The Finnish Flagship Program

The northern fleet of excellent science, successful collaboration and solutions for tomorrow

  • Program Type

The Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme is an instrument that supports high-quality research and increases the economic and societal impact emerging from the research. The Finnish Flagships represent an effective mix of close cooperation with business and society, adaptability and a strong commitment from host organisations.

The Finnish Flagships in a nutshell

The Finnish Flagships - The northern fleet of excellent science, successful collaboration and solutions for tomorrow

The Finnish Flagship Programme provides a new, unique way of doing R&D&I in Finland. Substantial, long-term funding is granted for six large ecosystems, Flagships, each operating in their specific field.

The Finnish Flagships Programme promotes active collaboration between research, business and society in the field of each Flagship. This supports future knowledge and know-how, and helps to create solutions to societal challenges, develop new business opportunities, and contribute to sustainable growth.

The Finnish Flagships are attractive, large ecosystems and hubs for excellent people with high ambitions. They represent high-quality research and proven societal impact, peer-reviewed by an international panel of experts and selected by the Academy of Finland, Research Council of Finland.

The Flagships selected in the first two calls

    6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem

The 6G Flagship is focused on the development of wireless technology, exploring the implementation of the fifth generation of mobile communication technology (5G) and the development of the 6G standard. The Flagship will support industry in bringing the 5G standard to the commercialisation stage by carrying out large pilots with a test network.

It will also develop essential technology components needed for 6G, targeting areas such as wireless connectivity and distributed intelligent computing and novel applications of these. In addition to communication between people, the research will focus on communication between devices, processes and objects. This will contribute to enabling a highly automated, smart society, which will penetrate all areas of life in the future.

    FCAI – Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence

The mission of the Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI) is to create real artificial intelligence for real people in the real world. FCAI is a key player that contributes to the implementation of Finland’s national artificial intelligence programme, both to the reform of healthcare and working life and to the deployment of evidence-based innovations.

The goal of the research conducted at FCAI is to contribute to the development of AI solutions that are able to learn and plan, and work together with real people to solve complex problems. The research is focused on three key issues: data efficiency, understandability, and trust and ethics. The research is based on top-tier expertise in machine learning, especially probabilistic modelling and deep learning, and on multidisciplinary collaboration with experts from other fields. The activities of FCAI span a wide spectrum of fields, versatile training and cooperation with the industry sector.

    FinnCERES – Competence Centre for the Materials Bioeconomy

The FinnCERES Flagship focuses on future solutions of the bioeconomy and materials research. Researchers in the Flagship aim to develop, for instance, novel lignocellulose-based materials towards industrial production for international markets.

Completely new kinds of materials have wide application in several life domains: textiles, wearables, household products, air and water purification systems, next-generation catalysts, ultralight transport and energy harvesting systems. The Flagship bases its research firmly on sustainable development, and the researchers believe that the solutions to be developed have the potential to simultaneously generate growth and increase societal welfare in a sustainable manner.

    iCAN – Digital Precision Cancer Medicine Flagship

Cancer is a growing burden worldwide. To find better treatments, great expectations are focused on precision cancer medicine (PCM), where cancer is studied at the genetic and molecular level. The iCAN Flagship builds on a strong basis in PCM and connects it in a novel way with the ongoing digital health revolution, leveraging on Finland’s strengths, such as healthcare registries and a digitised healthcare system.

The Flagship aims to facilitate breakthrough discoveries leading to improved treatments and quality of life for cancer patients. Within the Flagship’s pilot projects, patients with colorectal, breast or ovarian cancer or leukaemia have an opportunity to participate at all stages of research. With a team of top scientists, physicians and entrepreneurs, iCAN is uniquely poised to become a global leader in this area and a hub providing impact in science, economy, training and wellbeing.

    INVEST – Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State

The Finnish Flagship Inequalities, Interventions, and New Welfare State (INVEST) aims at improving wellbeing and skill development among Finnish children, young people and early adults. At the same time, the Flagship will develop a new welfare state model that is more equal, better targeted to different life stages and more anticipatory than the current model, as well as economically and socially sustainable.

