The Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme is an instrument that supports high-quality research and increases the societal impact emerging from the research. The Finnish Flagships represent an effective mix of close cooperation with business and society, adaptability and a strong commitment from host organisations.
International collaboration is an integral part of the Flagships’ activities. The Academy promotes international cooperation in flagship fields through special actions together with its American partners. Read more about the Academy’s cooperation with the United States.
The Flagships create future know-how and sustainable solutions to societal challenges and promote economic growth by, for example, developing new business opportunities.
The Flagships selected in the first two calls are in operation. After this third call, the Finnish Flagship Programme now comprises ten Flagships, whose host organisations include seven universities, five research institutes, Helsinki University Hospital and the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service. These organisations will fund the Flagships with some 500 million euros during the flagship terms. The Academy of Finland’s total funding contribution to the Finnish Flagship Programme comes to more than 100 million euros. By providing substantial long-term funding, the programme accelerates active collaboration between different actors and facilitates the development and expansion and systematic operations.
This expansion of the Flagship Programme is based on supplementary authority granted to the Academy of Finland in the fourth supplementary budget of 2020, which allocated 25 million euros to fund new Flagships. The Academy is also prepared to fund the new Flagships with an additional 20 million euros over the coming years.
The Flagships selected in the first two calls
6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem | University of Oulu
Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence | Aalto University, University of Helsinki & VTT
Competence Centre for the Materials Bioeconomy | Aalto University & VTT
Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship | University of Helsinki & Helsinki University Hospital
Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State | University of Turku & Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Flagship on Photonics Research and Innovation| Tampere University, Aalto University, VTT & University of Eastern Finland
The Flagships selected in the third call
Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center | University of Helsinki, Finnish Meteorological Institute, University of Eastern Finland & Tampere University
Gene, Cell and Nano Therapy Competence Cluster for the Treatment of Chronic Diseases | University of Eastern Finland, University of Oulu, University of Helsinki, Aalto University & Finnish Red Cross Blood Servic
Innovation ecosystem based on the immune system | University of Turku & Åbo Akademi University
Forest-Human-Machine Interplay, Building Resilience, Redefining Value Networks and Enabling Meaningful Experiences | University of Eastern Finland, FGI, Tampere University & Natural Resources Institute Finland
ACCC – Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center
The ACCC Flagship’s cooperation with the business sector offers various opportunities ranging from climate technologies and the development of measuring instruments to new data-driven services aimed at businesses and consumers. The Flagship’s collaboration currently includes 40 partners, among which are the Climate Leadership Coalition (CLC) and 19 companies. The participating companies include Neste, UPM, Finnair, Deloitte, KPMG, Valio, S Group, Vaisala, St1 and Wärtsilä. The companies are taking part in boost-projects, the purpose of which is to seamlessly take the information produced by the Flagship and apply it to practical operations and solutions. The participation of two global accounting organisations (Deloitte and KPMG) in the Flagship stands as an example of this. This is particularly useful in achieving predictability and verifiability for the effects of climate action on everyday business activities, sustainable investments and the transformation of various industries.
PREIN – Flagship on Photonics Research and Innovation
Photonics is an important field of research across a number of sectors including medicine, telecommunications, digitalisation, manufacturing, traffic and consumer products. The PREIN Flagship focuses on applications with future significance such as LiDAR, optical sensors and photovoltaic cells. The Flagship also listens to the business world, looking for new areas of application such as medicine, pharmacy, AR/VR, optical communication and computing. The Flagship’s corporate partners cover the spectrum from large Finnish companies that operate in traditional industries (such as forest, paper and metal) to industry-leading high-tech companies. Startup activity in the field of photonics is lively and successful, and several startups have already grown into lucrative companies. Photonics Finland, an association that connects Finnish research organisations in the field, reaches the whole sector and consists of more than 80 member organisations, is also collaborating in the Flagship.
