The Finnish Research Impact Foundation has awarded 1.7 million euros to support eight new joint projects between academia and industry partners. The projects include research into cancer drugs; the development of bio-based materials; and studies of atmospheric nanoparticles.
The Finnish Research Impact Foundation has awarded 1.7 million euros to support joint research projects between universities, government research institutes and industry partners. The third Tandem Industry Academia funding call attracted applications from top-tier projects aimed at significantly increasing the impact of research through closer industry collaboration. Since its launch in 2019, FRIF has provided funding for a total of 30 such research projects.
TIA projects provide an opportunity for companies and research organizations to pool their resources and best expertise in order to tackle significant challenges and to achieve significant impact. Projects funded in the third TIA call include research ventures to address challenges related to the quality of 3D printing; to develop bio-based packaging materials; to create tools that can support oncologists’ decision-making; and to build equipment for measuring the composition of atmospheric nanoparticles.
The research teams behind the eight projects funded in the current round come from the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Oulu, the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Turku.
Industry partners bring to the projects their research and development expertise as well as their knowledge and understanding of the market. The partner companies involved in the new TIA projects are Electro Optical Systems Finland, Bayer, Kemira, Finnadvance, Bittium Biosignals, Karsa, Oksasen Puutarha and Nokia Bell-Labs.
“Tandem Industry Academia funding is a unique possibility to work closely with a company towards a joint goal and on equal terms. Such collaboration allows us to deepen the connections between Aalto University and our industrial partner, Kemira. I also think it is an excellent chance for the postdoctoral researcher to gain a better understanding of how research work is conducted in a company and to expand their career and research opportunities,” says professor Monika Österberg, head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems at Aalto University.
The funding granted to professor Österberg and her team is for a joint project with Kemira, where the focus is to develop bio-based packaging materials and so to reduce and replace the use of plastic. The results will benefit both academic research and industry and hasten the transition towards a bio-based circular economy.
More information on the projects funded is available on the FRIF website: https://www.vaikuttavuussaatio.fi/en/funded-projects/
The third TIA funding call closed on 31 March 2022. Out of the 42 high-quality applications submitted, the FRIF Board decided to award funding to eight key projects. All of them represent top-tier research whose impact can be further enhanced through industry collaboration. The projects involve precompetitive research, which will not only produce important scientific results but also strengthen Finnish industry and its competencies.
The new funding model developed by the Finnish Research Impact Foundation inspires and encourages academic research teams and business companies to commit themselves to genuinely research-driven cooperation.
“There are various funding mechanisms for research cooperation that are close to the market and based on business needs, but we haven’t seen any other model that provides funding for cooperation from the vantage point of academic research,” says Lauri Oksanen, Chairman of the FRIF Board.
Under the Tandem Industry Academia funding programme, an academic postdoctoral researcher works on a research project for one year at an academic organization and a second year more closely with the partnering business.
“Our aim is to bring benefits to both parties and at the same time to promote the wider spread of academic knowledge and expertise in society,” Oksanen explains.
FRIF is set to launch a new funding scheme in September 2022. Tandem Industry Academia Professor funding is intended to give professors working at Finnish universities and research institutes the opportunity to spend a full year doing research on site with an industry partner. Details on the new funding call will be announced on the FRIF website in early September.