NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Tekes and Academy of Finland invite NSF Graduate Research Fellows to team up with leading Finnish research groups.

NSF Graduate Research Fellows, Graduate Research Opportunity Worldwide (GROW)

Networking and teamwork between companies, universities and research institutes – both domestically and internationally – are some of the key characteristics of the Finnish innovation ecosystem, thus making Finland an excellent environment also for NSF Graduate Research Fellows to further their careers.

GROW builds on a program NSF has sponsored for several years with the Nordic countries (the Nordic Research Opportunity (NRO) program).

Research groups

The Academy of Finland offers NSF Graduate Research Fellows contacts with projects run by the Academy of Finland's Centres of Excellence and Academy Professors. Further details about these can be found at the Academy of Finland website.

Also other top-research groups in Finland have expressed their interest in the possibility of hosting NSF Graduate Research Fellows in their teams for periods of 3 to 12 months. The research groups listed under this website are examples of such research groups and interested Fellows are encouraged to contact these research groups directly to start discussing the details of their possible research visits.

Finnish research groups outside of this list may also be able to host NSF Graduate Research Fellows depending on alignment of research interests and availability of appropriate funding.

How to proceed?

After contacting a proposed Finnish host institution and preliminarily agreeing with the contact person on the details of the stay in Finland, the NSF Graduate Research Fellow should obtain a letter of invitation, including a tentative plan for the stay in Finland and a CV of the responsible professor/researcher at the host institution.

Instructions, the overall procedure and schedule for submitting proposals for research stays in Finland can be found on the NSF website Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW)


The Finnish host institutions cover the Fellow's living costs as well as the costs related to the research to be conducted in Finland. The funding needed for this will be part of the host institution's research project grant and is therefore subject to availability.

The Academy of Finland has launched a supplementary grant that can be applied for by Finnish Centres of Excellence and Academy Professors to cover the GRFs’ living costs and accommodation in Finland.

As for possible IPR questions arising from the planned research stay, the parties should follow the guidelines defined in the Agreement Relating to Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Finland.

For more information please contact

Hanna Rantala
Tel. +358 50 5577 797


The Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) - video / NSF: The NSF Director discusses a new international research opportunity for Graduate Research Fellows

Examples of Finnish research groups



NSF Graduate Research Fellows Nordic Research Opportunity in Finland

The research groups listed under this website are examples of top research groups in Finland. Also other Finnish research groups can host NSF Graduate Research Fellows.

Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, University of Jyväskylä

The major theme of research in the research group of Petri Pihko is the development of novel and efficient strategies for synthesis using only catalytic transformations with both organic and metal-centered catalyst designs. Our focus is on the discovery and development of ready-to-use catalytic tools for asymmetric synthesis, applicable to both complex natural product synthesis (pectenotoxin-2, indole alkaloids) and industrially relevant targets.

Contact person:
Prof. Petri Pihko
email: petri.pihko(at)jyu.fi

Main Group Chemistry Research Team, University of Jyväskylä

Research in focused on the development of molecular metals, that is, compounds and materials based on organic and organo-main group molecules that would provide the same functionality as traditional d- and f-block metals and their complexes. Research is carried out in two main areas: computational development of metal-free catalysts and their mechanistic investigations, and stable main group radicals as building blocks of new conductive and magnetic materials.

Contact person:
Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen
email: heikki.m.tuononen(at)jyu.fi

School of Chemical Technology, Aalto University

The main objective of our research interest is to develop novel synthetic technologies for the construction of complex natural and non-natural compounds with multiple chiral centers in enantiopure form. An extension of this work is to apply these structures to directed biological recognition phenomena. The development of synthetic methodology is centered on understanding basic phenomena of weak forces controlling the reactivities of chemicals through subtle conformational effects.

Contact person:
Prof. Ari Koskinen
email: ari.koskinen(at)aalto.fi

Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, Åbo Akademi University

The research is focused on different aspects of synthetic and mechanistic organic, organometallic and polymer chemistry. An important goal of our efforts is to develop methodologies for sustainable chemical synthesis by combinations of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic methods and by utilization of renewable feedstock. We are designing stereoselective one-pot and cascade-type reaction sequences involving coupling and redox chemistries by combinations of bio-, organo- and transition metal catalysis and other metal-mediated reactions. Other areas of current interest include carbohydrate chemistry, glycobiology and bio-organometallic chemistry.

