“The Research Council of Finland has selected four centres of excellence to the Finnish Flagship Programme. The flagships combine high-quality research, societal impact and strong collaboration with businesses and other actors in society.
The Research Council of Finland will fund the four new flagships in total with almost 90 million euros in two four-year periods. The decisions on funding to be granted to the flagships will be made in January 2024.
Previously, Materials Bioeconomy FinnCERES and the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence FCAI, coordinated by Aalto, have received funding from the Finnish Flagship Program. In addition, Aalto University is involved in the photonics flagship PREIN and the flagship for the treatment of chronic diseases, GeneCellNano.
Getting Finland prepared for the quantum era
The Finnish Quantum Flagship (FQF) brings together leading quantum experts in physics, computational science, mathematics, nano science and -technology, and economics. It consolidates and expands the national ecosystem as well as promotes cutting-edge research that boosts the emergence of new businesses. The flagship merges research in quantum materials, devices, and information, with leading expertise in applications, technology transfer, and market sociology.
‘Quantum technology is expected to revolutionize many areas of science, engineering, and industry from clean energy production to drug design. The flagship enables collaboration across organizations and disciplines and prepares the Finnish society for the quantum era,’ says FQF Director and Aalto University Professor Peter Liljeroth.
FQF is coordinated by Aalto University. Other host organizations are the Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT, the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, Tampere University, the University of Oulu, and CSC-IT Centre for Science.
Research-based decision-making for education policy
The Education for the Future EDUCA Flagship combines expertise in education, psychology, learning analytics, sociology, and economics with research and development work in the educational sector.
The consortium of the EDUCA Flagship consists of researchers from Aalto University and the Universities of Jyväskylä, Helsinki and Turku and is led by Marja-Kristiina Lerkkanen, Professor of Education at the University of Jyväskylä. Matti Sarvimäki, Professor of Economics, is responsible for the Flagship at Aalto University, and in total, the EDUCA consortium brings together hundreds of researchers from Finland and foreign top universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and Oxford.
The Flagship will strengthen the research-based nature of education policy decisions and experiments and the competence of teachers and directors. The research conducted within the EDUCA Flagship will increase the understanding of the variations of individual and social learning processes, optimal learning situations and challenges of learning engagement, as well as the effectiveness of scalable educational technology solutions.
‘EDUCA brings together materials and education researchers in an unprecedented way and significantly deepens the research-based nature of education policy,’ says Professor Matti Sarvimäki.
Advanced mathematics for sensing, imaging and modelling
The FAME flagship, coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland, will together with industrial partners create novel solutions for technologies ranging from healthcare to clean industry and sustainable environment. It brings together experts from a wide variety of subjects such as medical imaging, industrial process monitoring, testing structures for defects without breaking them, and interpreting satellite data – and uses mathematics to transfer methods from one application area to another.
‘Researchers involved with the flagship will also get training for science communication so that they can do their part in enhancing a wider appreciation for science and mathematics in society,’ says Vice Director of the flagship Nuutti Hyvönen from Aalto University.
In addition to Aalto and the University of Eastern Finland, the flagship is hosted by the University of Helsinki, LUT University, the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Oulu, Tampere University, and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
Sustainable and digital protection of water resources
The Digital Waters (DIWA) flagship is the much needed opening for increasing the impact of research in the water sector. The goal is digital modeling of entire water bodies, i.e. digital twins of water bodies. Digital twins can be used to model water resources, their use and evaluate the effects of decision-making on surface and groundwater. The digitalisation of water resources improves the management and safety of water procurement, distribution and use, for example when floods or drought threaten. Digital water management also helps to sustainably balance the goals of industry, energy, agriculture and forestry.
‘The flagship promotes the digitalisation of the water field and opens doors for young researchers and doctoral students. At the same time, it acts as an ecosystem for companies and social actors in the field,’ says Harri Koivusalo, Professor of water resources engineering.
The flagship includes the School of Engineering’s Water and Environmental Engineering research group from the Department of the Built Environment. At Aalto University, Eliisa Lotsari, Assistant professor of water engineering, is responsible for the research project. The entire Water and Environmental Engineering research group is involved in the implementation of the flagship, that is, in addition to Koivusalo and Lotsari, professors Marko Keskinen, Matti Kummu, Anna Mikola and Olli Varis. The DIWA flagship Director is professor Björn Klöve from the University of Oulu. The research involves Finland’s leading research and training units in the water sector; three universities and three research institutes.”