New Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researchers selected in natural sciences and engineering research

12 May 2022

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering has decided on funding for 44 new posts as Postdoctoral Researcher. Of these funding awards, six are targeted at fields of national and societal importance: energy engineering, medical engineering, process technology, construction engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering. The applicant success rate was nearly 16 per cent.

Postdoctoral Researcher funding is granted to cover the researcher’s salary and the project’s research costs. The researcher is employed at a research organisation that manages the funding.

International reviewers gave an excellent rating (final rating 6 or 5) to 41 per cent of the Postdoctoral Researcher applications. Only about one in three of these excellent applications could be funded. In its decisions, the Research Council emphasised the competence of the applicants and the scientific quality of the research projects.

Professor Leena Ukkonen, Chair of the Research Council, said: “We were successful in targeting the Postdoctoral Researcher funding to mobilise high-quality applicants in specific fields. Compared to the last three calls, application numbers particularly increased in medical engineering and construction and municipal engineering. The aim is also to encourage talented early-career engineering researchers to commit to a career in research. Another aim is to produce new and high-impact research knowledge on themes that are important for Finnish industry.”

Examples of funded projects

Valentina Guccini (Aalto University) explores a novel approach to wastewater remediation and carbon capture. Guccini will use osmotic dehydration to co-assemble nanocellulose building blocks extracted from wood and natural photosynthetic communities sourced from Finnish aquatic ecosystems. This co-culture mimics the natural intricate network of biochemical and ecological interactions present in nature, leading to better performance and providing more sustainable and environmentally compatible ways to recover contaminated environments.

Kari Lappalainen (Tampere University) aims to develop new solutions for overall efficiency improvement of photovoltaic power plants by optimal control, sizing and condition monitoring. The project can provide information and novel methods to optimise the control and operation of photovoltaic power plants. Lappalainen’s main research methods include analysis of high-frequency measurement data and simulation of photovoltaic power plant operation.

Miika Mattinen (University of Helsinki) aims to develop efficient, stable and cost-effective catalysts for the production of hydrogen. A rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and fuels is required to control global warming. Hydrogen is a promising clean fuel for transport and beyond that can be produced from water in a process known as water splitting. A key focus in Mattinen’s project is on correlating the structure and catalytic activity of the prepared materials as well as observing the potential material changes occurring during water splitting.

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