water lakes. The factors related to human activity are, for example, invasive species, hydropower operations and fishing. The resulting empirical and theoretical models will elucidate the underlying factors that determine the biomass and resource use of individuals and populations in ecological networks and thereby the structure, function and resilience of cold-water lake ecosystems. Eloranta’s innovative project will support the sustainable management of cold-water lakes and their vulnerable salmonid stocks.

Ville Paakinaho (University of Eastern Finland). Paakinaho will investigate changes in the activity of transcription factors during the development of drug resistance in prostate cancer. Over the past few years, many effective cancer medicines have entered the market, but many cancers still develop resistance to these drugs. Paakinaho’s research project will use genome-wide, single-cell genomics and single-molecule live cell imaging in cultured cell lines as well as bioinformatic analyses to build a comprehensive model of transcription factor action during prostate cancer drug resistance. The results will eventually help to better understand the effects of proteins on the emergence of drug resistance. The research may provide new tools for developing cancer medicines and treatments.

Laura Karavirta (University of Jyväskylä). Karavirta’s research focuses on the physical activity of older adults. Our understanding of older people’s physical activity in relation to recommendations is based on models that do not account for individual abilities. Methods based on the speed or volume of movement may underestimate the actual load experienced by an older person. Karavirta will develop a method for quantifying physical activity in older people that takes into account individual performance differences in performance and makes it possible to develop personalised physical activity recommendations.

Inquiries and more information

  • List of funded researchers
  • Funding criteria and policies of the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment
  • Outi Ala-Honkola, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 029, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Laura Forsström, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 041, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Harri Hautala, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 019, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Päivi Lindfors, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 028, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Rita Rinnankoski-Tuikka, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 096, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Marko Uutela, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 113, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Vesa Yli-Pelkonen, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 095, firstname.lastname(at)

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

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