Profile building areas

The strategic research themes chosen by the University are put into practice in the University’s profile-building areas.
Finnish Platform for Pharmaceutical Research - FinPharma

Pharmaceutical research is a strong field within the University of Helsinki’s Life Sciences, and highly ranked internationally. The high scientific level is a prerequisite for new discoveries, urgently needed for translating the findings of basic research into therapeutic applications.

The objective of FinPharma is to profile Finnish pharmaceutical research towards a new era of regenerative medicine. FinPharma will create an internationally recognized drug research platform that facilitates the discovery and development of innovative candidate drugs and pharmaceutical preparations.

The platform is a collaborative effort with the University of Eastern Finland and Åbo Akademi University. FinPharma joins the research environments at the three universities, complementing their current expertise and developing unique knowledge and capacities in Finland.

This profile building area is a part of PROFI5, and received funding for 2019–2023.

Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)

The Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS meets urgent and complex sustainability challenges. HELSUS produces solutions and pathways for sustainable transformations, which can be applied in society, for instance, with smart policy instruments and regulation. 

The objective is to create a high-level, internationally recognized research platform in sustainability science

  • focusing on sustainability transformations in the urban, food  systems, Global South, and Arctic contexts, and
  • producing transformative knowledge for national and international policy and governance.

This profile building area is a part of PROFI3, and received funding for 2017–2021.

Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE)

Helsinki Institute of Life Science HiLIFE is a multidisciplinary research institute which supports high-quality life science research across campuses and faculties.

The University’s life science research environment has become even more internationally attractive due to HiLIFE’s activities. HiLIFE has enhanced cross-border interdisciplinary life science research and elevated the quality of research in life sciences. The institute has brought together, targeted and supported research infrastructure platforms in the life sciences field.

HiLIFE has also enabled new openings of aligning biomedical data and informatics with HUS Helsinki University Hospital and wider Finnish health data. Many HiLIFE infrastructures support wider national outreach as well as innovative industry and commercial partnerships.

This profile building area was a part of PROFI1 (2015-2019).

Helsinki One Health (HOH)

HOH Helsinki One Health is a network organization launched to coordinate research actions within the area of One Health at the University of Helsinki.

Helsinki One Health is encouraging various disciplines and professions to work together to resolve emerging health problems concerning animal and human populations worldwide.

The objective is to create a high-level research unit, taking international leadership in the One Health research areas of food safety and control, translational medicine and animal health and welfare.

This profile building area is a part of PROFI4, and received funding for 2018–2022.

Matter and Materials (M+M)


Matter and Materials promotes interdisciplinary work by recruiting excellent scientists to positions that bridge over traditional disciplines in new exciting ways.

The new connections include positions joining nanotechnology with pharmacy for new ways of drug development, understanding materials science in extreme conditions of particle accelerators and fusion reactors, as well as combining particle physics with cosmology to understand how the universe formed after the big bang.

This profile building area will bring forth new means to treat disease, new materials that can enable better energy production, as well as fundamental insights on the nature of our universe.

The research has a major industrial and commercial impact, both via collaboration with large enterprises, and in the generation of start-up companies. M+M is a joint action of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Pharmacy.

This profile building area is a part of PROFI4, and received funding for 2018–2022.

Understanding the Human Brain (UHBRAIN)

The profile building area titled Understanding the Human Brain integrates multidisciplinary neuroscience, coordinates seamless local and national collaboration, and promotes research-based innovations for the prevention and treatment of brain disorders.

We believe successful protection and efficient treatment of the brain demands better understanding of the human brain. Because the amount of factors contributing to brain functions is huge, coordinated multidisciplinary efforts are sorely needed.

Understanding the Human Brain deepens the work that we have done with profiling funding for the life sciences. This profile building area is led by the Neuroscience Center, one of three core units of Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences, which was established with funding from the first profiling call.

This profile building area is a part of PROFI6, and received funding for 2021–2026.

Interdisciplinary Research for Health and Wellbeing (UHealth)

In the profile building area Interdisciplinary Research for Health and Wellbeing (UHealth), we unite health research conducted in real-life contexts. We turn multidisciplinary discoveries into solutions for global and local health challenges.

Interdisciplinary Research for Health and Wellbeing creates a new multidisciplinary platform. It combines clinical, participatory and action research in medicine, pharmacy, health sciences, social sciences, food sciences and clinical linguistics.

This profile building area cuts across the wealth of health research at our university, including our Digital precision cancer medicine flagship. It strengthens leadership and top-level research around two main themes:

  1. Health services
  2. Prevention

This profile building area is a part of PROFI6, and received funding for 2021–2026.