Systemic approaches to improve cardiometabolic and brain health during lifespan

Cardiometabolic and brain diseases (e.g. heart attacks, strokes, dementia, depression and diabetes) cost over €1,600 billion annually in the EU, causing over 48% of deaths and millions of lost disability-adjusted life-years.
Science, technology and medicine (STEM) research can help to identify and treat these diseases. Recent studies of these diseases show significant systemic interaction and shared pathophysiological pathways. In addition, many can be prevented by lifestyle change and so require a behavioural science approach.
Major opportunities for new discoveries may thus lie in approaches that:
(i) integrate STEM with behavioural science disciplines, or
(ii) apply a systemic perspective.

SYS-LIFE builds on UTU’s unique infrastructure and world class research expertise in cardiometabolic and brain health.
These have already served to deliver breakthrough discoveries within this field. At national and international level, UTU is a centre of excellence for bioimaging, neurobiology, cardiovascular research and longitudinal population studies.

SYS-LIFE provides a new framework for international excellence in research and training. This is based on the bottom-up, “blue skies” excellence model. Up to 11 SYS-LIFE Postdoctoral research fellows will be recruited in 2024 & 2025, resulting in 22 positions of 36 months each. 

SYS-LIFE provides a new framework for international excellence in research and training.

SYS-LIFE offers cutting-edge researchers across disciplines the freedom to design and lead their own innovative projects. SYS-LIFE adapts this to tackle a specific challenge, enhancing research excellence in this field.

SYS-LIFE offers added freedom, support and training to develop leadership skills and interdisciplinary experience.
SYS-LIFE promotes intersectoral working by enabling all SYS-LIFE Fellows to undertake an optional secondment period within a non-academic organization

Training and knowledge exchange actions will promote the commercial exploitation of research.

SYS-LIFE increases connectivity between disciplines, sectors and infrastructures, defragmenting research, enhancing best practice and building capacity at regional, national and EU-level.



SYS-LIFE programme offers various activities for the post doctoral fellows.

SYS-LIFE researchers will be based in a university department and meet regularly as a group for structured training workshops. Postdoctoral research fellows are given support to develop a bespoke package of research and training to address their individual needs. This support includes a range of free mentoring and training options at UTU, as well as dedicated funds and a range of secondment options to enable fellows to undertake research and training, including translational activities, at external academic and non-academic organisations.

Secondments and other support will be available from e.g. Ghent University and Turku University Central Hospital, ranked the 58th best hospital in the world, offering a wide range of clinical research options. Turku Science Park will also connect Postdoctoral Research Fellows with partners at local, national and European-level. A further partner, Siemens Healthineers, will offer training and support in its specialist areas of health technology research and innovation. Up to 11 SYS-LIFE Postdoctoral Research Fellows will be recruited in 2024 & 2025, resulting in 22 positions of 36 months each.


Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fund excellent research and innovation and equip researchers at all stages of their career with new knowledge and skills, through mobility across borders and exposure to different sectors and disciplines. The MSCA help build Europe’s capacity for research and innovation by investing in the long-term careers of excellent researchers.

The MSCA also fund the development of excellent doctoral and postdoctoral training programmes and collaborative research projects worldwide. By doing so, they achieve a structuring impact on higher education institutions, research centres and non-academic organisations.

The MSCA promote excellence and set standards for high-quality researcher education and training in line with the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers.

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