The first myocardial infarction made Paavo Nurmio understand just how prevalent cardiovascular diseases were in Finland. As early as the following year, 11.3.1968 to be exact, Nurmi established a foundation to promote public health research. In addition to Nurmi, Professors Pentti I. Halonen and Lauri Kalaja, Bank Director Arne Hovitie and Vice-Judge Pekka Kare, who were present at the founding meeting, were elected as members of the Foundation’s Board.

  • Paavo Nurmi Foundation was founded in 1968
  • Awards grants and acknowledgements
  • Organizes international symposia
  • Owns properties in Helsinki

Learn more about the foundation and read the 50th anniversary publication

Foundation's purpose: For public welfare

The goal of the Paavo Nurmi Foundation is to promote research into cardiovascular disease and public health by awarding grants. In addition to grants, the Foundation also organizes symposia, which brings together researchers from all across the world in highly specialized meetings. The very first Paavo Nurmi Symposium was held 25th–27th September 1969, near the south coast town of Porvoo.

Foundation before, now and in future

Professor Petri Kovanen gave a speech in honor of the Foundation’s 50th anniversary, which dealt with the Foundation’s development, major achievements and the importance of international networking. The speech, which was given in Turku (Paavo Nurmi’s hometown), can be found here.

Read the speech


The Paavo Nurmi Foundation awards grants to promote research into cardiovascular diseases and general public health in Finland. The grant can be used for acquisition of equipment and materials in addition to post doc research.

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Throughout its storied existence the Paavo Nurmi Foundation has given awards and acknowledgements to researchers. The first of these awards was given to Petri Kovanen in 1997. The Foundation also has a special award given to young scientists.

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