The Finnish Freshwater Competence Centre Aims to Boost Science, Education, and Business with Key Technologies


The main goal of the Freshwater Competence Centre is to promote the research infrastructure, equipment, and the outstanding Finnish freshwater competence and knowledge both nationally and internationally, in order to make wide-reaching science with concrete impact.

The Freshwater Competence Centre (FWCC) consists of Finnish universities and governmental research institutes: University of Turku, University of Oulu, Aalto university, Finnish Environment Institute, and Finnish Geospatial Research Institute. Currently, there are also 15 business organisations involved.

– Each one of these organisations has their own specific field of expertise within the research area of freshwater. The previous successful collaborations encouraged these organisations to finally start the Freshwater Competence Centre, to try and solve great challenges related to our valuable freshwater resources, says the leader of the Centre Petteri Alho from the University of Turku.

The Freshwater Competence Centre focuses on three themes: green transition, networking, and digital transition. The centre is funded by the Academy of Finland via multiple Academy projects.

– We are developing a concept in which we take environmental values​ into account and utilise digitalisation in the examination of river basins. For example, we study the effects of climate and land-use changes to the river basins, nutrients, suspended matter, and carbon loads. We also study the greener, ecosystem-based solutions for managing the upcoming challenges, Alho says.

The researchers aim to create a digital twin of river basins, in particular, three supersites (River Vantaanjoki, Oulanka River, and Tana river), to develop next generation modeling research for fluvial environments in the context of water amount and quality.

– We also have wide-ranging expertise from peatland and ground water hydrology to fluvial dynamics and state-of-the-art 3D mapping and modeling of the river basin and the catchment area, Alho says.

The researchers of the centre are developing a research, development and innovation ecosystem connecting the scientific actors in fluvial and water shed science as well as businesses in the field of freshwater in Finland. In this task, the University of Eastern Finland is also involved as a partner.

– The hydrological research infrastructure of the centre will obtain and build a research infrastructure of sensors and models for freshwater research in a coordinated manner across the main science actors, consisting of latest available under- and above water sensor technologies as well as a wide variety of autonomous and human-operated platforms to mount the sensors on.

Kumiveneessä mittalaite, taustalla vesistömaisema.

Flow measurements with ADCP (acoustic Doppler current profiler) in River Oulanka.

Contact us for more information:

PI, Professor Petteri Alho, University of Turku,, tel. +358 50 570 8333. Alho is an expert on measurement and modeling of river environments and river dynamics.

Assistant Professor Hannu Marttila, University of Oulu,, tel. +358 50 350 5605. Marttila is an expert on hydrological processes and catchment.  management issues in northern landscapes.

Academy Research Fellow Eliisa Lotsari, Aalto University,, tel. +358 50 473 2282 Lotsari is an expert on northern river environment and the winter conditions water flow.

Research Professor Cintia Uvo, Finnish Environment Institute,, tel. +358 295 251 555. Uvo is an expert on hydrological research of large areas.

Research Professor Harri Kaartinen, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute,, tel. +358 29 531 4756. Marttila is an expert on new 3D measurement technologies.

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Created 23.05.2022 | Updated 23.05.2022