The Finnish Research Impact Foundation’s new funding scheme gives professors the opportunity to spend one year working on their research with an industry partner, in an industry environment. In all, nine professors have received TIA Professor grants since the scheme was launched in 2022.
The Tandem Industry Academia Professor (“TIA Professor”) funding scheme gives professors the opportunity to focus on their own research work and to leverage companies’ expertise and resources.
At its 17 November 2023 meeting the FRIF Board decided to award TIA Professor funding to three new professors:
- Antti Poso, Professor of Drug Design, University of Eastern Finland, in partnership with Orion Pharma
- Roope Raisamo, Professor of Computer Science, Tampere University, in partnership with Nokia Technologies
- Ari Väänänen, Research Professor, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, in partnership with Terveystalo Healthcare
“FRIF recognizes a clear need to provide funding support to advanced-career researchers so that they can effectively join forces with companies. FRIF funding allows professors to update their expertise on research questions that are relevant to companies, and at the same time it paves the way for high-level, high-impact research,” says Leena Otsomaa, member of the task force that developed the funding model and FRIF Board member.
Research Professor Ari Väänänen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health has launched a joint project with Finnish healthcare provider Terveystalo to search for new information and new approaches to addressing mental health challenges using machine learning models and data resources. “When you can work closely in this way with a business partner, the TIA professorship opens new vistas onto the workings of occupational healthcare and its acute challenges. The observations and discoveries made in this collaboration create new lines of research leading to new scientific breakthroughs and high-level research publications.”
During their funding term TIA professors spend a period equivalent to one full year working in facilities provided by the business partner. The funding may be spread out over a maximum of three years. The purpose of the funding scheme is to support collaborations between industry and research organizations and to give professors first-hand knowledge about relevant areas of research interest in industry. Projects may involve joint precompetitive research and other supportive activities.
The three new TIA professors will be working on projects that deal with mental health support, haptic technologies in the metaverse, and quantum technology and machine learning assisted drug discovery. For more details on these projects go to: https://www.vaikuttavuussaatio.fi/en/funded-projects/
Professor Antti Poso from the University of Eastern Finland says his TIA professorship will allow him not only to advance his own research but also to supervise his students in such a way that their research has greater impact outside of academia.
“In practice the only way to bring new drugs within the reach of patients is via industry. This collaboration will allow us to combine theoretical expertise with hands-on practical experience – and in this way support and promote research in this field and bolster the success of business companies,” professor Poso explains.
Professor of Computer Science Roope Raisamo from Tampere University has launched a joint project with Nokia to explore ways of introducing the sense of touch into the metaverse.
“Nokia Technologies is a leading player in metaverse infrastructure development. The results of this collaboration will lend support to international standardization efforts,” professor Raisamo says.