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Blood Service Research Fund

The Research Fund of the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service (FRCBS) awards grants to scientific projects that support the implementation of the Blood Service’s research strategy on the research and development of the Blood Service’s current and future products and services. The funding is particularly aimed at supporting research groups operating outside the Blood Service.

The application period for the Research Fund grants ends annual in early April, in the year 2022 the application period is 15.2.–31.3.2022. Read about how to apply here.

The Blood Service Research Fund was established by the Finnish Red Cross (FRC), with grants decided on annually by the FRC's Board of Directors as part of the Blood Service's budget process. The size of the grants to be awarded is decided annually by the FRC Board of Directors.

Grants are awarded for 1ꟷ3 years at a time. While multi-year funding can be granted in full during the first application round, this is conditional on the grant recipient demonstrating sufficient progress in their annual reporting. 

The Evaluation Committee processes applications and submits proposals for the projects to be funded. Decisions made by the Blood Service Board on the distribution of grants will be notified to the responsible researchers named in the application during the autumn of the application year. The awarded grants are also published on this website.

Funding applications are accepted for research expenses, salaries, a personal grant or a researcher visit. 

Awarded grants

The recipients of the Blood Service Research Fund grants for 2021 were announced on 22 September 2021. Researchers in cell therapy, blood cells and organ transplants received funding, but applications from outside the field of biomedicine are very welcome.

Three of the four largest grants now awarded relate to cell therapy. A University of Tampere project, led by Professor Dario Greco, is developing a research platform that combines the processing of therapeutic cells and the therapeutic possibilities of the extracellular membrane blisters they produce.

Led by Professors Päivi Ojala and Sirpa Leppä, the project ran by the University of Helsinki and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) is examining the effects of the blood's 'killer cells', or T-cells, in the cells of patients with cancer. A University of Helsinki project led by Professor Vincenzo Cerullo is developing a T-cell-based therapy using tissue-type-matched tissue cultures.

The core activities of the Blood Service include the production of red blood cell and platelet preparations, which are used in the treatment of surgical, cancer, and emergency care patients. The Blood Service is looking for new possibilities to use blood cells, and especially the extracellular blister cells produced by these cells. The four funded research projects will support research in this new area, with two grants being awarded to young doctoral researchers. 

The Blood Service is also responsible for tissue compatibility tests for all organ and stem cell transplants in Finland. The Blood Service is currently conducting genomic and data-based, machine learning research to find new tissue compatibility factors and predict the broadest possible tissue compatibility. One of the largest grants now awarded is that secured by a multidisciplinary project at HUS led by Docent Ilkka Helanterä, which aims to improve the treatment outcomes of kidney transplants.

Read more on funded research and see the list of grant recipients.