Tekes funds three new strategic research openings with €5.8 million

12/19/2014

Strategic research openings are bold research projects aspiring for big breakthroughs, creating new high-level competences and aiming for the creation of significant new areas of growth in Finland.

On 19th December 2014, Tekes has decided to fund three new research consortia:

The Naked Approach – Nordic perspective to gadget-free hyperconnected environments
Participants: VTT, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, University of Oulu, University of Lapland, Demos Helsinki
Tekes funding: €2,385,600 (I stage: 1.3.2015 - 31.8.2016)

ADELE: Autoimmune Defense and Living Environment
Participants: University of Helsinki, University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology
Tekes funding: €2,519,000, (I stage: 1.1.2015 - 30.6.2017)

GeoTrust
Participants: Finnish Geodetic Institute, University of Helsinki
Tekes funding: €882,200 (I stage: 1.1.2015 - 30.6.2016)

Typically, Tekes grants funding to strategic research openings in stages. The second-stage funding is dependent on the results achieved during the first phase of the project. During the project evaluation, Tekes emphasises strong leadership, along with reviewing the project's impacts and high-quality research, in order to make sure the challenging and multidisciplinary research consortium reaches its goals.

In addition to the new strategic research openings, Tekes will also grant funding for the University of Tampere and the Tampere University of Technology to continue the 'Human Spare Parts' strategic research opening.

Human Spare Parts
Participants: University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology
Tekes funding: €4,467,000 (1.1.2015 - 31.12.2016)

Altogether, Tekes has so far funded 11 strategic research openings in different areas.

"Strategic research openings have been our instrument to find the best and the most influential research projects. The goals are set high; and so are our expectations," says Director Ilona Lundström from Tekes.

"We have sought research that combines the most courageous ideas, the best scientific knowledge and the furthest-reaching impact on business opportunities in the future."

New thematic funding application rounds in 2015

In 2015 Tekes will not fund new strategic research openings. Instead, Tekes will open three thematic calls for proposals funding research organisations' and companies' joint R&D projects.
The first of the thematic application rounds requests for proposals will focus on health and wellbeing, the second on sustainable business, and the third on digital technologies and services.

Tekes will also fund, for example, research organisation's projects under the FiDiPro – Finland Distinguished Professor Programme, and the New Knowledge and Business from Research Ideas Programme (Tutli Programme).

New strategic research openings funded by Tekes (19.12.2014)

The Naked Approach - Nordic perspective to gadget-free hyperconnected environments
Participants: VTT, Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology, University of Oulu, University of Lapland, Demos Helsinki.
Tekes funding: €2,385,600 (I stage: 1.3.2015 - 31.8.2016)

The Naked Approach is a big strategic opening, seeking and developing alternative, human-centric ways of producing and consuming digital services. The driving vision is a digital paradise; where users can live 'naked' – without carry-on gadgets. Digital services appear to the user from the texture of the environment when needed, and then completely disappear when not required anymore. Design, technology and business solutions are created and studied from the user perspective in order to realise new digital interaction paradigms. While developing business models and ecosystems, the Nordic values – respectful co-living and trust – are emphasised as a part of new services and products; on our way towards the hyperconnected world of the future.

ADELE: Autoimmune Defense and Living Environment
Participants: University of Helsinki, University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology
Tekes funding: €2,519,000, (I stage: 1.1.2015 - 30.6.2017)

ADELE: Autoimmune Defense and Living Environment strategic research opening will produce knowledge which facilitates the development of solutions that balance and enhance the function of immune systems. The aim is to develop strategies for the prevention and cure of immune-mediated disease, such as allergies, asthma and type I diabetes. Nowadays one in five people in developed countries suffer from an immune-mediated disease, and approximately 100 million people in the European Union have such disease. The costs of these diseases have been estimated to be more than 100 billion euros annually.
In the first half of the 20th century immune-mediated diseases were rare, but have rapidly increased during recent decades. Based on current knowledge, the improvement of hygiene levels in modern societies contributes to this increase – since it has reduced our exposure to microbes needed for the natural development of human immune systems. Another important factor that affects the immune system is environmental contaminants released by humans. Risk groups include small children – as their immune system is still developing – and also elderly people, who often have a decreased immune defence. The ADELE strategic research opening is based on large population cohorts and data sets, containing information on the reasons behind immune-mediated diseases, wellbeing and life habits. Based on extensive analysis of these data sets and novel experiments, the ADELE consortium will develop scenarios on how to enhance the fitness of the immune system. These scenarios will utilise the most modern medical, biological, sociological and urban-planning information, and facilitate currently non-existing, commercial solutions.
Collaborators include specialists working in the private sector, Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Oulu, University of Turku, Charles University in Czech Republic, Kansas State University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Florida and the University of Texas.

GeoTrust
Participants: Finnish Geodetic Institute, University of Helsinki
Contact person: professor Heidi Kuusniemi, Finnish Geodetic Institute
Tekes funding: €882,200 (I stage: 1.1.2015 - 30.6.2016)

The GeoTrust Programme is a bold vision for how crowdsourced mobile data can be conducted in new ways, and by new players. The GeoTrust Consortium is a multi-disciplinary team of experts in different relevant technical and legal fields, with excellent skills to carry out innovative research and development, and harness the potential of big geospatial data. The programme will bring together key Finnish competences to tackle a difficult challenge: how to utilise the huge potential of crowdsourced mobile data in Finnish industry and society. Without the benefit of significant R&D investment in this area, the current status quo would likely result in foreign companies continuing to dominate this growing market. GeoTrust promises an alternative path of development, based on an open service approach: three high-impact mobile applications will be developed that generate and benefit from crowdsourced mobile data. The opportunities presented by large-scale crowdsourced mobile data are immense, but the question of who will seize these opportunities and benefit from them is still open. The GeoTrust Programme will put these opportunities within the reach of Finnish industry.

Human Spare Parts
Participants: University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology
Tekes funding: €4,467,000 (1.1.2015 - 31.12.2016)

Tissue defects, invalidity and death caused by disease and trauma result in not only billions of euros in costs every year, but result in great distress for individuals too. For example, over 6 million people suffer osteoporotic bone defects in Europe per year and over 40,000 patients in Finland have dry type age-related macular degeneration; which currently can't be treated with either drugs or therapies.
The Human Spare Parts research programme aims to develop novel solutions for these needs. The programme combines top-level expertise in biomaterials, sensor technology, biomedical engineering and stem cells, to develop technologies and solutions leading to new therapies and drugs in the future.

Eeva Landowski
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