The Academy of Finland has today announced its decisions on the funding to strengthen universities’ research profiles. The main target of this new funding instrument is to support Finnish universities in profiling themselves into distinct areas of strength. The total funding amounts to 50 million euros.
In their applications, submitted to the Academy in January 2015, the universities proposed profiling measures based on one or several of their strategic research fields, most of them multidisciplinary fields. Ten of the thirteen universities that submitted applications were granted funding. The sums granted vary between 350,000 euros and 13.6 million euros.
This was the first call opened within the new funding instrument. Each university could submit one application. The universities were asked to present their intended measures to profile themselves into key areas of strength. The funding is fixed-term, granted for four years. The Academy plans to make the funding open for application each year.
The applications were reviewed by an international panel of experts. The panel also interviewed university rectors. “This new funding scheme is a significant initiative, one that is also very interesting from an international perspective. Research-driven profiling is a way to boost a university’s competitive edge and, by promoting collaboration, to support research into key areas of strength,” the panel said in its report. The panel consisted of leading experts (rectors, vice rectors, etc.) from European universities with wide and versatile experience of university research reforms.
The universities proposed a wide range of profiling measures and new initiatives. A few universities also detailed collaborative projects: the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology proposed to step up research cooperation in biomedicine and medical technology, whereas the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University laid out their plans on increased collaboration in drug development and diagnostics. Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, in turn, aim to clarify their division of work in research in the fields of engineering, business, ICT and physics. As for new initiatives, for example, the University of Eastern Finland put forward its research into borders, mobility and cultural encounters, while the University of Jyväskylä proposed research into cyber security.
“The Academy of Finland’s funding decisions are firmly based on the panel’s review. We also looked at how well the proposed profiling measures matched the universities’ strategic objectives and how the universities succeeded in justifying the measures and presenting concrete implementation strategies,” said Professor Marja Makarow, Vice President for Research at the Academy.
- Marja Makarow, Vice President for Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 002, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
- Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland, tel. +358 29 415 9472, firstname.lastname(at)helsinki.fi
- Table of funding by university (PDF)
Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118