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Academy of Finland selects first two competence clusters to the new Flagship Programme

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The Academy of Finland today announced the first two competence clusters to be funded under its new Flagship Programme. The two clusters are: CERES - the Competence Centre for the Materials Bioeconomy: A Flagship for our Sustainable Future (Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd) and 6Genesis - the 6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem (University of Oulu).

The second call under the Flagship Programme will open later this spring, and it will add more clusters to the programme line-up.

The aim of the Flagship Programme is to pool together expertise from different fields in Finland to form high-level research and impact clusters that will further contribute to increasing the quality and impact of Finnish research. The decision to launch a flagship programme was made by the Finnish Government in its mid-term policy review. The programme’s total funding budget is 50 million euros.

The call was implemented in two stages. The applications submitted at the second stage were reviewed by two international panels: one assessed the scientific quality of the applications, the other the impact of the proposed research. The call attracted 15 applications, eight of which proceeded to the second stage. Based on the review reports and the opinion of the Flagship Programme Subcommittee, the two clusters selected to the programme were the ones that best supported the programme’s objectives.

The selected flagships represent an effective mix of cutting-edge research, impact in support of economic growth or society, close connections to relevant collaborators, adaptability, and a strong commitment from host organisations. The commitment of the hosts is also reflected in a significant, steadily increasing investment in supporting the flagships.

Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Academy Board, said: “The flagships conduct excellent research in support of scientific renewal and in close collaboration with actors from several different fields. Their bold, innovative and development-oriented approach provides a strong foundation not only for research-based economic growth but also for developing many other areas of society.”

The 6Genesis flagship is focused on the development of wireless technology and on exploring the implementation of the fifth generation of mobile communication technology (5G) and the development of the 6G standard. The flagship will support industry in bringing the 5G standard to the commercialisation stage by carrying out large pilots with a test network. It will also develop essential technology components needed for 6G, targeting areas such as wireless connectivity and distributed intelligent computing as well as novel applications of these. In addition to communication between people, the research will focus on communication between devices, processes and objects. This will contribute to enabling a highly automated, smart society, which will penetrate all areas of life in the future.

The CERES flagship will focus on future solutions of the bioeconomy and on materials research. Researchers in the flagship aim to develop, for instance, novel lignocellulose-based materials for industrial production in international markets. Completely new kinds of materials have wide application in several life domains: textiles, wearables, household products, air and water purification systems, next-generation catalysts, ultralight transport and energy harvesting systems. The flagship bases its research firmly on sustainable development, and the researchers believe that the solutions to be developed have the potential to simultaneously generate growth and increase the societal welfare in a sustainable manner.

What is the Flagship Programme?

The aim of the Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme is to pool together expertise from different fields in Finland to form high-level research and impact clusters that will further contribute to increasing the quality and impact of Finnish research. These clusters, or flagships, are strong and versatile wholes comprised of several research teams with researchers from different career stages and backgrounds. They constitute high-quality, high-impact competence clusters that work in flexible ways, simultaneously running several projects and activities. During their term, the flagships will make significant progress and adapt in order to systematically improve and expand their activities.

The next call under the Flagship Programme will open in May 2018 and close on 20 June 2018.

The Academy of Finland will host a discussion for applicants on 26 April 2018 focusing on the experiences gained from the first call. The event will also include an information session about the second call. The invitations to the event have been sent out to research organisations.

There will also be an information event on 2 May 2018 at 12.00–14.00, which will present the objectives of the Flagship Programme and the activities of the first flagships. Invitations to this event will be sent out separately to the media and stakeholders.

Inquiries

  • Professor Heikki Ruskoaho (Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland and Chair of the Flagship Programme Subcommittee), tel. 358 50 448 0772, firstname.lastname(at)helsinki.fi
  • Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 002, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Maiju Gyran, Senior Science Adviser, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 015, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

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The Academy of Finland a government agency within the administrative branch of the Finnish Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Our mission is to fund high-quality scientific research, provide expertise in science and science policy, and strengthen the position of science and research. In 2018, our funding for research amounts to 444 million euros. Part of the Academy’s funds come from proceeds of Finland’s national gaming company Veikkaus. In 2018, these proceeds account for 70.7 million euros of our total funding for scientific research.

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