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Tekes to bring seven top international experts to Finland

Tekes will fund seven new international research projects within FiDiPro – the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme. The foreign top researchers will work in different parts of the country and provide Finland with new information on service innovations, medicine and information technology.

The new FiDiPro researchers will work at Aalto University, Åbo Akademi University, the University of Tampere, the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku and the University of Oulu. They are from the Netherlands, the United States, England, Germany and Russia. The portion of the project costs to be financed by Tekes is €6.5 million.

The aim of the FiDiPro programme is to promote international cooperation and bring new, state-of-the-art know-how to Finland. "Internationalisation is still a challenge for us. We need to invest in international cooperation and in increasing our know-how in the future," says Veli-Pekka Saarnivaara, Director General of Tekes.

Tekes challenges pioneers renewing research and different fields to apply for the FiDiPro programme

International know-how is now for the first time available in service innovation research due to the FiDiPro programme. "We are still hoping for projects from fields that offer significant opportunities for renewal and growth and support the fields of know-how that are important to Finland. Such fields include services, global value networks or natural resources and sustainable economy. We invite pioneers renewing research and different fields to take up the challenge and apply," says Director Kari Komulainen.

So far, Tekes has funded 46 FiDiPro projects through which 35 FiDiPro Professors and 11 FiDiPro Fellows have come or are coming to Finland. Many of the projects are related to the information and communications sector or to biotechnology and material technology research.

FiDiPro, the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme, is a joint funding programme of the Academy of Finland and Tekes, which provides Finnish universities and research institutes with the opportunity to recruit foreign or expatriate top researchers to work in Finland for a fixed period of time.

Further information

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

Director, international network
Kari Komulainen
Tel. +358 10 605 5842


Descriptions of the new FiDiPro projects

Fidipro Professor Leon Lefferts, University of Twente, Holland

Research project:  BIO-H2: Hydrogen from Biomass using Thermo-chemical methods
Biohydrogen, i.e. hydrogen from biomass, can be produced via several process routes. In this research project biohydrogen refers to hydrogen which is produced via catalytic reforming processes from streams derived from various biomasses.Hydrogen is an essential element of the present and future energy systems. It is widely accepted as an attractive energy carrier to replace conventional fossil fuels and mainly seen as an energy carrier for vehicles powered with hydrogen fuel cells. EU has set targets to transform the entire energy system in Europe, and has approved the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), “Towards a low-carbon future”. According to the Impact Assessment of the SET-Plan hydrogen cars are included in Group 2, i.e. in the second wave along time horizon: Emerging technologies on the verge of mass market penetration. Hydrogen is also widely used in oil refineries and chemical industry in various processes. It is an essential reactant in processes which aim to improve the quality of traffic fuel components. Furthermore, large quantities of hydrogen are needed in the conversion of biomass based streams to fuels and chemicals. The objective of the project is to develop new process concepts to replace fossil fuel based hydrogen with biomass-based hydrogen. These process concepts utilize biomass, biomass-based intermediates and wastes, often formed in diluted water solutions, as raw materials. Aqueous-phase catalysis, micro(channel) reactors and (aqueous-phase) reforming are concepts to be combined in the research.
Contact person and host organisation: Aalto University, Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology, Professor Outi Krause


FiDiPro Professor Hans Lilja, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Research Project: Novel diagnostic tools for detection of clinically significant prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common male malignancy in Western industrial countries, including Finland. The main clinical problem is that substantial fraction of diagnosed prostate cancers are clinically insignificant, i.e. they are not potentially lethal.  To prevent overtreatment, it would be utmost important to find markers to reliable identify clinically significant cancer prior to the treatment. In the project novel biomarkers will be discovered and validated. Known biomarkers and genotype data will be combined for risk predictions. Non-coding RNAs will be tested as biomarkers.  And, new tools to detect and profiling circulating tumor cells (CTCs) will be developed.
Contact person and host organization: University of Tampere, Institute of Medical Technology, Professor Tapio Visakorpi


Fidipro Professor Stephen J. Bailey, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom

