Millions of euros in funding from the European Research Council for UH research projects

Research projects focusing on cancer, the atmosphere and mathematical out-of equilibrium phenomena, to name but a few, have received ERC funding. The five-year funding amounts to €2.5–3.5 million.

Test bottles

Professors Päivi Peltomäki and Ilkka Hanski received the ERC Advanced Investigator Grant in the fields of biology and medicine.

Peltomäki and her team are conducting research into the genetics of cancer. Their aim is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms related to the emergence of hereditary and other cancers, and to find effective means to prevent the development of cancer.

"We focus on common cancer types such as cancer of the large intestine, and the factors affecting its emergence and process. We study phenomena such as the adjustments inherited from one cell to another. The area has received very little study until now," Peltomäki explains.

Ilkka Hanski heads a leading Finnish research unit for metapopulation ecology focusing on the biodiversity of northern forest areas, particularly species living in fragmented living environments.

Results will be used, for example, in the planning of nature conservation areas on an international and domestic scale, promoting biological diversity.

"When a habitat is fragmented, the chances for species to adapt to climate change decline, as they are not able to move according to the altered conditions," Hanski states in an interview concerning his research unit.

The group has studied species such as the threatened Glanville Fritillary butterfly found on the Åland Islands. The butterfly's natural habitat, dry grassland, only exists in small areas.

Markku Kulmala and Antti Kupiainen, the heads of leading research units, have already received ERC funding for natural sciences and technological fields.

Kulmala studies the emergence of tiny particles in the atmosphere; such particles have a significant effect on climate change. Kupiainen studies the mathematical physics of out-of equilibrium systems, such as the turbulence in liquids and gases.

The recipient of the Advanced Investigator Grant for social sciences and humanities, Professor Bo Stråth of the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme, studies Europe as an organised community.

Text: Niina Viitanen
Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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