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UEF and industry partners secure FRIF funding for the development of cone beam imaging and effective drugs for ocular diseases

The Finnish Research Impact Foundation (FRIF) has granted 2.1 million euros of funding to joint research projects between universities and corporate partners.

The Finnish Research Impact Foundation has announced its decision to award a total of 2.1 million euros to support 10 cutting-edge research projects that are teaming up with corporate partners to tackle major challenges. The University of Eastern Finland secured funding for two joint research projects.

A joint project between UEF and Planmeca Oy, titled Deep Learning-based Image Reconstruction for Low-dose Cone Beam Computed Tomography, aims to advance cone beam imaging and improve diagnostics and new imaging innovations. The funding for the project amounts to 170,463 euros.

Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), or cone beam imaging, is an X-ray technique developed for examination of the facial area, especially dentition and the jaw. This joint project between the University of Eastern Finland and Planmeca makes use of modern inverse mathematics and deep learning to develop CBCT technology. The project will improve the accuracy of cone beam imaging, and the mathematical methods developed will also be applicable to other imaging methods, such as magnetic resonance imaging and PET imaging. Advances in cone beam imaging will lead not only to new commercial imaging innovations but also to improvements in medical diagnostics. The benefits for the patient will include reduced radiation stress, faster imaging and new imaging opportunities.

“At the CoE in Inverse Problems we have long been engaged in basic research related to mathematical CT modelling and computation methods. Funding from the Finnish Research Impact Foundation gives us an excellent opportunity to translate the knowledge we’ve accumulated into practical applications together with an industrial partner,” says Ville Kolehmainen, Principal Investigator and Professor at the Department of Technical Physics.

A joint project between UEF and Bayer, titled Platform for Targeted Drug Delivery to the Ocular Tissues, investigates more effective drugs for ocular diseases. Funding for the project amounts to 174,398 euros.

Ocular diseases have a huge impact on patients’ lives and their treatment is a major financial burden for society. Unfortunately, there are no effective drug treatments for most eye diseases. Poor drug delivery to the retina is a major bottleneck in ocular drug development. In this project, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland are teaming up with the pharmaceutical company Bayer to create a technology for targeted ocular delivery of drugs. The technology is based on the use of targeting compounds and nanotechnology. The drug will be inserted into the nanoparticles, and the compounds on the surfaces of drug-containing nanoparticles will direct the drug into the cells of the retina. This will allow the homing of the drug to the target site, thereby improving drug efficacy and safety. The technology will facilitate the development of effective and safe ocular drugs for unmet medical needs in ophthalmology. It will primarily benefit healthcare providers, the pharmaceutical industry as well as patients suffering from ocular diseases.

“The technology for targeted ocular delivery of drugs does not yet exist, and this project aims to create such technology,” says Arto Urtti, Principal Investigator of the project and Professor of Biopharmaceutics at the UEF School of Pharmacy.

FRIF’s fourth round of calls for Tandem Industry Academia Postdoc funding invited applications from projects aimed at achieving both academic and commercial impact together with corporate partners. Since 2019, FRIF has awarded funding worth around nine million euros to a total of 46 such projects. Aimed at Finnish universities and research institutes, FRIF funding is intended to encourage their cooperation with the Finnish business sector. The Foundation’s mission is to help bring together academic excellence with business and industry resources.

The new funding model developed by the Finnish Research Impact Foundation allows the academic research team and the business partners to genuinely commit themselves to research-driven cooperation. Projects funded under the Tandem Industry Academia Postdoc scheme involve an academic researcher representing a university or research institute working for 12 months with their host academic organization and another 12 months more closely with the project’s industry partner.

The Finnish Research Impact Foundation was created by the Finnish government in 2019 to foster closer links between Finnish academic education, research, and industry.

More information on the projects funded is available on the FRIF website.

For further information, please contact:

Lauri Oksanen, Chairman of Board,, tel. +358 50 584 2143

Petro Poutanen, CEO,, tel. +358 40 767 1631