Tekes funds three new strategic research openings

The new research projects will find solutions for new energy systems, personalised healthcare and novel industrial processes using biological systems.

Tekes has decided to fund three strategic research openings. The strategic research openings are visionary and challenging projects aiming to make serious breakthroughs that will lay the foundation for entirely new areas of business in the future.

The new strategic research openings will tackle globally important issues such as the need for new technologies to create an emission free energy system based on solar and wind. The projects will also develop synthetic biology solutions that enable industrial processes that are energy and carbon efficient and improve the utilization of personal health data for the benefit of citizens’ health.

The strategic research openings must be ambitious and have a high degree of scientific vision, as well as a clear vision of how they will be exploited by business and an excellent degree of management. So far, Tekes has funded a total of eight strategic research openings. The next call for applications will close in September 2014. There will not be calls for this project type in 2015.

"We are looking for a balanced portfolio of strategic research openings, and would like to see new topics that have not been covered yet by the existing strategic research openings,” says Director Ilona Lundström from Tekes.

More information

Director Ilona Lundström
Tel. +358 2950 55678

Strategic research openings funded by Tekes 26.6.2014

Tekes funds three new strategic research openings. For some of the projects, the funding decisions are made for the first stage of the project. Funding decisions for the second stage are based on the outcomes of the project during the first stage.

NEO-CARBON ENERGY – to pole position in developing future energy system

Partners: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), University of Turku/The Finland Futures Research Centre (UTU/FFRC)
Coordinator: DSc Pasi Vainikka, VTT
Tekes funding: € 4 990 700 (2014-2016)

In an energy system production and consumption are continuously in balance. Sufficient amount of energy is needed to be stored primarily in the form of chemical energy to ensure the system functioning. In the case the future energy system is based on solar and wind energy balancing the production and consumption is very challenging as production can not be regulated to follow consumption. Additionally energy production is distributed to even smaller units – even to house-holds – that are both energy consumers and producers.

Significant implementation of solar and wind energy causes a  revolution in energy system which requires the creation of new type of energy storage technologies, services,  energy markets, business models, legislation and value chains as many of the current system’s fundamentals lose their meaning. Different sectors such as electricity, heating, transport as well as energy utilising industry need to be integrated to take advantage of these variable forms of energy. The change in the energy system also induces broader socio-economic changes such as energy independence. This change - its prerequisites, opportunities, and manifestations - will be anticipated and reflected in the whole-of-society change and global developments.

NEO-CARBON ENERGY is a cross-disciplinary research project focusing on the functional principles, technologies and societal implications of a future energy system. The objective is to establish a view on the needs, business opportunities and societal implications of an emission free energy system that is based on solar and wind as well as focus in research and development to the future energy system’s key technologies – particularly electricity grid connected large-scale energy storage and its integration to other energy sectors.

The aim is at a system where large-scale energy storage in the form of hydrocarbons plays a significant role. Fuels produced by means of solar and wind power, such as synthetic natural gas, can be stored, distributed and utilised in the already existing energy infrastructure. The system would be carbon neutral as the carbon cycle of the electricity system can be close and emissions from transport and industry can be rebind by utilising carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as the source of carbon.

Digital Health Revolution

Partners: Multidisciplinary research and expert consortium including University of Oulu, Helsinki and Lapland, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, Technical Research Center of Finland and National Consumer Research Center
Coordinator: Maritta Perälä-Heape, director, Centre for Health and Technology, University of Oulu
Tekes funding: € 4 047 400 (2014 - 2016)

The utilization of all personal health data for the benefit of citizens’ health, wellbeing and the prevention of illnesses is a worldwide trend, and Finland is one of the forerunners in this process. The vision of the multi-disciplinary program Digital Health Revolution is to enable the utilization of data about the individual as part of personal, preventive services, which in turn will improve citizens’ opportunities for self-management of one’s wellbeing.

The program is built on the idea that an individual can control and make use of his or her personal data. The program aims to combine data from different sources, including genome data, health and wellbeing monitoring data and everyday behavioral data comprising the personal digital footprint in a systematic way. The personal health data will be processed for the benefit of both the individual and the society by creating digital service solutions.

Pilots will be launched to create user-oriented, preventive service solutions. Fundamental change of attitudes is needed to fully exploit the digital health information. The building of mydata.fi community addresses this challenge, and at the same time enables the development of new business and new service solutions in accordance with ethical and legal regulations.

In a long run, the outcomes of the project will facilitate the integration of personal data and personal my data based services into the future public health care service concepts.

Living Factories

Partners: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University, University of Turku
Coordinator: Research Professor Merja Penttilä, VTT
Tekes funding: € 3 955 000 (2014 - 2016)

The goal of our Living Factories Programme is to realise the full potential of Synthetic Biology in Finland. Synthetic Biology is considered one of the key breakthrough technologies that will have a major impact on our future. It is based on the design and engineering of new-to-nature biological systems. It has great potential to generate novel industrial processes and products. In our Living

Factories Programme, we will create an academia-education-industry environment that builds on forward-looking know-how and exploits the unique functionalities that biology - combined with engineering sciences - can offer, and which will be highly competitive internationally. This will serve as an inspiration for novel and visionary solutions for a sustainable biobased society. The key focus of our Programme is to develop Synthetic Biology solutions that enable industrial processes that are energy and carbon efficient.

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