Research brings new insights, for instance, into machine learning in pharmaceuticals development and emissions from dairy production.
The Finnish Research Impact Foundation has awarded more than two million euros to research projects where universities and research institutes are working in close collaboration with industry partners. This was the second call under the Tandem Industry Academia funding programme, which is aimed at enhancing the impact of research through increased cooperation with industry partners. The new funding decisions amount to the same level of investment that was made one year earlier in the previous call.
The newly funded joint ventures include projects to research and develop technologies for the measurement of small atmospheric particles; emissions from dairy production; the role of forests in climate modulation; highly repellent coatings; and prospects for machine learning and artificial intelligence in pharmaceuticals development and in sawmill processes.
The research teams involved in the 11 projects come from the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Oulu, Tampere University, LUT University and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The business partners involved in the projects bring to the table their R&D expertise and market know-how. The partner companies are Vaisala, Satellio Company, Orion Pharma, GE Healthcare, Finnos Oy, Valio, nLIGHT Oy, Danfoss Drives/Vacon, Finnadvance, Bluefors and Polar Electro.
One of the new projects is a joint effort of research teams from the University of Helsinki and Orion Pharma, who are breaking new ground in Finland by combining state-of-the-art chemistry technologies with machine learning in pharmaceuticals research. Their aim is to optimize the process of pharmaceuticals synthesis and to identify improved synthetic routes to drugs and thereby to accelerate pharmaceuticals manufacturing processes.
“FRIF funding means that we can proceed with our research which has definite impact potential. It’s also an excellent way of supporting and promoting scientific collaboration with business partners, which in a best case scenario can pave the way to wider cooperation,” says University of Helsinki Professor Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, who is principal investigator of the project Optimizing synthesis of pharmaceuticals by machine learning.
The Foundation received 80 applications to the second Tandem Industry Academia funding call, which closed on 25 April 2021. The FRIF Board decided to award funding to 11 projects of the highest international standard that are expected to deliver greater impact by virtue of their collaboration with business partners. The projects involve precompetitive research, which will not only produce important scientific results but also strengthen Finnish industry and its competencies.
“The assessment commissioned by FRIF in spring 2021 made it clear that our work to deepen and strengthen academia-industry cooperation can indeed yield substantial benefits both in the short term and in the long term. The Tandem Industry Academia funding model plays an important part in supporting this effort,” says Lauri Oksanen, Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Research Impact Foundation.
“We again received a large number of extremely high-quality applications, which is obviously pleasing. The choices we had to make were not easy, but it will be exciting to follow the progress of the projects funded,” Mr Oksanen continues.
In projects funded under the Tandem Industry Academic model, academic researchers with a PhD will work for one year in the academic partner organization and another year more closely with the business partner.
“We expect that the projects will inspire the movement of new knowledge and competencies in both directions and in this way promote both scientific and commercial interests,” Mr Oksanen adds.
The Finnish Research Impact Foundation is a research funding agency launched in spring 2019 by the Finnish government. It was given an initial capital stock of 60 million euros. FRIF’s mission is to promote the impact of Finnish cutting-edge research by strengthening collaboration between academia and industry.