Contact person:
Prof. Reko Leino
email: reko.leino(at)abo.fi

Combustion and Materials Chemistry Team, Åbo Akademi

Combustion and Materials Chemistry Team has 50 people working at the Åbo Akademi Process Chemistry Centre, a National Centre of Excellence appointed by the Academy of Finland for the years 2000-2005 and further for 2006-2011. We study clean combustion and gasification processes when using biomass and waste derived solid fuels. We also study use of the side streams from so called forest based biorefineries. Further, we work with materials chemistry, in particular ceramic materials for advanced applications (bioactive glasses, functional glass surfaces) and high temperature corrosion of steels in combustion environments. We have an excellent equipment park for high temperature studies and materials characterization.

Contact person:
Mikko Hupa
email: mikko.hupa(at)abo.fi

Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Aalto University

Pioneering new-material research in the field of functional oxide materials for the next-generation energy and nanotechnologies, comprising functional properties such as superconductivity, thermoelectricity, halfmetallicity, ionic conductivity, oxygen-storage capability, etc.
Moreover, oxide materials are combined with organic molecules, polymers, biomaterials, nanotubes, graphene sheets, etc., for novel thin-film structures.
For the thin-film research, the ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) technology is employed.

Contact person:
Prof. Maarit Karppinen
email: maarit.karppinen(at)aalto.fi


Computer and Information Sciences & Engineering

Computer and Information Sciences & Engineering

The research groups listed under this website are examples of top research groups in Finland. Also other Finnish research groups can host NSF Graduate Research Fellows.

The Information Systems Security Research Center (ISSRC)

The Information Systems Security Research Center (ISSRC) is established to produce premier research results in the area of information security management in close cooperation with leading international scholars and practitioners. Especially, the research center seeks to put innovative and new research contributions to work in practice. The research topics covers social, organizational and management aspects of information systems security. The research center is funded by the EU, the city of Oulu, and a number of leading companies. For more information about the research center, see http://issrc.oulu.fi/about/ or contact the director of the research center professor Mikko Siponen.

Contact person
Prof. Mikko Siponen
email: mikko.siponen(at)oulu.fi

Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu

Centre for Wireless Communications at the University of Oulu is one of the leading research groups (~100 researchers) in Europe focusing on L1-L3 of wireless systems in it's research. The research activities include both fundamental theoretical as well as applied research. The major application areas for research include future cellular systems (IMT-A), tactical communication systems, software defined and cognitive radio, sensor networking and medical ICT.

Contact person:
Prof. Matti Latva-aho
emal: matti.latva-aho(at)ee.oulu.fi

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT is a joint research institute of Aalto University and the University of Helsinki for basic and applied research on information technology. Its research ranges from fundamental methods and technologies to novel applications and their impact on people and society. The current foci of research are computational modelling and data analysis, and ubiquitous ICT in the modern networked world. http://www.hiit.fi

HIIT groups belong to four national Centers of Excellence and co-operate with the information industry and with sciences applying information technology. A major part of HIIT's operations are done in direct collaboration within the departments of the mother universities. HIIT works in a multidisciplinary way, with scientists from computer, natural, behavioural and social sciences, as well as from humanities and design.

HIIT partners with several international and Finnish companies as well as with universities and research institutions in Europe, North America and Asia. Through a long-term partnership with University of California, Berkeley, USA, HIIT maintains several visiting researchers in California.

HIIT is now in its 12th year of operation with a budget of about 10 million euros, realising in total about 135 person-years of work. HIIT is located in two different sites in the Helsinki Metropolitan area: at Aalto University's Otaniemi campus and at University of Helsinki's Kumpula campus. The institute is lead by Professor Samuel Kaski. He oversees the work of over 300 researchers. HIIT research is funded by Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, Tekes, the Academy of Finland and other foundations financing Finnish hi-tech research, the European Union and private companies.

The research by HIIT has been assessed and deemed excellent by its Scientific Advisory Board in 2008 and 2012; in the Aalto University Research Assessment Exercise in 2009; and in the Evaluation of Research and Doctoral Training at the University of Helsinki in 2011.

Contact person:
Prof. Samuel Kaski
email: samuel.kaski(at)hiit.fi




The research groups listed under this website are examples of top research groups in Finland. Also other Finnish research groups can host NSF Graduate Research Fellows.

Micro- and Nanosystems Research Group, Tampere University of Technology

The group develops micro- and nanotechnology based systems for life science applications. The current primary activities of the group are three-fold: i) automatic MICRO- AND NANOROBOTIC SYSTEMS for the treatment and characterization of living single adherent cells, such as stem cell derived neuronal and cardiac cells, ii) automatic MICROFLUIDIC SYSTEMS for creating biomimetic cultivation and characterization environment for stem cells, and iii) automatic MICROFLUIDIC SYSTEMS for blood analysis in point-of-care patient diagnostics.

