Top Research

The success of the University of Helsinki among international universities is largely due to the cutting-edge research within the natural sciences. The research groups of the Faculty of Science have been successful in applications for external funding, such as Academy of Finland academy professorships and Centre of Excellence funding, as well as ERC funding from the European Union. These forms of research funding are very competitive and the standard of the science high. The strong increase in external funding has added to the width and depth of scientific research at the University of Helsinki.

The departments of the faculty are part of two Centres of Excellence funded by Academy of Finland. Three academy professors appointed by the Academy of Finland work at the faculty. Currently twelve of the researchers at the faculty’s departments receive competitive funding from ERC.

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The board of the Academy of Finland appoints the Academy Professors. Academy Professors are nationally and internationally renown researchers with proven academic skills and the ability to further the research in their own field. The Academy Professor is the highest research post of the Academy of Finland.

The Academy currently provides funding for 25 five-year Academy Professorships, of which about half work at the University of Helsinki. Three Academy professors work at the Faculty of Science:

Academy professors at the Faculty of science

Earlier appointments

  • Antti Kupiainen 01.08.1999 - 31.07.2004
  • Esko Ukkonen 01.08.1999 - 31.07.2004
  • Markku Kulmala 01.08.2004 - 31.07.2009
  • Antti Kupiainen 01.08.2004 - 31.07.2009
  • Markku Leskelä 01.08.2004 - 31.07.2009
  • Kari Astala 01.08.2006 - 31.07.2011
  • Kari Enqvist 01.01.2010 - 31.12.2014
  • Markku Kulmala 01.01.2011 - 31.12.2015
  • Antti Kupiainen 1.1.2013 - 31.12.2017
  • Matti Lassas 1.1.2014 - 31.12.2018
  • Timo Vesala 1.1.2015 - 31.12.2019

The departments of the Faculty of Science participate in several Centres of Excellence appointed by the Academy of Finland.

Centres of Excellence 2018–2025

Centres of Excellence 2014–2019

Centres of Excellence 2012–2017

Centres of Excellence 2008–2013

  • Centre of Excellence in Algorithmic Data Analysis Research
  • Centre of Excellence in Analysis and Dynamics Research
  • Centre of Excellence in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Meteorology of Atmospheric Composition and Climate Change
  • Centre of Excellence in Functional Materials (coordinated by Åbo Akademi University)

Centres of Excellence 2006–2011

  • Centre of Excellence in Computational Molecular Science
  • Centre of Excellence in Inverse Problems

The following researchers at the Faculty of Science have received funding from the European Research Council (ERC):

Advanced Grant:

  • Professor Markku Kulmala, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR): Atmospheric Gas-to-Particle conversion (ATM-GTP, 1.6.2017 - 31.5.2022)
  • Professor Antti Kupiainen, Department of Mathematics and Statistics: Quantum Fields and Probability (QFPROBA, 1.10.2017 - 30.9.2022)
  • Professor Hanna Vehkamäki, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR): Simulating Non-Equilibrium Dynamics of Atmospheric Multicomponent Clusters (DAMOCLES, 1.6.2016 - 31.5.2021)

Consolidator Grant:

  • Professor Peter Johansson, Department of Physics: Post-Newtonian modelling of the dynamics of supermassive black holes in galactic-scale hydrodynamical simulations, (KETJU, 1.7.2019 – 30.6.2024)
  • Associate Professor Emilia Kilpua, Department of Physics: Unravelling The Structure and Evolution of Solar Magnetic Flux Ropes and Their Magnetosheaths (SolMAG, 1.6.2017 - 31.5.2022)
  • Professor Tuomo Kuusi, Department of Mathematics and Statistics: Quantitative stochastic homogenization of variational problems, (QSHvar, 1.8.2019 - 31.7.2024)
  • Professor Minna Palmroth, Department of Physics: Plasma Reconnection, Shocks and Turbulence in Solar System Interactions: Modelling and Observations (PRESTISSIMO, 1.6.2016 - 31.5.2022)
  • Associate Professor Aleksi Vuorinen, Department of Physics: High-density QCD matter from first principles (DenseMatter, 1.7.2017 - 30.6.2022)

Starting Grant:

  • Assistant Professor Federico Bianchi, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR): Chasing pre-industrial aerosols (CHAPAs, 1.1.2020 – 31.12.2024)
  • University Researcher Enrico Di Minin, Department of Geosciences and Geography: Quantifying the global patterns and trends of the illegal wildlife trade: from artificial intelligence to financial market analysis, (WILDTRADE, 1.6.2019 - 31.5.2024)
  • Associate Professor Mikko Sipilä, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR): Molecular steps of gas-to-particle conversion: From oxidation to precursors, clusters and secondary aerosol particles (GASPARCON, 1.2.2017 - 31.1.2022)
  • Academy Research Fellow Alexandru Tomescu, Department of Computer Science: Safe and Complete Algorithms for Bioinformatics (SAFEBIO, 1.3.2020 – 28.2.2025)

Completed ERC-projects:

Advanced Grant:

  • Professor Markku Kulmala, Department of Physics: Atmospheric nucleation: from molecular to global scale (ATMNUCLE, 1.1.2009 - 31.12.2013)
  • Professor Antti Kupiainen, Department of Mathematics and Statistics: Mathematical Physics of Out-of-Equilibrium Systems (MPOES, 1.3.2009 – 28.2.2014)
  • Professor Karri Muinonen, Department of Physics: Scattering and absorption of electromagnetic waves in particulate media (SAEMPL, 1.4.2013 - 31.3.2018)

Starting Grant:

  • Professor Jukka Corander, Department of Mathematics and Statistics : Intelligent Stochastic Computation Methods for Complex Statistical Model Learning (SmartBayes, 1.11.2009 – 31.10.2014)
  • Associate Professor Mikael Ehn, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR): Comprehensive Molecular Characterization of Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation in the Atmosphere (COALA, 1.3.2015 - 29.2.2020)
  • Professor Tuomas Hytönen, Department of Mathematics and Statistics : Analytic-probabilistic methods for borderline singular integrals (AnProb, 1.11.2011 – 31.10.2016)
  • Professor Hanna Vehkamäki, Department of Physics: Role of Molecular Clusters in Atmospheric Particle Formation (MOCAPAF, 1.2.2011 – 31.1.2016)

Initiated by the Academy of Finland and Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation, the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro) was a funding programme to recruit non-Finnish or expatriate-Finnish professor-level researchers to Finland for a fixed term. Through the program, the Faculty of Science hosted several professorships.