ERC grants are one of Europe’s most respected research funding schemes. Starting Grants are awarded to researchers who are in the early stages of their careers, Consolidator Grants are awarded to those in the middle stages of their careers and Advanced Grants are awarded to well-established researchers. In addition to a high scientific standard, applicants need to display perspectives that reshape our scientific understanding.
Proof of Concept funding is available to those who already have an ERC award to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.
Below are the University of Eastern Finland's ongoing and completed ERC projects.
ERC Advanced Grants
Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, HeartGenes (2021–2026)
The grant was awarded for research addressing severe coronary artery disease and heart failure. The HeartGenes project seeks to develop novel vascular growth factor molecules. These molecules enable what is known as biological bypass, which seeks to improve circulation in an ischemic heart and to enhance its metabolism and energy supply. The project uses advanced catheter methods by which gene delivery to the heart muscle is performed locally both from the inner lining of heart ventricles and through retrograde delivery, i.e., by cleverly using of the heart’s own venous system as a delivery route.
Earlier ERC Advanced Grant projects:
- Professori Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä: Sensory Transformations and Transgenerational Environmental Relationships in Europe, 1950–2020 (SENSOTRA), 2016–2021
- Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala: Novel Gene Therapy Based on the Activation of Endogenous Genes for the Treatment of Ischemia - Concepts of endogenetherapy, release of promoter pausing, promoter-targeted ncRNAs and nuclear RNAi (CleverGenes), 2015–2021
- Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala: Gene Transfer Techniques in the Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases and Malignant Glioma (FutureGenes), 2010–2015
ERC Consolidator Grants
Professor Tarja Malm, HUMANE (2022–2027)
Neuroinflammatory reactions geared by malfunctional microglia play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The HUMANE project combines state-of-the-art techniques to answer how and which glial cell subpopulations are associated with altered neuronal network activities at subcellular and spatial resolution in the human brain in early AD. These events also contribute to a detectable vesicle-based biomarker profile in cerebrospinal fluid and blood prior to the clinical disease. The researchers will utilise brain biopsies obtained from normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) patients. As some of these patients manifest early AD pathology, their brains offer a unique window to evaluate cellular and molecular events occurring during early AD. The project will provide a holistic view on early AD pathology and pinpoint novel molecular targets for further validation and new fluid biomarkers.
Professor Tanja Tarvainen, QUANTOM (2021–2026)
The QUANTOM project delelops novel quantitative imaging modalities based on coupled physics. Coupled physics imaging combines the benefits of two physical phenomena, such as light and ultrasound through the photoacoustic effect. The research aims at the development of quantitative tomographic techniques utilising methods of Bayesian inverse problems. The aim is to provide new imaging modalities for biomedical imaging and research.
ERC Starting Grants
Associate Professor Miina Porkka, AQUAGUARD (2024–2028)
Freshwater plays a central role in regulating many life-supporting processes on Earth. Human actions, such as global warming, irrigation, land use and water infrastructure, threaten these processes by modifying the water cycle at an unprecedented rate and scale. The AQUAGUARD project aims to quantify human-driven water cycle changes and their impacts. The goal is to identify ways to safeguard freshwater’s life-supporting functions in the future. The researchers will integrate knowledge and data from various fields of study and use data analysis and modeling techniques to generate new insights that enable a better consideration of the global perspective in water management and governance.
Senior researcher Samuli Junttila, DRYTREE (2024-2028)
The research project aims to revolutionise our understanding of how environmental factors drive tree mortality across species and forest biomes. His research will use cutting-edge remote sensing technology and deep learning methods to quantify spatial and temporal tree mortality patterns, covering hundreds of millions of trees across large regions in Europe and the US. The data gathered will be unprecedented in detail, capturing the 3D structure of individual trees as well as their specific environmental conditions.
Associate Professor Alina Solomon, Brain Health Toolbox (2019–2024)
The aim of the project is to develop multimodal personalized tools for dementia risk prediction and prevention. The Brain Health Toolbox is designed to create a seamless continuum from accurate dementia prediction to effective prevention by developing the missing disease models and prediction tools for multimodal prevention and testing them in actual multimodal prevention trials. In addition, the aim is to bridge the gap between non-pharmacological and pharmacological approaches by designing a combined multimodal prevention trial based on a new European adaptive trial platform.
Professor Minna Kaikkonen-Määttä, EnDeCAD (2019–2023)
The EnDeCAD study sheds light on the role of noncoding enhancer regions and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) lying in these regions in the development of coronary artery disease (CAD). The aim is to bring the functional characterization of SNPs associated with CAD risk to date by focusing the search for causal SNPs to enhancers of disease relevant cell types, namely endothelial cells, macrophages and smooth muscle cells of the vessel wall, hepatocytes and adipocytes. Linking the findings with deep phenotypic genomics data from patients has the potential to improve risk characterization, biomarker identification and treatment selection in clinical practice.
Completed ERC Starting Grant projects:
- Professor Kati Kulovesi: Slowing Down Climate Change: Combining Climate Law and Climate Science to Identify the Best Options to Reduce Emissions of Short-lived Climate Forcers in Developing Countries (CLIMASLOW), 2017–2022
- Professor Annele Virtanen: Quantifying the atmospheric implications of the solid phase and phase transitions of secondary organic aerosols (QAPPA), 2014–2019
- Professor Rami Korhonen: Evaluation of Osteoarthritis Progression in a Patient-Spesific Manner using Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Computational Modeling (OAPROGRESS), 2011–2016
Completed ERC Proof of Concept projects:
- Professor Rami Korhonen, Novel algorithm for treatment planning of patients with osteoarthritis (ALGOA), 2018-2019