Centres of Excellence in research (CoEs) contribute to regenerating and revitalising scientific research and know-how. CoEs are intended for research teams and consortia of research teams to carry out research at the highest level. A Centre of Excellence
- is an innovative and target-oriented research environment combining international cutting-edge research and support for high-level research careers throughout the career trajectory
- has an effective and professional management, with a clear and challenging research vision
- is competitive in applying for international research funding.
A Centre of Excellence may also
- consist of one or more leading-edge research teams working closely together, based at a university or research institute or spread across several different organisations. It may also have collaboration with private-sector companies.
- be an integral part of a Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation.
The funding for CoEs is contractual funding provided by the Academy of Finland together with universities and research institutes, other funding bodies, foundations and companies. The aims set for CoEs have been defined in the National Strategy for Centres of Excellence in Research (Publications of the Academy of Finland 6/97) and will be revised when necessary.
The Strategy lays out the following principles for CoEs:
- A Centre of Excellence is a research community that is already at rather than striving for the international cutting edge of research in its field.
- The number of CoE terms will not be limited, that is, a CoE is eligible to apply for a new CoE programme upon the end of its term; whether the CoE will continue in the new programme will be determined by the scientific quality of its research plan.
- The principal investigator in charge of a CoE, or another researcher closely involved in the work of a CoE, is eligible to apply for Academy-project funding during the second three-year term of the CoE funding.
- CoE programmes run for six years, and CoEs will receive their funding in two instalments – at the beginning of the term and at mid-term.