A portrayal of a square of material unaffected by water and stress.
 An artist’s rendering of a super-hydrophobic surface that withstands stress and repels liquids effectively. Image: Juha Juvonen

Funding aplenty for Finnish research

Three Finnish universities have announced significant funding for research projects in fields such as ophthalmology, digital medicine, low-carbon shipping, and wear- and liquid-repellent surface materials.

Aleksi Teivainen

14.01.2021

Aalto University reported last week that six of its research projects have been granted a total of three million euros under Future Makers, a joint funding programme of Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation and the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation.

The research topics range from combining brain and game research to create digital therapeutics for psychological conditions like depression, utilising small satellite technology to provide accurate location and navigation to indoor facilities such as factories, and developing semi-autonomous forestry equipment for areas moulded by the climate crisis, all the way to developing new liquid- and wear-repellent surface materials.

Future Makers is set to launch its sixth annual application period next month with the aim of funding and drawing attention to forward-looking research efforts that contribute to a more sustainable tomorrow.

“Our wellbeing is built on people’s expertise,” reminded Hanna-Mari Peltomäki, a representative of Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. “Research-based knowledge and critical thinking are needed today more than ever: science and research will help us to keep step with the development.”

An aerial image of a passenger ship at sea.

A University of Vaasa-led research consortium will test new ways to reduce shipping emissions on two vessels, including a passenger ship of MSC Cruises. Image: University of Vaasa

Elsewhere, Arto Urtti, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Eastern Finland, has secured 580 000 euros in funding for his research project from the European Union, Russian Ministry of Education and Academy of Finland. The goal of the project is to develop a medicine for retinitis pigmentosa, a currently incurable genetic disorder that causes loss of vision.

A University of Vaasa-led research consortium, meanwhile, is set to receive a significant funding boost from the EU’s Horizon 2020.

Consisting also of World Maritime University, Cargill, MSC Cruises, Lloyds Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin Climeon and BAR Technologies, the consortium seeks to bring together various technologies to create vessel concept designs promoting low-carbon shipping and support the emission reduction goals of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“No current or emerging ‘silver bullet’ technology alone will be able to reduce CO2 emissions from maritime transport in accordance with the IMO’s ambitious 2050 goals,” said Suvi Karirinne, the project coordinator at the University of Vaasa.

“The shipping of the future must combine emerging technologies into a systematically symbiotic entity.”

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