The grant programs jointly funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation, the Fulbright Finland Foundation, and the University of Eastern Finland bring top researchers in the fields of health sciences and environmental sciences from the U.S. to the University of Eastern Finland, and simultaneously open opportunities to enhance the networks forteaching and research between Finland and the U.S. The strong cooperation across the Atlantic is an indication of how internationally valued the research conducted at the University of Eastern Finland really is.
Together, the partners offer two different grant programs that enable U.S. university professors and assistant/associate professors to teach and take part in research projects at the University of Eastern Finland. The first partnership grant was established in 2008. In the beginning, the Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Grant in Health and Environmental Sciences was awarded yearly to one grantee in health sciences. Today, the grant is awarded yearly to two grantees, with environmental sciences also included. Applications from the fields of water research, forests and bioeconomy research, and neuroscience research are especially encouraged.
The first grant was awarded to Professor Frank S. Rosenthal from Purdue University for the academic year 2008-09 to research and teach environmental health at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences. Environmental health, which combines health sciences and natural sciences, was a top research field at what was then the University of Kuopio.
For the academic year 2010-11 the grant was awarded to Professor Roger Coulombe from Utah State University. As the visiting professor at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, he helped develop the teaching of toxicology and researched the effect of pharmaceutical safety and probiotics on the prevention of cancer. The research cooperation isongoing, and Coulombe still gives guest lectures in Kuopio to this day. According to Coulombe, Finnish research in biomedicine is widely recognized internationally, largely dueto its voluminous scale in proportion to the country’s size.
Diverse educational and research programmes
Up to the year 2023, the grant has been awarded to altogether 16 U.S. professors and assistant/associate professors. Paula Riess Sherwood from the University of Pittsburgh participated in developing the post-doc program at the Department of Nursing Science. Suzanna Bräuer from AppalachianState University researched methane-producing microbes and their effect on climate change at the Department of Environmental Sciences. Shalom Michaeli from the University of Minnesota took part in the development of deep brain stimulation based on functional MRI at the A. I. Virtanen Institute.
Elisabeth Bertone-Johnson from the University of Massachusetts researched the relationbetween menopause, vitamin D, and heart disease in Finnish women at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition. Keith DeRuisseau from Syracuse University carried out a research project at the Institute of Biomedicine, the objective of which was to find out what impact exercise had on oxidative stress, among others. For the academic year 2016-17 the grant was awarded to Sean Garrick from the University of Minnesota and to Sergey Nizkorodov from the University of California, Irvine to research fine particles in climate change at the Department of Technical Physics. Between the years 2017 and 2022, six other researchers visited the university through this grant program.
Most recently, in the academic year 2022-23, Adam Taylor from the University of Tennessee visited the School of Forest Sciences and studied how forest management and decisions about forest product manufacturing and utilization can help mitigate climate change.
Launching visits from top researchers in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
Since 2017, the University of Eastern Finland has also been a part of the Fulbright Distinguished Chair Program, which sponsors visits from top U.S. professors. The grant program jointly funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation, the Fulbright Finland Foundation, and the University of Eastern Finland brings two top U.S. professors to the university eachyear.
The Fulbright-Saastamoinen Foundation Distinguished Chair in Health Sciences program’s grants are allocated towards health sciences and especially towards research in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This research is defined as a top international research field in the university’s strategy.
By 2023, the program has seen altogether six top researchers visit the University of Eastern Finland. For the academic years 2023-25, the grant has been awarded to two researchers; Julie Goodwin from Yale University, who will visit the Kuopio Pediatric Research Unit and Anthony Hackney from North Carolina University, who will visit the Institute of Biomedicine.
Read more about the Fulbright-Saastamoinen scholarship programs:
Professor Shalom Michaeli, photo: Raija Törrönen