Overview by the Director

DirectorFIMM is fantastic as this report well documents and as I have had the opportunity to see closely during my first almost six months as a Director. There is great enthusiasm and professionalism from all members of FIMM, be they researchers or support staff. The proof of that is the steady expansion in staff, projects and funding under the leadership of Professor Olli Kallioniemi. It is not easy to follow his high standards and leadership.

FIMM is first and foremost an international institute with a large degree of international funding from public and private sources. Recruitment is international and we seek to achieve the best possible international levels of science. Although the institute will formally turn only ten years of age next September, it is quite mature, and acts as a full-fledged member of the scientific community. This annual report covers the highlights of a unique institution. FIMM has solid links with many universities, institutes and hospitals within Finland and outside it. We also work closely with many units on the Meilahti campus and with faculties and institutes elsewhere at the University. Many projects are national and details are given elsewhere in the report. The networking through the Nordic EMBL partnerships and EU-Life are essential elements of FIMM.

The University of Helsinki is our primary host, and as is well known, the economic problems of the country led the new government following elections last spring to enact severe national budget cuts. Universities, in particular our host, were targeted and this has led to a reduction in the basic budget of the University for the next several years. In last autumn, a process to fire many university employees was initiated leading to layoffs being put into practice this spring. In addition, the University has initiated programs to reorganise administrative services under central control, but the full impact on FIMM is still not known. Likewise, the University is undertaking a structural reform of its faculties and institutes. The current plan, evaluated by external experts last summer and confirmed by the University governing board in April 2016, includes the formation of a Helsinki Life Science Center, under which FIMM would be administratively in contrast to its current position. The evaluation report recommended that high profile, high impact institutes such as FIMM should be maintained with as little disturbance as possible. Life sciences research, such as that at FIMM, is designated as a high-profile area in the University strategy, and the strategy states that these profiling actions will also strengthen these areas financially and administratively. I am expecting the University to stand behind these aims.

FIMM has demonstrated that a Finnish research institute with state-of-the-art technology infrastructures can act on a high international level, both in terms of recruiting staff (including PhD students) and obtaining international funding. FIMM has and will continue to share its experience and know-how for the benefit of the entire University.

Jaakko Kaprio, Academy Professor
Director of FIMM

Overview by the Director