Life Science research in at the University of Helsinki covers broad scope from structure, function and dynamics of molecules, microbes and cells to entire organisms and ecosystems. Multiple units at all four University’s campuses, but mainly Viikki and Meilahti, host life science researchers. HiLIFE was established in 2017 to bridge over these units and campuses and thus build even more vibrant life science community.
Administratively HiLIFE is a research institute independent of the University’s faculties, the director of which is directly accountable to the Rector. HiLIFE is also the only unit at the University of Helsinki that takes responsibility of the cross-campus needs and development in the Life Science area. This dual role makes HiLIFE a unique entity in the University.
HiLIFE coordinates shared use life science research infrastructures, provides research-based interdisciplinary training, and promotes resourcing of high-quality research. With these umbrella activities HiLIFE enhances cross-border interdisciplinary life science research and elevates the quality of research also across the six life science faculties at the University. HiLIFE brings together, develops and supports research infrastructure platforms in the life sciences field, and its Grand Challenge and Innovation programs enable new openings. HiLIFE Tenure track and Fellows programs increase the predictability, competitiveness and attractiveness of academic career and promote internationalisation at the University. While the HiLIFE assistant/associate professor positions shared with the partnering faculties attract new top talent ensuring renewal, the Fellows program awards flexible funding for ongoing outstanding principal investigators at all stages to prevent brain drain. Resourcing of HiLIFE’s umbrella activities is based on open calls and transparent external evaluation -the cornerstones of HiLIFE’s approach.
HiLIFE contains the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM, Institute of Biotechnology (BI) and Neuroscience Center (NC) as units. These units play an important role in developing a strong international research environment in their focus areas and bring important expertise to HiLIFE in recruitment, training, core facilities, innovation, and international cooperation.