Basic research provides the foundation for all scholarly research. It constitutes the basis for applied research, practical applications and scientific breakthroughs. The Faculty estimates that basic research constitutes up to 90% of its research. Faculty researchers investigate such entities as cells, molecules, species and ecosystems.
Basic research is founded on long-term efforts and seeks to establish the background to the issue or phenomenon explored, increasing our scientific understanding of it. Basic research does not, as a rule, seek solutions to individual practical challenges, but it plays a critical role in laying the groundwork for diverse applications and innovations.
Many research innovations would never have seen the light of day without basic research. However, it is usually impossible to predict the findings that may be made or how long this may take. Although results, discoveries or even breakthroughs may be made in just a year, it may equally well take 20 years for results to prove their practical relevance.
“Nobody is doing research just for the sake of research, even if it’s highly basic research. Everyone is always thinking that there is some practical use for the results that they are getting. In applied research a practical application can come quite fast, but in basic research actually you can’t predict what kind of innovations there might be. It could be that there is something coming after five years which is really changing the world or how we are looking at it, or it may take 20 years before results suddenly have significance.”
Dean, Professor Jaakko Kangasjärvi, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
At the Viikki life science campus, some 40–50 research groups study plants in the campus greenhouses throughout the year. Their internationally renowned basic research is unique in Finland, driving progress in applied research and fostering innovations and practical solutions. Watch an interview with Professor Jaakko Kangasjärvi (2022).