iCAN – Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship
The iCAN Flagship seeks to achieve research breakthroughs to improve precision cancer treatment. The University of Helsinki’s Meilahti Campus was the first cancer institute in the Nordic countries to receive OECI accreditation, and its high quality of care and research has also allowed it to undertake a wide variety of innovation activities and business collaborations. A great deal of clinical precision medicine research is performed at Helsinki University Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. Diagnostics and digital health applications are carried out with the University of Helsinki’s cancer research programmes, the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland and research-based companies. In this environment, the iCAN competence centre is developing with the help of its current and future partners, such as VALO TX, which develops immuno-oncological treatments, and VEIL.AI, which specialises in data anonymisation. ICAN’s most significant business collaboration is in connection with a broad project that deals with a large number of cancer types. The aim of the collaboration is a six-million-euro investment, which, together with flagship funding, will enable a sufficient scope of operations for a collaborative project that strives to analyse 5,000 cases of cancer in 2021 and 2022.
InFLAMES – Innovation Ecosystem Based on the Immune System
The InFLAMES Flagship is a joint effort by the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University and acts as a spearhead in a regional ecosystem that includes the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, Turku Science Park and several companies in the sector. The InFLAMES Flagship seeks to achieve breakthroughs in the fields of drug development, diagnostics and precision medicine and attract companies and top researchers from Finland and abroad to partner with it. The goal of the Flagship is to make immunological expertise and local innovations available to businesses and be a driving force in Finland’s new medical industry, giving it a stronger foothold on the international stage when it comes to the development of immunological agents. The InFLAMES Flagship has 24 corporate partners, including successful spin-off companies like Forendo Pharma, Kaivogen and Faron Pharmaceuticals, and works in close cooperation with large pharmaceutical companies such as Orion, Roche, Novartis and MSD, mostly in relation to preclinical and clinical trials.
UNITE – Forest-Human-Machine Interplay: Building Resilience, Redefining Value Networks and Enabling Meaningful Experiences
The goal of the UNITE Flagship is to turn Finland into a leading force in utilising and applying forest-based bio economy expertise, geospatial information and gamification. The Flagship’s field of specialisation offers opportunities for new kinds of business activities around, for example, travel, learning and working in gamified forest environments. There are also opportunities for more profitable business activities in forestry and the forest industry. This is made possible by factors such as decision-making based on more accurate and extensive information, as well as more efficient logging and management of wood procurement. UNITE has established a strong ecosystem with its partners in forestry and the forest and video game industries. Its partners include Metsäteho Oy (development of wood procurement and production), Arbonaut Oy (development of geographic information solutions for the natural resources sector) and Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd (wood production, management of forest resources, protecting biodiversity, conditions of recreational use and environmentally sensible forest economy in state-owned multiple-use forests).
FCAI – Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence
The purpose of the FCAI Flagship is to develop new types of artificial intelligence and promote their business use in ethical and sustainable ways. FCAI has formed a network of partners and collaborators made up of 20 leading companies that do business in Finland, including AstraZeneca, Cargotec, Neste, Nokia, NVIDIA and Saab. These companies work closely with FCAI’s researchers in, for example, multilateral research and development projects and bilateral commissioned research. In addition to its network of partners and collaborators, FCAI also has approximately 200 ecosystem partners that have access to the latest findings of Finnish artificial intelligence research through FCAI. In addition, FCAI has launched cooperation with Finland’s Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (FAIA), the Analytics+ growth network and the member companies of Technology industries of Finland and Finnish Energy to find new ways of utilising artificial intelligence. Examples of the results of FCAI’s collaborations include the Finnish speech recognition solution developed in cooperation with Elisa, the nerve canal location algorithm developed in cooperation with Planmeca and the electricity production capacity prediction tool produced for Fingrid.