These research objectives will be achieved by exploring obstacles to wellbeing and skill development at different life stages, by identifying gaps in support schemes and services, and by developing and assessing evidence-based interventions to bridge these gaps.

    PREIN – Flagship on Photonics Research and Innovation

Light-based technologies, or photonics, have a large number of applications essentially in all areas of modern life. Photonics is utilised in, for example, telecommunications, biomedicine, healthcare, energy and environmental engineering, manufacturing and consumer products.

The PREIN Flagship brings together actors of the Finnish photonics ecosystem in an integrated network that covers the whole path from basic to applied research and to further development and commercialisation of disruptive photonic technologies. This will facilitate the transfer of results from the research towards innovative products and other societal benefits.

The Flagships selected in the third call

    ACCC – Atmosphere and Climate Competence Center

Using research and research data, the ACCC Flagship will create opportunities for Finland, the European Union and the world to reach the Paris climate targets. The Flagship aims to promote adaptation to climate change through sustainable, cost-effective and research-based solutions. The objective of the Flagship is to mitigate climate change by increasing forest and soil carbon sequestration and to improve global air quality.

Active cooperation between the Flagship and actors in the public and private sectors will facilitate effective climate policy and effective mitigation and adaptation measures at national and international level. The collaboration with the business sector will help create new practical solutions, such as atmospheric measurement instruments and climate and air quality analysis services. The Flagship’s key business partners represent the energy, transport, technology, food and forestry sectors.

    GeneCellNano – Gene, Cell and Nano Therapy Competence Cluster for the Treatment of Chronic Diseases

The GeneCellNano Flagship develops new biological drugs, so-called ATMP products, biomarkers and diagnostics for common chronic diseases. The objective of the Flagship is to significantly increase domestic and foreign funding for gene, cell and nanotechnology and to introduce new effective treatments for severe chronic diseases. The aim is also to create new jobs and businesses in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. This will contribute to the development and economic welfare of Finnish society.

The Flagship brings together all of Finland’s leading gene, cell and nanotherapy researchers, clinical operators, companies and third-sector actors. The cooperation will create a new kind of ecosystem that combines public and private actors and has excellent opportunities to become an international leader in a rapidly developing sector. The Flagship combines innovative basic research, excellent production techniques, long clinical experience and a strong and diverse network of international connections.

    InFLAMES – Innovation Ecosystem Based on the Immune System

An immune defence system that functions normally is vital for health. Overactivity in the immune system can lead to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes. On the other hand, if the function of the system is impaired, people can develop cancer or contract serious bacterial or viral infections.

Therapies that affect our immune system are effective against many diseases, but are suitable only for a small number of patients. It is therefore important to identify new targets for drug development to treat acute and chronic inflammations. The InFLAMES Flagship aims to identify new drug development targets and develop new medicines together with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

It will develop diagnostics so that targeted therapies could be designed for individual patients. Through new initiatives, the Flagship will also promote collaboration between academia and the business sector, create new business opportunities and boost the commercialisation of discoveries made in laboratories.

    UNITE – Forest-Human-Machine Interplay – Building Resilience, Redefining Value Networks and Enabling Meaningful Experiences

The UNITE Flagship makes use of new technologies to determine the structure and functionality of the forest ecosystem and produces agile methods for processing data based on forest data. It also aims to develop smart decision support and the forecasting of forest use as well as the management of spatial data and uncertainties in forest calculations. The Flagship’s researchers will also use gamification to develop gameful forest interactions and virtual-reality approaches for enhancing human-nature interplay both in the real world and in virtual environments. Through gamification the Flagship will, among other things, improve the efficiency of wood procurement and promote the recreational use of nature while ensuring the sustainability of forest use.

The UNITE Flagship brings together world-leading research teams in forest sciences, geospatial technology and gamification. High-level research and co-creation with key stakeholders and scientific collaborators will provide knowledge-based support for societies, industry and individuals to help them adapt to changes caused by changes in natural, business and societal systems. The cooperation will support the creation of a biosociety that will provide a sustainable, rich and meaningful living for generations to come.

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.


Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.