Research Project: Governance of innovations in productivity improvement of publicly-funded services
According to the well-known ‘Baumol’s Disease’ hypothesis, the productivity of service sectors is either unchanged or grows only very slowly when compared with the scope for innovation in the manufacturing sector (e.g. by adopting new technology). This project will demonstrate the falsity of that hypothesis in the increasingly ‘unbundled’ service economy and illustrate the considerable potential for productivity increases in public services through good governance of service economy innovations. 
The fundamental idea of the project is to evaluate and explain how alternative governance arrangements of service economy innovations affect preconditions of productivity and service improvements in publicly-funded services. Connections between adaptation of modern governance tools and mechanisms and transformation of different publicly-funded service sectors will be clarified and illustrated. Feasible and well-grounded suggestions for regulatory reforms of publicly-funded service sectors will be presented and analysed.
The project is an extensive research enterprise aiming to provide evidence of how service governance systems may enable or hamper productivity and service improvements in publicly-funded services in generally and local government funded services in particular. It is also a knowledge transfer programme, refining international research findings and service reform experiences into smaller contextualised and generic blocks suitable for Finnish stakeholders of developing service industries.
Contact person and host organization: University of Tampere, Department of Economics and Accounting, Professor Pekka Valkama


Fidipro Professor Jürgen Münch, Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE), Germany

Research project: Cloud Software Factory
Cloud Software Factory aims at producing an approach for systematic cloud software technology evaluation, which is packaged as an exploitable Experimentation Package and tried out in real-life context in several case trials. As a result, this enables the systematic built up of strategies for cloud computing (such as combining open source, open interfaces as well as commercial products in cloud software development) from the quality modeling viewpoint enabling companies to explicitly define service level agreements and targets, as an example. Additionally, the project contributes on the development of global Software Factory concept as well as empiricism therein.
Contact person and host organization: University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science, Professor Pekka Abrahamsson


FiDiPro Professor Harry Bouwman, Delft University of Technology, Holland

Research Project:  Mobile Value Services with Soft Computing Methods
The aim of the project is to develop new mobile services for which we use the name mobile value services. This new generation of services is more developed than now existing mobile services. The mobile value services will adapt with their use environment and with their user and they will be born right before the usage. These MVS-services will be built from modules, which will be identified and controlled with a fuzzy ontology; the MVS-services use the best modules for the context and for the user and the composition of modules will be done with approximate reasoning (AR) methods.  Fuzzy ontology and AR-methods are part of the IAMSR’s soft computing research program. In the project we try new ways of services and will show that they could diversify user’s service experiences so that their daily routines will change with mobile value services.  We will also develop new business models and study how we could develop an umbrella ecosystem around mobile value services. The results of the project will build a basis for mobile services development programs for the companies involved in the project. Projects research work will be done in collaboration with the University of Jyväskylä and with several Finnish companies and with the Tivit ICT SHOK program.
Contact person and host organization: Åbo Akademi, Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research, Professor Christer Carlsson


FiDiPro Professor Valery V.  Tuchin, Saratov State University of Russia, Russia

Research Project: Biophotonics technologies for novel diagnostic and therapeutic applications
The aim of this project is to develop novel approaches that can be used for non-invasive tissue diagnostics. These are different kinds of optical clearing agents to modify tissue optical properties, fabrication of new tissue-mimicking phantoms, as well as using of nanoparticles for tissue imaging. Simulations will be made to model light propagation in tissues, phantoms will be prepared and verified by comparing with tissue measurements in vitro.
Contact person and host organization: University of Oulu, Optoelectronics and Measurement Techniques Laboratory, Professor Risto Myllylä


FiDiPro Fellow Dr. Michael Schäferling, Univesity of Regensburg, Germany

Research project: Multifunctional probes based on upconversion nanoparticles for diagnostic applications
The research project is focused on study of upconversion luminescence and luminescence lifetime-based multifunctional probes and their use in diagnostic applications and luminescence imaging. The project aims to development of upconversion reporter technology to be applied in immunoassays, nucleic acid hybridization assay and other ligand binding assays, and a quantitative optical biosensors for measurement of protease enzyme activity within whole blood. Upconversion photoluminescence and measurement based on luminescence lifetime are hypothesized to eliminate the problems originating from autofluorescence, absorption of excitation light and photobleaching of the sensor dyes in luminescence imaging and providing significant sensitivity advantage in diagnostic applications.
Contact person and host organization: University of Turku, Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, Professor Tero Soukka


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Tekes to bring seven top international experts to Finland