INVEST – Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State
The INVEST Flagship’s business cooperation is concerned with implementing the digital solutions of its research-information-based intervention programmes (such as KiVa® and Voimaperheet®). Intervention programmes can be more widely scaled by utilising digital solutions, which allows them to support a larger number of children, families and young people. The Flagship’s long-term partners in building digital solutions include Sofokus Oy, Geniem Oy and A1 Media Oy. In addition to collaboration, the Flagship’s KiVa® programme engages in business activities. In Finland, individual schools can be part of the project for an annual fee (over 900 schools are currently involved) or municipalities can gain access to KiVa® with a municipal licence. The international distribution of KiVA® is based on a licenced partner model in which a licenced partner buys the right to distribute the KiVa Antibullying Program. Some licenced partners are companies. At the moment, in addition to Finland, the KiVa® programme operates in many countries, including Sweden, Estonia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Chile. The programme’s international partners can be found on the KiVa website.
6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem
The 6G Flagship supports companies in finalising the 5G mobile communications standard and bringing wireless features and mobility to products and services as we move towards the adoption of 6G around the year 2030. Cooperation takes the form of targeted research projects, joint development of test platforms and environments and open innovation at themed events. Around 150 companies have taken part in the Flagship’s work, of which nearly 100 have provided funding for it. More than 70 new Finnish corporate partners take part in the Flagship’s research, development and innovation activities. Approximately 80% of transferred research results (e.g. prototypes, code and programmes) have been made available to Finnish companies. The most significant companies taking part in joint development are Nokia, Keysight Technologies and InterDigital (co-creator status). From Nokia’s perspective, the 6G Flagship acts as an umbrella for joint development themes, focusing on aspects such as 5G radio system concepts, development concepts such as operating in the millimetre band and extremely precise positioning solutions. Another example of joint development is Keysight Technologies, which is involved in both long-term 6G research and the development of testing and measuring instruments, making heavy use of the 5G Test Network.
FinnCERES – Competence Centre for the Materials Bioeconomy
The FinnCERES Flagship advances discussion around sustainable solutions and seeks out new bio-based material solutions for future innovations. Research is underway to allow for wider use of bio-based materials in new areas of application (such as filters, electronics and energy storage) to complement their use in textiles, packaging and biocomposites. This will support the modernisation of the forest industry and broaden the selection of applications for biomaterials in different value chains. FinnCERES is building an ecosystem for the Finnish bioeconomy, particularly for the purpose of utilising forest biomass as a product with high added value. In addition to FinnCERES, the R&D collaboration ExpandFibre, the bioeconomy infrastructure and numerous companies also operate in this field of research.
GeneCellNano – Gene, Cell and Nano Therapy Competence Cluster for the Treatment of Chronic Diseases
The GeneCellNano Flagship develops new biopharmaceuticals or Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), biomarkers and diagnostics for the treatment of common chronic diseases. Around 30 companies from Finland and abroad are involved in the collaboration, each contributing in different ways, including through data exchanges, business partnerships and sponsorships. Cooperation between academic research groups and companies furthers the development of biopharmaceutical production technologies and identification of diagnostic requirements. The collaboration offers companies a way to access the latest research data, puts them in contact with future post-doctoral researchers they can recruit and gains them entry into large networks in Finland, the EU, the US and Japan. The Flagship’s most important corporate partners include Orion Pharma, FinVector, Modulight, Santen, Bayer, UPM Biomedicals, the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service, KCT and FKD Therapies.
Descriptions updated in January 2021.
- Academy of Finland to introduce new opportunities for Finnish-American research collaboration (26 Nov 2020)
- Academy of Finland selects four new Finnish Flagships (16 Nov 2020)
- Academy of Finland announces funding for Finnish Flagships, research infrastructures and RDI partnership networks (30 Jun 2020)
- Academy of Finland selects four new flagships (8 Jan 2019)
- 8 applications go through to second stage of Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme call (10 Jan 2018)
- Academy of Finland selects first two competence clusters to the new Flagship Programme (18 Apr 2018)
Inquiries and more information
- Flagship Programme Subcommittee
- Brochure: The Finnish Flagships – Breaking the Ice for a Better Future (PDF)
- Maiju Gyran, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 015
- Sirpa Nuotio, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 082
- Jukka Tanskanen, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 071
- Katri Laitinen, Coordinator, tel. +358 295 335 071
- general questions: flagship(at)aka.fi
Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi.