In the University of Helsinki's research flagships, science cooperates with businesses and the society at large. The university is currently involved in four of the Academy of Finland’s Flagships. Find out more about the Flagships on this page.
What are Academy of Finland Flagships?

A Flagship is a high-quality and impactful cluster of competence in a specific field, which receives funding from the Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme.

The Flagships are a source of high-quality research that generates broad economic and societal impact. The Flagships create future competence and sustainable solutions for societal challenges, in addition to promoting economic growth by developing new business opportunities, among other things.

Although the Flagship Programme is a funding instrument of the Academy of Finland, most of the funding for Flagships comes from other parties. The most important of these are the EU, companies and the Flagships’ host organisations, such as the University of Helsinki. The sizeable, long-term funding of the Flagships helps develop close cooperation among different parties.

The Flagship Programme encompasses 10 Flagships, which have been selected through three calls for applications. The University of Helsinki is involved in four of these. It leads two of the Flagships and is a partner in the other two. This page provides further information about each of the Flagships.

iCAN – Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship

The iCAN Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship promotes the development of personalised cancer treatments and health-related innovations.

The iCAN Flagship links precision medicine in a novel way to patients’ digital health and lifestyle data. Its research and development activities make use of Finland’s unique health registers and digital healthcare system. Data mining from these is being developed with the help of, for example, artificial intelligence.

The goal of iCAN is to generate breakthroughs in research and to develop research-based innovations that help improve cancer treatment and the quality of life of cancer patients. Patients and patient organisations are actively involved in planning research and developing activities in the context of the Flagship.

The University of Helsinki and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) jointly coordinate iCAN.

Kari Alitalo, Academy Professor, is the director of the iCAN Flagship.

New knowledge provides the foundation for developing appropriate treatments for individual patients.
ACCC – Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center

The Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center (ACCC) develops solutions to steer the world towards climate neutrality.

ACCC assesses and measures factors affecting climate change, such as carbon sinks and aerosols. The Flagship also studies the complex processes generating air pollutants. The network of international measuring stations brought together by ACCC provides unique long-term data on atmosphere–ecosystem interactions.

Based on increasingly comprehensive observation data, the Flagship strives to provide more accurate models that help policymakers make more sustainable decisions in terms of the climate and environment. Business collaboration generates new practical solutions that improve air quality and help curb and adapt to climate change.

The University of Helsinki coordinates the ACCC Flagship. Other participants include the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the University of Eastern Finland and Tampere University.

Academy Professor Markku Kulmala is the director of the ACCC Flagship.

Already when drawing up the research plan we discussed and agreed on collaboration with 40 businesses, municipalities, research institutes and other partners. This collaboration is at the core of our plan.
Education for the Future (EDUCA)

Why are learning outcomes decreasing? Why are dropouts from education increasing? How is technology used in teaching? The University of Helsinki is helping to answer these questions in the EDUCA Flagship.

The Education for the Future (EDUCA) Flagship, funded by the Research Council of Finland, combines expertise in educational science, psychology, learning analytics, sociology and economics with research and development in the education sector.

The flagship encompasses four research areas and the creation of an ecosystem. Researchers from the University of Helsinki are involved in all research areas of the flagship.

Research area 1 looks at educational reforms while research area 2 focuses on learning variability and diversity in effective learning interaction, as well as on adaptive support in learning environments. The focus of research area 3 is digital solutions that can support learning and wellbeing, while research area 4 delves into enhancing the skills of teachers and principals. 

The flagship is also establishing a data infrastructure, for which will be collected extremely extensive longitudinal datasets on the learning outcomes and difficulties, motivation and wellbeing of children and adolescents across the country. The ecosystem will enable diverse and multidisciplinary data analysis and AI-based predictions.

The consortium is headed by the University of Jyväskylä, with the University of Turku and Aalto University participating alongside the University of Helsinki.

The flagship is headed by Professor of Education Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen from the University of Jyväskylä. At the University of Helsinki, the research is headed by Academy Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro.

FCAI – Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence

The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI) develops artificial intelligence solutions capable of learning, planning and cooperating with humans to resolve complex problems.

FCAI brings together Finnish expertise in artificial intelligence and develops practical AI applications. It connects researchers in different fields with companies and the public sector, enabling them to jointly engage in research and development. FCAI aims to promote the utilisation of artificial intelligence in Finnish companies and society. The ethics and societal impact of artificial intelligence are strongly emphasised as well.

The FCAI Flagship is coordinated by Aalto University, and the University of Helsinki is a partner in it along with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence helps retain the field’s best talent in Finland and attract more top professionals and investments into the country.
Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF)

The Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF) strengthens and expands the national ecosystem in the field and promotes cutting-edge research that accelerates the creation of new businesses. 

The flagship brings together cutting-edge research on quantum materials, devices and information as well as leading expertise in the fields of applications, technology transfer and market behaviour research. The aim is to support the growth of the corporate ecosystem by combining science and basic research with applications.

The flagship enables extensive national cooperation to secure the readiness of Finnish society in the transition to quantum technology.

The flagship is coordinated from Aalto University and other participating institutions are the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, Tampere University, the University of Oulu and CSC – IT Center for Science.

Flagship of Advanced Mathematics for Sensing, Imaging and Modelling (FAME)

The Flagship of Advanced Mathematics for Sensing, Imaging and Modelling (FAME) will develop applied mathematics and physics methods for societal needs, including medical imaging interpretation, industrial process monitoring, non-invasive structural testing and satellite data.

Coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland, the flagship includes members from Aalto University, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, LUT University, the University of Oulu and Tampere University.

The flagship is headed by Professor Tanja Tarvainen from the University of Eastern Finland.

GeneCellNano – Gene, Cell and Nano Therapy Competence Cluster for the Treatment of Chronic Diseases

The GeneCellNano Flagship develops new effective therapies for severe chronic diseases.

GeneCellNano focuses on innovation and commercial development associated with biological drugs, biomarkers and diagnostics. Participating in the Flagship are leading Finnish researchers specialised in gene, cell and nano therapies as well as clinical operators, leading businesses and the third sector.

In the context of GeneCellNano, the University of Helsinki aims to specifically develop therapies based on genes, liposomes, nanoparticles and extracellular vesicles.

The GeneCellNano Flagship is coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland, and the University of Helsinki is a partner in it along with Oulu University, Aalto University and the Blood Service of the Finnish Red Cross.

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