Major EU funding to four University of Helsinki researchers

The recipients of ERC Consolidator Grants are investigating topics ranging from the effect of climate and habitat change on biodiversity to the treatment of ovarian cancer.

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded its distinguished Consolidator Grants to four University of Helsinki researchers. The grants may be awarded up to €2 million for a period of five years.

Anna Vähärautio’s ERC-funded project What doesn’t kill you: Overcoming primed and adaptive resistance in ovarian cancer (STRONGER) explores how past stress encounters induce treatment resistance in ovarian cancer cells.

The project results will help to identify effective and personalised sequential treatment strategies for patients with poor response to current ovarian cancer therapies.

Knowledge of how particles reach high energies in near-Earth space

Lucile Turc's ERC-funded project Impact of foreshock transients on near-Earth space (WAVESTORMS) investigates how particles can reach very high energies in near-Earth space: Earth’s bow shock surrounding Earth’s magnetic domain, and the Van Allen radiation belts inside the magnetic domain.

Our modern society relies heavily on space-based infrastructures, such as GPS, weather, and telecommunication satellites. Energetic particles can damage the electronics onboard these spacecraft, and we need accurate space weather forecasts to protect essential infrastructures. Understanding how particles are accelerated to high energies is crucial for future space weather forecasts.

New methods for studying communication and interaction

Tuomo Hiippala's research project A Foundation for Empirical Multimodality Research (FOUNDATIONS) focuses on multimodality, or how human communication and interaction involve intentional combinations of multiple 'modes' of expression.

The project will develop new methods for researching multimodality that leverage crowdsourcing and neuro-symbolic artificial intelligence. The research data include textbooks, news broadcasts and social media videos.

The results of the project can be used, for example, in teaching literacies, designing learning materials and developing AI algorithms.

How climate and habitat change affect biodiversity and ecosystem functions

Climate and habitat change affect biodiversity and, hence, ecosystem functions provided by it. However, we do not yet properly understand the mechanisms behind these changes.

Jarno Vanhatalo heads the project on Effects of Global Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions, which combines comprehensive observational data from several ecosystems with experimental and theoretical results. The project uses statistical and mathematical methods.

The purpose is to find out how climate and habitat change affect ecosystem functions and how these effects are manifested directly and through biodiversity changes, respectively.

The European Research Council awards Consolidator Grants to distinguished researchers who have conducted research for 7 to 12 years after their doctoral graduation. The funding is intended to consolidate the recipient’s research group and establish an impactful career in Europe.

Read about ERC-funded research conducted at the University of Helsinki.

Further information about ERC Consolidator Grants.