Mart Saarma to lead Biocenter Finland

The aim of Biocenter Finland is to evolve into one of the best life-science co-operation forums in Europe and in the world.

Mart Saarma

Professor Mart Saarma, Director of the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki, has been appointed Director of Biocenter Finland as of the beginning of 2008. His term of office is initially for one year.

Biocenter Finland is the national network for the biocentres of Finnish universities, and it was launched in February 2007. The member universities are the universities of Helsinki, Kuopio, Oulu, Tampere and Turku and Åbo Akademi University.

The directorship of Biocenter Finland is rotated among the member organisations. In this position Saarma will follow Taina Pihlajaniemi, Director of Biocenter Oulu.

According to Saarma, biomedicine and biology cannot by themselves secure development, and that is why it is necessary to combine resources through closer co-operation. Money is not, however, the only crucial aspect in this co-operation, the goal of which is also to combine the best competencies.

Saarma says that the current situation is favourable for attracting top Finnish researchers back home from abroad: research funding in the USA has decreased and well-targeted headhunting could bring several talents back to Finland.

According to Saarma Biocenter Finland will propose that a programme be launched in 2010 for the structural development of life-science education and research. His aim is also to increase equipment funding in order to replace rapidly outdated equipment. He has a strong faith in the future: by investing in quality Biocenter Finland will be able to achieve its aim of evolving into one of the best life-science co-operation forums in Europe and indeed in the world.

The founding members of Biocenter Finland are the Biocentrum Helsinki and Institute of Biotechnology (University of Helsinki), A.I. Virtanen Institute of Molecular Sciences (University of Kuopio), BioCity Turku (University of Turku, Åbo Academy University) and the Institute of Medical Technology (University of Tampere).

Teksti: Mari Peltonen
Kuva: Timo Päivärinta

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