UEF secures 2.6 million euros of funding to strengthen strategic research into aquatic environments

The University of Eastern Finland has secured 2.6 million euros of funding for a project exploring aquatic environments as an accelerator of research, wealth and well-being in eastern Finland. The project, running from 2019 to 2021, is funded by Jenny and Antti Wihuri Fund, Olvi Foundation and Saastamoinen Foundation.

This unique collaboration between the three independent foundations will significantly enhance scientific progress as well as the project’s impact. The objective of the project is to integrate the expertise of the university’s Kuopio and Joensuu campuses and that of public and private-sector partners under one umbrella, and to promote collaboration within a new innovation ecosystem for aquatic environments. The project seeks to identify factors that have an adverse impact on waters and to consolidate water-related actions and the use of aquatic environments. This will advance the wealth and business that are based on sustainable use of nature and its resources in eastern Finland.

“For us, the funding awarded by the three foundations constitutes a unique resource. It improves our opportunities to create a collaborative cluster for aquatic research, development and education in eastern Finland. I believe that regional, national and international cooperation relating to aquatic environments will boost faith in the development of eastern Finland at large. We acknowledge the challenge set for us, but believe it is one that can be realistically tackled,” says Professor Jukka Jurvelin, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Forestry at the University of Eastern Finland.

“Research into aquatic environments is already being conducted in eastern Finland together with partners. This donation, however, clearly strengthens an interdisciplinary approach, expanding the value chain of aquatic research from natural sciences to human behaviour and commercialisation,” says Professor Sari Rissanen, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies at the University of Eastern Finland.

“Olvi Foundation, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Fund and Saastamoinen Foundation have been jointly looking for a target of donation that could serve as a platform for advancing a research project that is important to us all. As a consortium, we can bring more funding to the project, which strengthens the project’s chances of having a greater role and impact,” representatives of the three foundations point out.

The University of Eastern Finland has a long history of interdisciplinary aquatic research. Already now, the university conducts research into technologies for water purification, treatment and analysis, risk assessment relating to water impurities, behavioural ecology in the context of traditional fishing and fisheries, molecular ecology and ecotoxicology, climate protection, nature tourism, legal frameworks and policy-making.

Approaching water-related phenomena simultaneously from the viewpoints of natural and social sciences in collaboration with key stakeholders makes research increasingly coordinated.

“It is crucial for water resources to be used sustainably also in the future. From now on, this line of interdisciplinary research will be better coordinated, and it will also be integrated into development activities of our partners. The water sector will witness the emergence of a stronger interdisciplinary research community, which brings together expertise in natural sciences, business studies and law. Research-based knowledge will be applied responsibly and in collaboration with key stakeholders. This is how we can promote sustainable development in eastern Finland,” Jurvelin concludes.

For further information, please contact:

Dean, Professor Jukka Jurvelin, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 40 353 9282, jukka.jurvelin(a)uef.fi

Dean, Professor Sari Rissanen, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 40 594 3774, sari.rissanen(a)uef.fi

Arto Mäenmaa, Representative of Jenny and Antti Wihuri Fund, tel. +358 9 4542 4010, arto.maenmaa(a)wihurinrahasto.fi

Heikki Sirviö, Chair of Olvi Foundation’s Board, tel. +358 500 676814, sirvio.heikki(a)outlook.com

Petteri Karttunen, Chair of Saastamoinen Foundation’s Board, tel. +358 40 500 1053, petteri.karttunen(a)saastamoinenfoundation.fi