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Photonics Research and Innovation PREIN selected to Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme

The Academy of Finland has selected four new flagships to its Flagship Programme. Coordinated by the University of Tampere, the Photonics Research and Innovation flagship, PREIN, secured more than 8.2 million euros of funding for 2019–2022. Among other things, the flagship will focus on basic research in photonics, as well as on the utilisation on research findings in various applications and innovations. This is achieved by further strengthening the photonics ecosystem formed by key players operating in the field.

The Academy of Finland has selected four new flagships to receive funding from its Flagship Programme. One of the flagships to secure funding is the Photonics Research and Innovation flagships, PREIN, which is coordinated by the University of Tampere, with the University of Eastern Finland, Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland as partners.

Photonics is a growing field

Light-based technologies, or photonics, have many applications essentially in all areas of modern life. Nowadays, photonics is used in, for example, telecommunications, biomedicine, energy and environmental engineering, manufacturing and consumer products. Furthermore, new applications are constantly emerging. Photonics has tremendous growth potential, as it is expected to generate one million new jobs in Europe by 2030. Today, there are more than 200 photonics companies in Finland alone.

“Finnish photonics research has been ranked extremely high in many evaluations. This research has also led to the creation of new products and businesses. The objective of the Photonics Research and Innovation flagship is to further strengthen this value chain, while also strengthening the ecosystem formed by the field’s key players,” says Dean Martti Kauranen from the University of Tampere.

The Photonics Research and Innovation flagship brings together the cutting edge of Finnish photonics expertise and experts to further strengthen research in photonics, and to create and commercialize new breakthrough technologies. The flagship’s diverse network of collaborators enables a smooth transfer of research findings to promote the creation of innovative products. The flagship is led by Professor Goëry Genty at the University of Tampere.

“Photonics is a key enabling technology in many traditional industries in Finland, starting from forestry and the paper industry. In addition to companies that are focused on the domestic industry, there is also a large number of strongly export-oriented start-ups that have spun off from the research of the universities and VTT. These start-ups have managed to attract millions of euros in foreign investment or, thanks to a successful exit strategy, they have already moved beyond the start-up phase,” Professor Jyrki Saarinen from the University of Eastern Finland says. He is the flagship's deputy director, and in charge of the flagship’s outcome utilisation and other impact.

Flagship Programme promotes excellent research and versatile impact

The other new flagships are iCAN – Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Platform (University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital), INVEST – Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State (University of Turku and National Institute for Health and Welfare), and FCAI – Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence (Aalto University, University of Helsinki and VTT). Two flagships were selected to the programme in the first call: FinnCERES – Competence Centre for the Materials Bioeconomy (Aalto University, VTT), and 6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem (University of Oulu). With six flagships in total, the programme is now ready. The host organisations of the flagships include six universities, two research institutes and Helsinki University Hospital.

The Flagship Programme is an instrument that promotes excellent research and versatile impact arising therefrom. The programme supports future knowledge and know-how and sustainable solutions to societal challenges, and advances economic growth by developing new business opportunities.  By providing substantial long-term funding, the programme accelerates active collaboration between different actors and facilitates the development and expansion and systematic operations.

Further information on the flagships is available on the Academy of Finland website.

For further information, please contact:

Dean Martti Kauranen, tel. +358 40 7733065, martti.kauranen (a)

Professor Jyrki Saarinen, tel. +358 50 595 4348, jyrki.saarinen (a)