Raisio plc’s Research Foundation Donating €500,000 to University of Turku for Establishing Finnish Foods Professorship


The University of Turku establishes a new professorship focusing on the research of plants grown in Finland, supporting the export of Finnish foods based on sustainable development, and promoting well-being with healthy foods. For the first five years, the position's basic funding is provided by the Raisio plc’s Research Foundation. 

The Raisio plc’s Research Foundation is donating €500,000 to the University of Turku for a professorship established in the Food Chemistry and Food Development unit of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The research of the new professorship will focus on Finnish foods and raw products that have potential for export.

– The University of Turku has decades-long experience on the study of northern phenomena in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences and medicine. Food sciences play a central role in the University's biofuture strategy. We are thankful for this donation which allows us to further our competence in this field and promote industry collaboration in basic and applied research, says Rector Kalervo Väänänen

The Chair of Raisio plc’s Research Foundation's Board Pekka Kuusniemi estimates that Finnish plant-based foods have a great potential for export.

– Consumers are interested in food that is naturally healthy and therefore there is demand for Finnish foods that support well-being. The new professorship provides an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between businesses and the University, and enables the utilisation of the most recent research findings in the food industry, says Kuusniemi.

Over the recent decades, the research foundation has extensively supported the research of food product chains and now the goal is to support the research and production of plant-based foods with health benefits.

– Food production and consumer habits have a great effect on the environment and people's well-being. Plant-based food is a sustainable solution and plants grown in Finland have a lot of great properties that consumers desire, says Kuusniemi. 

University of Turku Has Substantial Expertise on Northern Natural Resources and Grains

The Head of the Food Chemistry and Food Development unit, Professor Baoru Yang, says that the unit has specialised in the study of Finnish natural resources and crops that are suitable for consumption. Central food industry research subjects at the University of Turku include berries, spices, fish, breast milk, food fats and oils, as well as grains and potatoes.

– Their chemical composition, health benefits, as well as their technological and perceptible properties are the focus areas of our research and teaching. Thanks to the new professorship, we can take more responsibility on deciphering the effects of natural conditions and environmental changes. The professorship will provide better possibilities for conducting applied research and co-operating with industries, says Yang. 

Altogether, 74 Doctors and hundreds of Masters of Science have graduated from the Food Chemistry and Food Development unit. The graduates are working in various positions in industries, universities, and public authorities. In addition to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, Finland's only currently active food chemistry unit also offers Master of Science in Engineering and Doctor of Science degrees.