Multidisciplinarity is a strength of the University of Turku and a central theme in the University's Strategy. The collaboration of strong research groups and researcher communities working in different disciplines can produce new perspectives and solutions for the promotion of health, green transition as well as the development of a welfare state. We can also predict the future by looking back at the past.
A significant tool in promoting multidisciplinarity is the competitive funding, also known as Profi funding, granted to universities. The Academy of Finland grants the funding to universities every other year in a tight competition, and an international panel evaluates the universities’ applications. At the University of Turku, this funding has been used in multiple ways from maritime research to biodiversity and from bioimaging to plant biology.
“Six strategic research and education profiles have been defined in the University’s Strategy in order to promote multidisciplinarity.”
We were very successful in the most recent Profi funding call and received €12.3 million for the next six years. With the funding, we can advance immunology research, development of new materials and the understanding of human migration mechanisms. The last one of these in particular is a multidisciplinary project that brings together archaeology, linguistics, historical data, ancient DNA, quantitative methods, health sciences and medical data.
Spearheads of the University’s multidisciplinary research also include the flagships of the Academy of Finland where high-quality research comes together with diverse impact. The theme of the InFlames flagship is immunology research, and it produces new drugs, diagnostics and treatments. The INVEST flagship, then again, looks to the future of a welfare state and studies inequality as well as ways to decrease it.
Six strategic research and education profiles have been defined in the University's Strategy in order to promote multidisciplinarity. Our Profi projects and flagships are also linked to the profiles. The Academy of Finland is opening a call for flagships again this spring, and our University draws on our strong and effective scientific research as we enter the competition.
The writer is the Vice Rector responsible for research at the University of Turku.
Photo: Hanna Oksanen
The article has been published in Finnish in the Aurora magazine’s issue 1/2023.