Contact person:
Pasi Kallio
email: pasi.kallio(at)tut.fi

BIT (Business Innovation Technology) Research Centre, Helsinki University of Technology

The institute works in close cooperation with the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. The staff includes 80 researchers, who are mainly post-doc research fellows and PhD students. Research is multidisciplinary and the research areas include:

organisations, human capital and leadershipinnovation and project managementinformation and communications technologydemand/supply chain networks and logisticsindustrial operationsservices development.

Contact person:
Marja Toivonen
email: marja.toivonen(at)hut.fi

Business Networks Research, Helsinki School of Economics

Research on business networks is one of the key areas of focus in the Helsinki School of Economics (HSE) research strategy. The HSE business networks research focuses on different types of networks, partnerships, alliances and collaborative communities, especially on their creation and management. Moreover, the research focuses on the competitive and collaborative behavior of organizations and individuals in the network context. Special attention is paid to the emergence of new business and innovation networks, and to the business models and capabilities required in conducting business in the network economy.

Contact person:
Dr. Arto Rajala
email: arto.rajala(at)hse.fi

Research on Built Environment

Nine universities from Finland bring their expertise into the Doctoral Programme of the Built Environment (RYM-TK) with about 65 professors of various built environment areas. The aim of the programme is to support doctoral studies in built environment research by organizing courses and other guidance, supporting multidisciplinary research, strengthening international scientific networking.

The coordination of the doctoral programme is hosted at Real Estate Research Group at TKK. It focuses in three research areas: real estate economics, real estate business and land management. Research strengths are life-cycle management and environmental issues, green buildings, lean management, housing and commercial real estate markets, international real estate investment, retail real estate, corporate real estate management and real estate valuation.

Contact person:
Mr Arhi Kivilahti
email: arhi.kivilahti(at)tkk.fi


Life Sciences

Life Sciences

The research groups listed under this website are examples of top research groups in Finland. Also other Finnish research groups can host NSF Graduate Research Fellows.

Department of Applied Biology, University of Helsinki

Studies on molecular mechanisms of resistance to viruses reveal how or why viruses fail to complete their infection cycle and which viral and host molecules (genes) are involved in this failure. The studies regularly provide novel resolution also to the mechanisms by which viruses suppress or circumvent the resistance mechanisms in host cells. Understanding of these mechanisms and utilization of the knowledge for improving resistance of crop plants to viruses are the main goals of our studies.

Contact person:
Academy Professor Jari P.T. Valkonen

Molecular Biotechnology Group, University of Tampere

Molecular Biotechnology group focuses on engineering of biomolecules for use in bio- and nanotechnology. We use molecular modeling, molecular dynamics simulations, recombinant protein expression, biochemical characterization methods and interaction analyses to understand and manipulate the binding of small molecules to proteins.

Contact person:
Vesa Hytönen
email: vesa.hytonen(at)uta.fi

Molecular Diagnostics team, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo

The main objectives of the Molecular Diagnostics Team is to develop and engineer recombinant antibodies with optimised properties for various e.g. diagnostic and analytical applications. Phage display technology is used for discovering new binding specificities. Binding properties, stability and labelling efficiency of antibodies are improved by protein engineering. Another focus area is the development of novel assay formats based on antibodies and nucleic acids especially for micro- and nanoscale devices with national and international collaborators.

Contact person:
Tarja Nevanen
email: Tarja.Nevanen(at)vtt.fi

Turku Center for Disease Modeling, University of Turku

The group is providing in vivo models for the investigation of disease mechanisms, prevention and treatment, and for preclinical drug development and testing. One of the main research projects in TCDM focuses on prostate cancer biology, and specifically on the development of animal models that can mimic the different aspects of the natural progressive course of prostate cancer. Such models are essential for the development of new therapies and for understanding the biopathological phenomena behind the disease. TCDM prostate cancer project is directed by prof. Sari Mäkelä and prof. Matti Poutanen.

Contact person:
Professor Sari Mäkelä
email: sarmak(at)utu.fi


Geodesy and geomatics

Geodesy and geomatics

The Finnish Geodetic Institute (FGI) was founded in 1918. It resides under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. FGI is a national research institute for geospatial information technology with the following four strategic research areas: reference systems; mobile geomatics; spatial data infrastructures and changing Earth. It is responsible for developing the knowledgebase of the national geospatial infrastructure. The NSF Graduate Research Fellow will work in the area of mobile geomatics with the teams of Mobimap, and UbiPos. He/she will carry out research in one of the following topics:

mobile and personal mapping sensor technology developmentadopting emerging sensors for new applications in the field of precision forestry and built environment, andmobile geospatial computing including smartphone positioning, mobile GIS and context awareness.

Contact person:
Prof. Juha Hyyppä
Head of department of photogrammetry and remote sensing
email: juha.hyyppa (at) fgi.fi