We promote cutting-edge synthetic biology research in Finland by supporting young researchers, PhD students and post-docs. CYSS promotes the collaboration between VTT and Aalto, and later also with other universities, research organisations and companies as much as our resources allow.


The aim is to increase critical mass and promote the creation of a dynamic network of various actors having an interest to synbio. The BioGarage provides an open, highly multidisciplinary space and GMO-laboratory for interactions, gaining synbio skills and creation of new ideas, with a possibility to mature them to industrially relevant solutions or generation of new businesses.


CYSS will include communication with the public, and will train young scientists to become courageous and responsible scientists and technology developers of sustainable solutions for the future. CYSS is part of the Synbio Powerhouse, an innovation ecosystem for strengthening biotechnology capabilities and business development in Finland through synthetic biology.    

Steering Group

CYSS is led by Prof. Merja Penttilä (VTT and Aalto University), who is the Chair of the workgroup, which additionally consists of Dr. Jussi Jäntti, team leader (VTT) and Prof. Markus Linder (Aalto University).


Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation granted Professor Merja Penttilä and the workgroup funding for The Centre for Young Synbio Scientists (CYSS) for the years 2019-2021 total of 1.055.000 euros. The funding will optionally continue with additional 3+2 years until 2026, to be decided separately.


The funding consists of support for PhD and post-doc positions, and funding for establishment of the Biogarage and Communication (media, seminar, symposia, ethics discussions). Yearly, 125.000 euro will be given to both Aalto University and VTT for PhD and post-doc positions, and VTT and Aalto will complement the Wihuri funding with their own share. VTT and Aalto allocate the funding according to their cost structures, VTT being able to fund about 1,5 post-docs yearly and Aalto three-four PhD students. Wihuri will provide the financial support for BioGarage and Communication to Aalto to be used for common CYSS activities.