Researchers need a wide range of experience from working in different research environments to be able to conduct excellent research, promote science renewal and advance their research careers. With this in mind, the Board of the Academy of Finland yesterday decided that applicants for funding for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher or Academy Research Fellow will in future be required to have work experience from a research unit other than the one at which they worked on their doctoral thesis. The work may either be previous experience or work that will start in connection with the research post. At the same time, the Board decided to make the funding for Academy Research Fellow salaries more flexible. The changes are set to take effect as of the Academy’s September 2016 call.
As of the September 2016 call, applicants for funding for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher or Academy Research Fellow must meet one of the following two requirements:
- They are applying for funding for a research post at a research unit other than the one at which they worked on their doctoral thesis.
- They have at least six months of research or research-related experience from some other organisation since PhD completion.
The organisation may be located either in Finland or abroad. Work in business companies or in research-supporting administrative tasks will also be regarded as meeting the set requirements.
The Board also decided to increase the flexibility of salary funding for Academy Research Fellows. This will further support Academy Research Fellows in increasing their qualifications in university tenure-track systems. In future, a maximum of 30 per cent of the Academy Research Fellow salary can come from other sources, provided that that part of the salary is allocated to research tasks or that the Academy Research Fellow is included in the university’s tenure-track system. The salary part freed from the money allocated to the Academy Research Fellow’s salary from the Academy’s funds can thus be used for the researcher’s other research costs.
These changes were made as part of the implementation of the Academy of Finland’s strategy. The changes to eligibility requirements and salary flexibility were prepared in active collaboration with the Academy’s stakeholders.
More funds to research councils for research posts and Academy Projects
Between 2012 and 2016, the Academy’s non-earmarked funding budget has been reduced from 282 million euros to 238 million euros. At the same time, the number of applications (for Academy Project funding, funding for research post as Academy Research Fellow and funding for research post as Postdoctoral Researcher) has increased by 43 per cent. This has led to a situation where the success rates have dropped significantly. This is an unfortunate trend for science and scientists alike.
The Academy Board also decided to allocate additional funds to the Academy’s four research councils in order to increase the funding available to Academy Research Fellows, Postdoctoral Researchers and Academy Projects. The funds were allocated under a requirement to reduce the size of Academy Projects. The funds were freed, for example, by making technical changes to the annual instalments of the Centre of Excellence programme. The funding for the current CoE programme will still remain the same.
Stricter requirements for open science
Openness is a key principle in all science and research. Openness increases the repeatability of research results and improves the overall quality and impact of research. In its meeting on 21 April, the Academy Board also adopted new specifications to the requirements for promotion of open science in Academy-funded research.
- Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland, tel. +358 50 448 0772, firstname.lastname(at)helsinki.fi
- Director Pentti Pulkkinen, Planning and Management Support, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 093, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118