Community Relations

National Growth and Genome Strategies Preparation Work

FIMM’s Grand Challenge programmes are directed towards societal challenges. Not only did these scientific programmes make significant progress during 2014, but also the topics were very timely at the national decision-making level.

With the funding provided by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, FIMM and Finnish Red Cross Blood Services started a research project – the first of its kind –whose aim was to utilize genetic information in preventive healthcare. Read more about this KardioKompassi project.

In September 2014, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health established a working group to draw up a National Genome Strategy. The Ministry is working together with the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in the formulation of this strategy, the goal of which is to enable the efficient use of individuals’ genetic information in Finnish health care. Professor Aarno Palotie was invited to be one of the ten members of the working group preparing the strategy. During the fall 2014, the group organized six workshops on themes relevant for the strategy, such as ethical questions, innovation and health care information system. Many FIMM researchers have actively participated in the workshops.

Formulating the National Genome Strategy is part of the Health Sector Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation Activities that was announced in May 2014. This Strategy was prepared by three ministries (the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Education and Culture), the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes and the Academy of Finland, in cooperation with major health sector players. The strategy contains key recommendations for action research and innovation, as well for increasing investments and achieving economic growth in the health sector. FiDiPro Professor Jonathan Knowles from FIMM was part of the committee.

In the Helsinki area, the Capital Health Strategy was developed by Mikko Alkio and collaborators. This strategy links to the Helsinki Life Science Center Initiative that Rector Jukka Kola has been planning. Professor Olli Kallioniemi has been a member in the group planning these efforts.

Reaching Out – Science Communication to the General Public

In 2014, FIMM’s first scientific art exhibition, “Molecular Medicine goes Art” was organized. The exhibition was open in the Arkadia International Bookshop for two weeks. The purpose of the exhibition was to show science, in particular molecular medicine, in the extraordinary angle of art, to raise curiosity about science and enhance communication between scientists and the metropolitan community. The exhibition was put together by FIMM’s PhD Student Susanne Hultsch. All FIMM scientists were invited to send their work to be considered for the exhibition and as a result, thirteen surprising and visually appealing works of art were showcased. Read more about the event.

Molecular Medicine goes Art exhibition in the Arkadia International Bookshop.

Genetic Landscapes by William Hennah.

The Lily by Dmitrii Bychkov.

During the year, our researchers gave numerous interviews to journalists. They also participated in TV and radio interviews. Based on our online monitoring statistics, nearly 400 media hits mentioning FIMM were generated during the year. In March 2014, we organized a media event in collaboration with Sitra. In this event, both the Sequencing Initiative Suomi (SISu) data resource and the KardioKompassi project were described. After the presentations, the journalists had an opportunity to visit our biobank facilities and sequencing laboratory.

Prof. Samuli Ripatti describing the SISu data resource in a media event in March.

Also in 2014, FIMM had numerous visits, e.g. stakeholders, national and international universities and research institutes, industry and schools. During the Meilahti Campus Day organized in March, more than a hundred high school students visited our facilities by taking part in some of the guided tours. Many others learned about the research done at FIMM by visiting our booth that was hosted by our PhD Students and Postdoctoral Researchers.

Honourable Minister Dr. Seif Seleman Rashid, Minister of Health & Social Welfare from Tanzania and his delegation visited FIMM in May. Dr. Johan Lundin presented the Mobile Microscopy for Point-of-Care Diagnostics project.

In August 2014, the SISu consortium had its first research symposium in Helsinki. Adjacent to the symposium, a studia generalia event (lectures for the general public) was organized. In this event, Professors Olli Kallioniemi, Aarno Palotie and Samuli Ripatti talked about Finnish genomes and the significance of personal genome information to several hundred interested citizens.

Community Relations