April 22, 2021 | News | Research Funding

ERC Grant for Pekka Martikainen

© Veikko Soimerpuro

Pekka Martikainen receives a 2.5 million Euro grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to conduct the project “Social inequalities in population health: integrating evidence from longitudinal, family-based and genetically informed data”.​​​​​​​

Social inequalities in health are observed in all societies. These inequalities have grown markedly over the past 30 years. Those in less advantaged social positions currently expected to live five to ten years less than those in more advantaged positions.

The study aims to establish the root causes of these inequalities in four steps by:

  1. assessing the drivers of long-term changes in health inequalities and establishing the contribution of family factors and macro-level social and economic conditions to these changes.
  2. examining multigenerational interdependencies of social position and health in up to four generations.
  3. estimating the causal effects of social position on health by employing molecular genetic information and assessing whether genetic associations are mediated or modified by social position.
  4. evaluating the generalisability of explanations of social inequalities in health through international comparative research.

“Our results will be ground-breaking because we will establish how family and genetic factors are intertwined with individual social characteristics. We will also establish how they manifest in health outcomes in different macro-level social conditions”, says Pekka Martikainen. The power to test causal hypotheses will advance science and help devise policies to reduce health inequalities.

Pekka Martikainen, research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPDIR) in Rostock, Germany, will lead this project at the University of Helsinki. To implement this research project he receives a European Research Council Advanced Grant of 2.5 million Euro, providing funding for 5 years.

The Advanced Grants are awarded by the European Research Council to well-established top researchers of any nationality or age, who are scientifically independent and with a recent high-level research track-record and profile which identifies them as leaders in their respective field. This year 209 researchers were awarded over 500 million Euro, with grants being worth up to 2.5 Million Euro each.

More Information

ERC Advanced Grants 2021

ERC Grant Winner

Research Scientist

Pekka Martikainen


The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.