The University of Turku has received over €3.1 million in EU funding for a postdoctoral programme that will recruit 22 international researchers. The purpose of the programme is to make breakthroughs in health-related research and promote postdoctoral researchers’ career development.
The European Commission granted the Systemic approaches to improve cardiometabolic and brain health during lifespan (SYS-LIFE) programme, led by Professor of Internal Medicine Markus Juonala at the University of Turku, over €3.1 million in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Cofund funding. The entire funding for the programme is over €7.3 million. 22 international postdocs will be recruited to the postdoctoral researcher programme, with each position lasting for three years.
“The key goal of the programme is to exploit the the University of Turku’s unique resources for research on cardiovascular diseases and brain and metabolic disorders. We possess extensive data sets and top-quality infrastructure, which the recruited postdocs can use in their own research,” says Juonala.
Cardiometabolic diseases and brain disorders – such as heart attacks, strokes, dementia, depression, and diabetes – account for over 48 percent of mortality in the EU and cause millions of lost working years in the professional life. Annually, these diseases result in more than €1.6 trillion in expenses across the European Union.
“It is clear that we need to increase research on these diseases immediately. With research, we can learn to identify and treat the diseases, but many of them could be prevented with lifestyle changes. It is important to approach the matter from a multidisciplinary perspective and combine research in medicine, technology, natural sciences and behavioural sciences,” says Juonala.
The researchers recruited to the postdoctoral researcher programme have a chance to design and lead high-quality and innovative research projects. The researchers are provided with a multidisciplinary research environment and training in leadership skills.
“The programme emphasises the career planning of the postdoctoral researchers. Our objective is that the programme benefits the researchers’ careers, whether they continue their professional life in academia, hospitals or companies. This approach is unique in Finland and in most of Europe as well,” says Juonala.