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TUT researchers involved in two new Academy of Finland Centres of Excellence

The Academy of Finland has chosen 12 new Centres of Excellence for the years 2018–2025. Two of the research units feature TUT researchers: the Centre of Excellence in Body-on-Chip Research and the Centre of Excellence of Inverse Modelling and Imaging.

Academy of Finland’s new Centres of Excellence (CoE) conduct research in subjects ranging from ageing and care to tumour genetics, from game culture to space technology, and from quantum technology to European law and identity. Researchers from Tampere University of Technology are involved in two of these prestigious research units.

The Centre of Excellence in Body-on-Chip Research is coordinated by TUT and located at BioMediTech, which is a joint institute operated in collaboration by Tampere University of Technology and University of Tampere. Professor Minna Kellomäki, Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering at TUT and head of the CoE, rejoices about the consortium’s new status as a Centre of Excellence.

“This is our first time as a Centre of Excellence, even though we have a conducted research together for over ten years. Our new funding and status allow us to continue the work we started in the Tekes-funded Human Spare Parts project and to open up new venues of research,” Kellomäki says.

The new Centre of Excellence brings together expertise from biology and technology. Its goal is to create a new type of body-on-chip concept where cell cultures, blood vessels, and nerves are utilised to create networks of several cell or tissue cultures based on stem cells. A computerised nervous system measures, analyses, and controls the network system.

“This research produces significant new expertise. We will have a deeper understanding of tissue operation, the in vitro construction of composite tissues, the operation management of composite tissues, and many other matters. Our end goal, a concept that combines biology with synthetic structures, will have much to give to research areas such as the development of medicinal substances,” Kellomäki says.

TUT is also involved in the Centre of Excellence of Inverse Modelling and Imaging, which has now been selected to the programme for the third time.

“The Centre of Excellence enables us to conduct unique, long-running research into applied mathematics and inverse problems, and it enables TUT to keep its place in the international top leagues in the field. With this funding, research of inverse problems will have had 20 years of continuous top funding, which is extremely exceptional both in Finland and internationally. It also shows that the research of inverse problems has become an established field of research that institutions wish to support,” says Professor Mikko Kaasalainen, member of the Centre of Excellence from TUT’s Laboratory of Mathematics.

“In addition to mathematics, we will focus on many different fields of application from biology and medical imaging to space research,” Kaasalainen adds.

Centres of Excellence are the flagships of Finnish research. The units represent international top-level expertise in their field, and they work to improve research, develop creative new research environments, and train talented new researchers for the benefit of Finnish research and business. The Academy of Finland received a total of 179 letters of intent for this Centre of Excellence call. The applications were reviewed by international expert panels. The new Centres of Excellence were selected into a revised CoE programme. The new scheme has extended the previous six-year CoE funding period to cover eight years.

News submitted by: Riku Haapaniemi
Keywords: science and research, working at tut, biomeditech, mathematics