December 19, 2016

Two Finnish professors granted EUR 2 million each

Professor Anna-Liisa Laine has received a two million euro European Research Council grant for her research into the development of disease resistance in plants.
Professor Anna-Liisa Laine has received a two million euro European Research Council grant for her research into the development of disease resistance in plants.
University of Helsinki/Ville Korhonen

Professor Anna-Liisa Laine has received the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant of two million euros, while professor Robin Ras was granted nearly the same amount by the ERC for his research into non-wetting surfaces.

With the help of the ERC grants, the two professors will spend the next five years working on two very different sets of research. Evolutionary biologist Anna-Liisa Laine will study the development of disease resistance and head to the Åland Islands, where she will focus her research on plants.

Laine wants to find out how plants survive and develop resistance while under continuous attack by multiple pathogens (bacteria and viruses). But as the mechanisms of diseases are very similar between plants and other species, the research is relevant on a much broader scale.

“This grant is a researcher’s dream. I can freely decide what to use the money on while focusing on the main thing: my research,” Laine says.

Physicist Robin Ras, on the other hand, was awarded a Consolidator Grant of nearly two million euros by the ERC for his Superslippery Liquid-Repellent Surfaces project, where he wants to develop new and enhanced types of non-wetting surfaces, or surfaces on which water doesn’t stick.

Non-wetting surfaces have tremendous application potential and could be used to keep phones or camera lenses dry or keep ice off airplanes and cars, for example. “With this ERC project, I am very excited to contribute to the rapidly growing field of science and technology of non-wetting surfaces,” Ras says.

The European Research Council funds ground-breaking, cutting edge research.

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