Strengths in research

The research conducted at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry examines questions related to agriculture and food, forests and materials as well as waterways and water use.
The Faculty’s areas of strength in research

Resilient and productive forest and food systems

The faculty’s research covers the entire value chain in both forest and food systems, including soil processes, biological and ecological processes, harvesting, processing, markets, consumers, and policies and governance.

Nature-based and climate smart solutions

Faculty’s research offers cost-efficient solutions that are inspired and supported by nature. Such solutions aim at meeting several goals, including increased productivity and incomes, reduced environmental footprint, improved resilience of society, individuals and nature’s systems.

Wellbeing and health

Theme broadly covers the health of animal populations (both production animals and wildlife), human health and wellbeing, as well as the health state of ecosystems.

Fair sustainability transformation

Fair sustainability transition refers to a well-balanced and inclusive change management in businesses, consumption patterns and institutions on the road to a carbon-neutral and sustainable society in the near future.

Emerging research themes

New foods

The ‘New Foods’ theme includes research that promotes the development of competitive, healthy and environmentally friendly raw materials, technologies, production processes and value chains in the production of food for human consumption.

New bio-based materials

Research on ‘New Bio-Based Materials’ focuses on the creative use of natural processes, renewable resources and by-products and is based on the principles of the circular economy.

Sustainable business models, sustainable finance & new policy instruments

‘New business models’ are new business ideas or business models and may, for example, combine the principles of a platform economy, a circular economy, or a sharing economy in a sustainable and responsible business.

In ‘sustainable finance’, the environmental footprint of industry and consumption and corporate social responsibility play a key role. Financial research can help both investors and companies to invest responsibly and may include, for example, the development of measurable environmental indicators or reporting.

‘New instruments’ are proposals refined from research findings to achieve economic and environmental policy objectives.

University rankings

The research on agriculture and forestry conducted at the University of Helsinki is ranked among the top in the Nordic countries and Europe in international university rankings, and in the top 50 on the global scale.

Academy of Finland Centres of Excellence

The Multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Antimicrobial Resistance Research headed by Marko Virta was selected for the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence Programme for the term 2022–2029.

Seven of the 14 Centres of Excellence selected by the Academy of Finland for 2014–2019 were coordinated by the University of Helsinki. The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry participated in the following Centre of Excellence:

Finnish Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Sciences. The director of the Centre of Excellence was Markku Kulmala.

In addition, the Faculty contributed to the following:

Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research. The director of the Centre of Excellence was Juha Hyyppä from the Finnish Geodetic Institute. The University of Oulu and Aalto University were also partners in the centre.

Antimicrobial Resistance Research, Marko Virta

The Antimicrobial Resistance pandemic is considered a major global crisis because it threatens human health, not only in the form of non-treatable infections but also by complicating modern medicine as we know it: Without protective antibiotics, it would be impossible to carry out procedures such as intensive cancer treatment, organ transplantation and prosthetic joint surgery.

The Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence in Antimicrobial Resistance Research takes a comprehensive approach to understanding determinants of antimicrobial resistance across scales from a One Health perspective that incorporates humans, animals and the environment. The researchers from different scientific disciplines will work in close collaboration in order to achieve the interdisciplinary scientific goals.

The director of the Multidisciplinary Center of Excellence in Antimicrobial Resistance Research is Marko Virta.  The centre comprises research groups operating at the University of Helsinki and University of Turku.


The Flagships coordinated by the University of Helsinki combine top-level research and a diverse range of collaboration with businesses and the wider society. The Faculty is participating in one Academy of Finland Flagship: the Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center (ACCC).

Projects funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland coordinated at the Faculty

Leg4Life – Legumes for Sustainable Food System and Healthy Life

The Leg4Life project promotes environmental and human health and wellbeing by increasing the cultivation of domestic legumes as well as their wider use in food and feed.

Our current food production and consumption practices are confronted by big environmental and societal challenges, such as the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, the moves toward a circular economy, and the increasingly common diseases of affluence. Food production needs to be increased to feed the growing population but the environmental load of food production needs to be decreased at the same time.


The research project promotes a fair sustainability transition in housing and construction. Its aim is to investigate and develop solutions that engage residents in challenges associated with climate change and the differentiation of residential areas. The project produces information on values related to citizens’ housing and climate change, as well as the preconditions of climate action. In addition, tools and solutions are developed in collaboration with municipalities, residents and other stakeholders.

Research funded by the European Research Council conducted at our Faculty
Mari Pihlatie

Mari Pihlatie’s ERC funded project studies the nature of methane emissions from trees.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that significantly contributes to climate change. Recent discoveries demonstrate that trees emit methane and by doing so they affect the methane budget of forests. As forests cover ca 30% of the global land area, understanding this newly discovered source of methane is crucial for a better understanding of the global methane cycle.

Read more on the University webpage about Starting Grant recipients.

Project name and duration

From processes to modelling of methane emissions from trees, 2018–2023.

Kirsi S. Mikkonen

Kirsi S. Mikkonen’s ERC-funded project aims to develop nano-sized particles that have two differently behaving faces, so called Janus particles. Such architecture makes the particles function in a special way at material interfaces, like stabilizing an oil droplet surface in an emulsion. To achieve this, the project will utilize sustainable biopolymers and green technologies.

Read more on the University webpage about Consolidated Grant recipients.

Project name and duration

Green route to wood-derived Janus particles for stabilized interfaces (PARTIFACE), 2020–2025.

Read more:

Helsinki University News: Eminent ERC Consolidator Grants awarded to three scholars at the University of Helsinki

Researchers and publications of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry