We promote cutting-edge synthetic biology research in Finland by supporting young researchers, PhD students and post-docs. CYSS is a joint project of VTT and Aalto and it encourages collaboration with other universities, research organisations and companies also on a global level.


The aim of CYSS is to engage in societal debate and promote the creation of a dynamic network in the synthetic biology field. An essential part of the Centre is BioGarage providing an open GMO-laboratory for multidisciplinary interactions. It provides students, researchers and startups an opportunity to collaborate, gain synbio skills and create new ideas, with a possibility to mature them to industrially relevant solutions or generation of new businesses.

CYSS encourages young scientists to become courageous and responsible  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.


The funding consists of support for PhD and post-doc positions, and for establishment of the Biogarage and communications (media, seminar, symposia). 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.