Academy of Finland grants funding for research into sustainable and energy-efficient ICT solutions

15 Nov 2022

The Academy of Finland has granted funding to ten projects researching the sustainability and energy efficiency of future ICT solutions. The funding, granted under the research, development and innovation programme ICT 2023, comes to a total of 6.85 million euros. The call for applications was open in spring 2022. The success rate was 27 per cent.

Satu Ojala, chair of the programme’s preparatory group and member of the Academy’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering, considered the theme of the call very topical: “The funded research projects will advance scientific development and create opportunities for sustainable and energy-efficient ICT solutions in the future.”

Energy efficiency was an ICT 2023 call theme also in 2017. The research projects funded through that call have already produced results that can be applied in practical solutions.

The ICT 2023 programme is a joint effort between the Academy of Finland and Business Finland that provides funding also to Finnish parties of ICT projects that have been successful in international joint calls. For example, the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering granted 1.15 million euros to three projects in the 2021 call of the CHIST-ERA consortium. The projects include collaborators from Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Examples of funded projects:

Matti Mäntysalo (Tampere University) and Jaakko Leppäniemi (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd) head a project focusing on biodegradable electronics. The project will make use of plant-based materials, or materials that act as plant-nutrients, to develop high-frequency components and electronic circuits needed in sensor tags capable of wireless communication. Printing technologies used in the project will facilitate material savings. In addition, energy-saving fabrication processes will be developed through the use of low-temperature film deposition methods. The circuits developed on biodegradable substrates will find use in environmental monitoring, for example in agricultural applications.

The Covid pandemic has shown that wireless networks are already part of our critical infrastructure. In order for important services to be available regardless of time and place, networks must be designed in such a way that they are robust to sudden shifts in traffic demand and the production of renewable energy sources as well as to possible disturbances in the electricity network. With machine-learning algorithms, anomalies and disturbances can be detected automatically and networks can remain functional. Matti Latva-aho (University of Oulu) heads a project that will explore novel artificial intelligence solutions by utilising real data, solar energy and a 6G test network.

Humeyra Caglayan (Tampere University) heads a CHIST-ERA consortium that studies novel technologies that enhance the capacity of communication networks. The project will develop a breakthrough miniaturised emitter suitable for power-efficient operation, adaptive modulation and massive production at low cost. The emitter will serve as an enabling factor for the next generation of smart free-space optical communication and light-fidelity (LiFi) networks.

ICT 2023 is a ten-year programme aimed at strengthening high-quality ICT research, enabling the development of products, services and innovations. To date, the Academy of Finland has organised almost twenty ICT 2023 funding calls, which have made available ten million euros per year in research funding. The funded projects have dealt with topics such as artificial intelligence, ICT Technologies for the digital transformation of industry and user-centred health technology. The last calls for applications under the programme will be opened in 2023.

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