Finnish plant science holds a high standard
Plant science research in Finland is of a high quality and some of the research units are at the international forefront in their field. The high standard of research and the expertise of the units provide a sound basis for researcher training and create potential for further success in the future. These are among the key findings of an evaluation of Finnish plant science. The evaluation was carried out by an international panel and commissioned by the Academy of Finland.
The evaluation panel reviewed plant science research at nine Finnish university units and three research institute units. In its assessment, the panel focused on the quality of research, funding, research equipment and researcher training. Special attention was also paid to the activity of the research teams in the dissemination of research results. The evaluation covered the years 2005‒2009.
While the evaluation noted the overall high standard of Finnish plant science, it also revealed distinct differences in both quality and results between the evaluated units. Therefore, the evaluation panel recommends that smaller research units actively seek collaboration with other research teams with a view to establishing larger units around common research topics.
The evaluation showed that the research environments of the evaluated units allow for a high research performance. However, the evaluation panel calls for stronger cooperation in order to receive the optimal benefit from the available research infrastructures. Likewise, the future need for research infrastructures should be surveyed. Major investments should be made in research infrastructures, particularly in the field of bioinformatics and modelling and in related researcher training.
The panel further states that basic research in the field should be further strengthened. This is indeed a must if Finland wants to maintain its present standing and international competitiveness in plant science research. The quality and visibility of research can be further improved through active collaboration and by networking around key research projects and research infrastructures. Also, funding agencies must continue to grant competitive funding to high-quality research within clearly defined priority areas.
The international evaluation panel was chaired by Professor Dorothea Bartels and the other members were Professors Neil Baker, Thomas Boller, Maarten Koornneef, Julio Salinas, Alison M. Smith and Eva Sundberg.
The evaluation report is part of the Academy of Finland publication series and is available as a PDF download at www.aka.fi/publications/ > Publication series.
Senior Adviser Timo Kolu, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 9 7748 8341, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland
Communications Manager Riitta Tirronen
tel. +358 9 7748 8369, +358 40 828 1724, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi