Research Council of Finland selects four new Finnish Flagships

24 Oct 2023

Four new Flagships have been selected to the Research Council of Finland’s Finnish Flagship Programme. The research areas of the new Flagships cover quantum technology, education, digital water competence and mathematics in imaging and modelling. This is the fourth time that the Research Council of Finland has selected Flagships to the Finnish Flagship Programme, which was launched in 2018.

The Research Council of Finland will fund the four new Finnish Flagships with a total of nearly 90 million euros over two four-year periods. The Flagships’ host organisations and partners will also contribute significantly to the funding.

Finnish Flagships are large centres of excellence, combining high-quality research and diverse scientific and societal impact with strong collaboration with the business sector and other actors in society.

17 applications were submitted in the flagship call, and they were evaluated by individual international experts and a dedicated review panel. Based on the results of the review, the five best candidates were invited for an interview at the Research Council of Finland. Applicants were expected to have strong international research competence and to be pioneers in their field, and to have a wide range of research impact in different areas of society.

The new Flagships:

  • Digital Waters Flagship (University of Oulu, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Aalto University, Finnish Environment Institute, University of Turku), director: Bjørn Kløve
  • Education for the Future (University of Jyväskylä, University of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Turku), director: Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen
  • Flagship of Advanced Mathematics for Sensing, Imaging and Modelling (University of Eastern Finland, University of Helsinki, LUT University, University of Jyväskylä, Aalto University, University of Oulu, Tampere University, Finnish Meteorological Institute), director: Tanja Tarvainen
  • Finnish Quantum Flagship (Aalto University, University of Helsinki, CSC, University of Jyväskylä, Tampere University, University of Oulu, VTT), director: Peter Liljeroth

High-quality, high-impact research and innovation is increasingly performed in competence hubs and innovation ecosystems, where universities, research institutes and companies of all sizes work together in diverse configurations.

Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research at the Research Council of Finland, said: “The Finnish Flagship Programme has responded well to this trend and has strengthened and deepened long-term cooperation between RDI actors.”

According to Maijala, the Research Council of Finland’s expertise in research funding enables it to boost the versatile utilisation of high-quality research and know-how, as well as cooperation between academia and industry.

Finnish Flagships build networks and bring experts

The Finnish Flagship Programme currently includes ten competence clusters selected in three previous calls. Their fields of research vary from the future welfare society to novel biological medicines, biomarkers and diagnostics. Climate change mitigation, forest management and human-centred artificial intelligence are also the focus of research in the current Flagships. The Flagships are hosted by universities and research institutes. Leading Finnish companies, organisations and foundations are also involved in the activities and funding.

The mid-term review of the first Flagships showed the success of the Flagship Programme. Flagships effectively attract talents and research-intensive companies, create new ways of working and solutions, and network with leading international players. According to the review, the scientific impact of the research carried out in Finnish Flagships is above the world average.

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