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Strategic Research Council announces its first strategic research programmes

11 Feb 2015

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) has decided the final design for its first batch of strategic research programmes, due to open for application in connection with the Academy of Finland’s April 2015 funding call. The strategic research programmes closely follow the themes that were decided by the Finnish Government in December 2014. Applications for strategic research funding will be invited within three programmes: Disruptive Technologies and Changing Institutions; A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland; and Equality in Society.

The strategic research programmes will provide funding to large research consortia that use multidisciplinary approaches to study the phenomena within the given research context. The consortia shall seek to answer the main research questions and approach each research topic from several different perspectives. This requirement must be addressed when drafting the research plan. Creating conditions for multidisciplinary collaboration within the consortia will be of key importance. The research teams within each consortium will be expected to produce new perspectives, models and solutions that can provide valuable insights into the phenomena under investigation. The goal is that the projects selected to a programme will match the knowledge needs derived from the theme descriptions.

“Such research will also be able to provide new solutions to support society at large and policy-making in particular,” says Research Director Per Mickwitz, Chair of the Strategic Research Council.

“We will pay special attention to the interaction plan, which forms part of the consortium’s research plan. The interaction plan must describe how the research consortium aims to engage end-users throughout the project’s life cycle.”

The research plan must be drafted to cover the entire six-year span of the strategic research programme. For technical budgetary reasons, the funding will be granted in two three-year decisions. According to current estimates, the funding will amount to 4–8 million euros per consortium. The projects will also have to go through a midterm evaluation in the third year. The SRC has 55 million euros to distribute in 2015.

Three new programmes

The strategic research programme Disruptive Technologies and Changing Institutionswill provide funding to research that aims to identify and utilise disruptive technologies. The projects to be funded shall seek to answer a set of specific questions (listed below). In the research plan, applicants must address questions A and B, and can choose to address either or both of questions C and D.

A. In the case of a concrete disruptive technology, how is it manifested in Finland and what are its potential benefits?
B. In order to make the best possible use of a particular disruptive technology, what changes are required in human activity, institutions and operational methods?
C. In what ways can the public sector best support the change process so as to maintain a controlled change and create the best possible conditions for Finland to utilise disruptive technologies?
D. How can we ensure that businesses, employees, the public sector and consumers possess the resources and skills that promote an ability to adapt to the changes and risks brought about by disruptive technologies?

The sustainable use of natural resources and the curbing of climate change require a climate-neutral and resource-scarce society. A circular economy efficiently recycles both renewable and nonrenewable natural resources and makes full use of material and energy flows. These objectives are at the heart of the second strategic research programme, A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland. The projects to be funded shall seek to answer a set of specific questions (listed below). In the research plan, applicants must address questions A and B, and can choose to address either or both of questions C and D.

A. How can we improve resource efficiency and support the move towards a circular economy, which will serve to boost exports and competence-based growth in Finland?
B. What are the requirements for climate neutrality and resource efficiency in society?
C. In what ways can the public sector best support the overall change process so as to maintain a controlled move towards a climate-neutral and resource-scarce society?
D. How can we ensure that businesses, employees, the public sector and consumers possess the resources and skills that best promote adaptation to climate change and the transition to a climate-neutral and resource-scarce society?

The third strategic research programme, Equality in Society, will look into issues of equality and equality promotion. Funding will be provided to research that particularly aims to seek solutions to support the renewal of basic services and benefit schemes. The projects to be funded shall seek to answer a set of specific questions (listed below). In the research plan, applicants must address questions A and B, and can choose to address either or both of questions C and D.

A. What are the mechanisms of inequality in Finland today?
B. How can equality be promoted in connection with the renewal of basic services and benefit schemes?
C. In what ways can the public sector best support innovative experimentation, learning by experimentation and institutional change so as to maintain a controlled change process and successfully renew basic services and benefit schemes?
D. How can we ensure that individuals, groups and institutions possess the skills and resources that facilitate equal adaptation to the renewal of basic services and benefit schemes?

The projects to be funded will be selected by the SRC based on a review of their relevance to and impact on society as well as their scientific quality. The review process has two stages. At the first stage, a panel will review the projects for their societal relevance and impact. Based on the reviews from the first stage, the SRC will decide which projects will move on to the review of scientific quality. The review of scientific quality and, where applicable, societal relevance will follow the established practices of the Academy of Finland.

More information

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Manager Riitta Tirronen
tel. +358 295 335 118
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Last modified 3 Mar 2015
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