High-quality research at the University of Helsinki receives substantial funding

The University of Helsinki was assigned almost half of the Centres of Excellence of the Academy of Finland, and one-third of the Academy Professors.

The University of Helsinki was assigned almost half of the Centres of Excellence of the Academy of Finland, and one-third of the Academy Professors.

– This shows that we are at a high level internationally, and are the only world-class research university in Finland, says Rector Thomas Wilhelmsson.

The Academy of Finland, managed by the Ministry of Education, is the most significant financier of basic research in Finland. Last week, the Board of the Academy announced 15 Centres of Excellence. Seven are administered by the University of Helsinki. Aalto University was assigned three and the University of Jyväskylä two Centres of Excellence. Nine Academy Professors were also appointed. Three are from the University of Helsinki: Dennis Bamford, Professor of Microbiology; Ilkka Hanski, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Martti Koskenniemi, Professor of Legal Science.

The Centre of Excellence period is six years, and that of the Academy Professors is five years. Both periods will commence as of 2012. The funding periods are longer than usual, but Wilhelmsson says that the status provided by the nominations is more important than money.

– The status brings such recognition and opportunities that you can also use it to obtain funding from a number of other sources.

Academy Professor Uskali Mäki agrees. He is in charge of the new Centre of Excellence in Philosophy of the Social Sciences. According to Mäki, the unit has also so far been the world's largest team investigating interdisciplinary collaboration from the perspective of the philosophy of science, and now it will get even more weight. Before this, the research team operated around Mäki's Academy Professorship.

– The Centre of Excellence status appeals to resources. We have been in the habit of recruiting from abroad, and the Centre of Excellence will further increase the appeal, says Mäki.

The long-standing, consistent funding is also valuable. Implementing an ambitious, multidisciplinary project requires safe conditions.

– There is extensive cooperation in progress. It is important that the team sticks together so that we can establish the cooperation.

 

Centres of Excellence managed by the University of Helsinki, and their Directors in the 2012–2017 period:

Lauri Aaltonen: Centre of Excellence in Cancer Genetics Research
Ilkka Hanski: Centre of Excellence in Metapopulation Research
Markku Kivinen: Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies – Choices of Russian Modernisation
Markku Leskelä: Centre of Excellence in Atomic Layer Deposition
Uskali Mäki: Centre of Excellence in Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Lassi Päivärinta: Centre of Excellence in Inverse Problems Research
Marja-Leena Sorjonen: Intersubjectivity in Interaction

Press release: Academy of Finland appoints nine Academy Professors »»

Press release: Academy of Finland appoints 15 new Centres of Excellence »»

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Text: Tuomo Tamminen
Photo: Wilma Hurskainen
15.6.2011
Translation: AAC Global
University of Helsinki, digital communications


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