The objective of this research programme was to facilitate the use of new research methods and the results of basic research in different fields of life sciences research. In addition, the aim was to promote the application of research results in biotechnical production, agriculture and forestry, in the development of pharmaceuticals as well as in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Furthermore, the programme increased knowledge and awareness among researchers about ethical and socio-cultural dimensions of research and its applications.
Projects in the field of developmental biology were concerned to explore the mechanisms through which genes and gene defects regulate development; to locate the expression patterns of specific genes and gene products at cellular level during development; and to research reproduction biology and stem cells.
Studies in neuroscience were aimed at improving the practical applicability of research results in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of nervous diseases and in the development of artificial intelligence and information technology.
Several projects of the programme were concerned with developing and utilising methods of genetic engineering and the technology of genome-wide methods as well as methods of biophysics and bioinformatics.
Various EC conventions, recommendations and decisions had created a framework for research in the life sciences and for the application of its results. Against this background the projects studied the ethical, legal and socio-cultural dimensions related to the methods, results and applications of bioscience research.
The programme comprised 37 projects which represented the following organisations: the universities of Helsinki, Kuopio, Tampere, Turku and Oulu, Helsinki University of Technology, Åbo Akademi University, the University Hospital of Turku, the National Public Health Institute, the Forest Research Institute, the Technical Research Centre VTT and Juvantia Pharma Ltd.
Funding The Academy of Finland committed EUR 13.8 million to the programme.
The research programme was coordinated by Programme manager Mika Tirronen, Institute of Biotechnology, Helsinki.