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Tekes has granted FiDiPro funding for nine international research projects

Tekes has taken the decision to provide funding for six new FiDiPro Professors and three FiDiPro Fellows. The top class international researchers are destined for the University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu, Tampere University of Technology, Helsinki University of Technology, Åbo Akademi University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Subjects covered by the new FiDiPro research projects range from medicine, techno-social networks to biomaterials and signal processing. The researchers now being funded have been drawn from the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Ireland and Japan.

FiDiPro - the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme - is a joint funding programme run by Tekes and the Academy of Finland which enables Finnish research groups to invite top class international researchers to work in Finland for a period of two to five years.

"It is vital that this country obtains top class international researchers, particularly when their expertise is targeted at important areas for Finland," says Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara, Director General of Tekes. 

Tekes-funded FiDiPro research projects support the Tekes strategic focus areas and often link to Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation.

"When assessing FiDiPro research projects, apart from scientific quality Tekes also stresses the exploitability of the results," emphasises Mika Aalto, Technology Director at Tekes.

Funding of emerging talent generates interest

Whereas previously the programme has been open only to researchers at professorial level, this year Tekes for the first time has funded gifted individuals at the start of their careers, under the FiDiPro Fellow banner.

"FiDiPro Fellow funding has awakened a great deal of interest and we have received more applications than in previous rounds," says Hanna Rantala, Senior Technology Adviser in charge of the FiDiPro programme.

Prior to the current round of funding decisions Tekes and the Academy of Finland have funded a total of 46 international FiDiPro researchers. Efforts have begun to bear fruit as the introduction of an international professor in the working group of many a project has spawned further joint research projects, researcher exchange and joint student exchange programmes.

For more information

Technology Director
Mika Aalto
tel. +358 10 605 5886

Senior Technology Adviser
Hanna Rantala
tel. +358 10 605 5797

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Tekes-funded FiDiPro projects in the spring 2009 application round

FiDiPro Professor Thomas Heinze
Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (JU), Germany

Professor Heinze has extensive knowledge about polysaccharides, specially in the area of cellulose and its derivatives.

FiDiPro project: Polysaccharide-Based Biomaterials. This project will produce new advanced knowledge overcoming the challenges of creation of tailored biopolymers to design a broad collection of high-added value biomaterials. Project is expected to have significant results in creation of new concepts for high-added value materials based on biomass, allowing development of new innovative products suitable for various value chains. The main challenge is to connect the functionalisation strategy of the biopolymers with the tailored assembly of materials at the nanoscale and also with the creation of stimuli-responsive properties, such as specific response to light and chemicals.
Project will advance education of scientists with a new expertise combining tailoring of biomass based materials at the molecular level  to achieve macroscopic multi-functional properties.

Finnish host organisation: Åbo Akademi, Laboratory of Fibre and Cellulose Technology, professor Pedro Fardim

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FiDiPro Professor János Kertész
Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
Professor János Kertész is a worldwide renowned expert in complex systems. He has been active in many fields of statistical physics and its applications.
FiDiPro project: COSYR. The aim of the project is to carry out research on complex systems especially techno-social and ICT-based ones, as well as to strengthen the expertise and its training in this respect. Using data mining, data analysis, and modelling techniques and tools the plan is to explore the properties of these techno-social network systems for novel application development. The focus will be on problems like community formation and identification, relation between link weights, network structure and functionality, evolution of networks, and the role of time scales. Specifically the plan is to investigate networks of communication technology and social ICT-based nets and their collective behaviour. The research results are expected to contribute to the understanding of complex networks and lead to several practical applications related to the well-being of the society by optimising communication networks, introducing information spreading strategies, managing risk or other related aspects of community or civil design, and by developing computational analysis and modelling tools for the use of policy makers and technology developers to harness social ICT and collective behaviour in them. In this, training researchers and experts is an important part of the project.

Finnish host organisation: Helsinki University of Technology (Aalto University), Centre of Excellence in Computational Complex Systems Research - COSY, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science - BECS, Professor Kimmo Kaski

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FiDiPro Professor Jonathan K.C. Knowles
Head of Group Research, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland

Professor Knowles is a pioneer of personalized medicine and has over 20 years of experience at the senior executive level in the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

FiDiPro project: Translational research and personalized medicine

Professor Knowles' project aims to facilitate the translation of biomedical research discoveries towards clinical and industrial applications as well as the adaptation of personalized medicine. Personalized medicine refers to the selection and optimization of therapies according to the patient's genotype and the molecular characteristics of disease. This project aims to demonstrate how new and emerging technologies could already be applied in helping treatment decisions in oncology. Eventually personalized medicine could improve the efficacy of health care processes as well as generate new business opportunities.

The project also aims to leverage the expertise and networks of professor Jonathan Knowles. To this end a forum of translational researchers and industry will be established, bringing together representatives from universities, sector research institutes, industry, public health care providers and government authorities.

Finnish host organization: University of Helsinki, Institute for
Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM, director, professor Olli Kallioniemi

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FiDiPro Professor Stefan Kurz
ETAS GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany

Professor Stefan Kurz has made significant contributions in developing the classical electromagnetic theory to meet better the new needs of engineering.

FiDiPro project: Advanced Electromagnetic Modeling and Simulation for Engineering
The 20th century mathematics yields a new interpretation into classical fields of physics, such as electromagnetism, and suggests new engineering practices that are not easily recognized by the traditional view. The project starts from this mathematics and builds a bridge into electrical engineering and electromagnetic design and vice versa in order to improve methods and approaches employed in electromagnetic design. Together with software vendors and industrial end users we focus on developing software systems for the upcoming needs.
Finnish host organisation:  Tampere University of Technology, Electromagnetics, professor Lauri Kettunen

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FiDiPro Professor Yrjö Henrik Roos
Faculty of Food Science and Technology, University College Cork, Cork, Irland

Professor Yrjö Roos has profound expertise in food processing and food material science.

FiDiPro project: Hybrid technologies for food products with high fibre  content  and stability  towards oxidation
The objective of the project  is to develop food processing technologies, where biotechnical matrix modification is combined with thermomechanical processing for manufacturing of cereal products with long storage stability and good sensory properties. The impact of processing parameters and material chemistry as well as macromolecular structure on physical features of the matrix will be investigated. Biopolymer functionalization is studied as a tool to create intrinsic protection and tailored diffusion properties for the food matrix. Interfacial engineering focuses spesifically on exploitation of milk proteins in controlling mass transfer-induced instability.

Finnish host organization: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Biotechnology, professor Anu Kaukovirta-Norja

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FiDiPro Professor Wei Zhang
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, TX, USA

Professor Wei Zhang works as a professor in pathology and cancer biology in The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and as the head of the Cancer Genomics Core Laboratory.

FiDiPro project:  Systems Biology of Cancer: Mapping, Methods and Modeling for the Cancer Genome. The project is focused on applying systems biology tools to modern cancer research. We integrate multiple types of high-throughput measurement data and, by data mining medical archives for clinical data, associate clinical parameters with particular genetic events. Mathematical modeling and reverse engineering are applied to uncover the mechanisms of initiation and progression of the disease. The goal is to develop computational methods to process genomic data and to find new genomic markers. Also, in collaboration with Research Tissue Bank Finland, FinTiB, we aim to create a framework towards utilizing biobank resources in large scale. We expect to use the developed methods to study those cancers that are unusually common among the Finnish population. This project will advance the fields of computational cancer genomics, cancer research, and personalized medicine.

Finnish host organization:  Tampere University of Technology, Department of Signal Processing, Professor Olli Yli-Harja

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FiDiPro Fellow Dr. Bogdan Dumitrescu
Politehnica University of Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Bogdan Dumitrescu has a broad knowledge of convex optimization techniques, with application to signal processing problems like filter, filter bank and wavelet design.

FiDiPro project: Convex optimization in audio and image processing.
Convex optimization theory is now a mature field, but only in the last decade it has enjoyed the development of reliable computation methods, especially for classes of problems like semidefinite programming. Signal processing tends to become one of the main beneficiaries of these methods and researchers try to identify convexity in existing or new optimization problems. The current project aims to adapt convex optimization tools for obtaining efficient and nearly optimal solutions to problems belonging to the following topics: oversampled filter banks, sparse representations, multidimensional systems analysis and synthesis. It is desired to obtain theoretical advances leading to publication of articles in top research journals and algorithmic advances, improving on current solutions in terms of quality and computing performance. The main applicative goals are: Algorithms for the flexible design of filter banks for audio processing that ensure high quality of subband processing tasks like noise suppression and audio enhancement;  Design of sparse representation algorithms and associated overcomplete dictionaries, for audio and image coding; Methods for designing 2-D filter banks and wavelets, for image processing operations like denoising.

Finnish host organisation:  Tampere University of Technology, Center for Signal Processing, professori Jaakko Astola 

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FiDiPro Fellow Dr. Fa-Hsuan Lin
Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taiwan ja Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA

Dr. Fa-Hsuan Lin has worked in the leading research institute in Boston, where he has developed MRI theories successfully.

FiDiPro project: The project will develop methods for ultra-low-field MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging ) in order to improve MR image resolution and shorten the measurement time to reach a level that will benefit brain research and allow new clinical applications. The device will allow one to measure the structure of the brain and cerebral activity virtually at the same time. The project will optimize existing methods for low-field applications such as massively parallel measurement and so-called compressed sensing and new methods, e.g., based on the use of a priori information will be developed. The project exploits and links to the ongoing major EU-funded project coordinated by the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science of the Helsinki University of Technology where a new kind of ultra-low-field MRI and a whole-head MEG-MRI device will be developed.

Finnish host organisation: Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science, professor Risto Ilmoniemi

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FiDiPro Fellow Dr. Kamya Yekeh Yazdandoost
NICT, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan

Dr.Yazdandoost is an expert in an interdisciplinary field between medicine and information communications technology.

FiDiPro project: Wireless Body Area Networks for Health and Medical-care (WiBAN-HAM).
The subject of this research work is the design and development of novel solutions targeting wireless body area networks for health and medical-care applications to be used in the healthcare facility and home. The research focuses on realizing a number of areas including a channel model for tissue implanted device and onbody sensors for wireless body area networks. A central component of wireless body area networks is an antenna and there are several issues to consider when designing an antenna for WBAN's applications, including power consumption, size, frequency, biocompatibility and the unique RF transmission challenges posed by the human body.
Prior to any in-body or on-body data communications, the effect of the human body on the RF signal must be understood. Unlike the standard communication all the way through constant air, the various tissues and organs within the body have their own unique conductivity, dielectric constant, and characteristic impedance. Understanding the human body's effect on RF wave propagation is complicated by the fact that the body consists of components that each offer different degrees, and in some cases, different types of RF interaction. Therefore wireless body area networks should be treated as a special case of wireless communications with its unique channel model.
In our vision of future healthcare we anticipate ubiquitous use of WBANs in health- and medical care.

Finnish host organisation University of Oulu, Centre for Wireless Communications, director Ari Pouttu


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Tekes has granted FiDiPro funding for nine international research projects