The Academy of Finland today decided to fund twelve Centres of Excellence (CoE) for the period 2018‒2025. The twelve new CoEs include research teams from twelve universities or research institutes.The CoEs explore research themes such as the sustainable use of space, game culture, European law and identity, quantum technology, ageing and care, and tumour genetics.
The Academy’s CoE call was open in April 2016 and attracted a total of 179 letters of intent. In all 34 applicants were invited to the second call stage to submit full applications. The applications were reviewed by international expert panels. Representatives of the research teams selected to the second stage were also interviewed at the Academy by international experts.
The format of the CoE programme has changed since the previous round. The new scheme has extended the previous six-year CoE funding period to cover eight years. The centres will go through a full scientific evaluation after the first four years. The outcome of the evaluation will determine the level of funding for the remaining period – the funding may increase, decrease or cease entirely.
The revised programme format seeks to strengthen the role of host organisations in the funding. The idea is that the longer-term funding and a stronger commitment from CoE hosts will further serve to support scientific risk-taking.
Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Academy Board, said: “The goal of the CoE reform was to encourage the scientific community to propose bold new ideas for cutting-edge projects where researchers carry out joint research plans in close collaboration. Judging from the results, we were successful in achieving this goal. The teams have clearly challenged themselves to adopt new ways of thinking. The new CoEs are units that represent a high scientific standard and that can contribute to the renewal of research.”
Centres of Excellence conduct research with great potential to achieve scientific breakthroughs and promote science renewal. They can contribute to the renewal of science by supplying new research topics, new methods and approaches, and new combinations of research teams. The Academy expects the CoEs’ research to have impact beyond academia as well.
Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research at the Academy of Finland, said: “The applicants were requested to describe what impact their research could have in addition to traditional scientific impact. In future, new CoEs will be asked report on how the impact has been realised. The aim is to spur the CoEs to actively think about and promote the broader impact of their research.”
As noted in the Academy of Finland’s report The State of Scientific Research in Finland 2016, published in December 2016, research has not only scientific impact but also broader impact in society at large. Science is a prime source of wealth and prosperity, but it also improves our understanding of the world and enhances the level of civilisation, supports the development of good practices and informs decision-making.
- Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland, tel. +358 294 159 472, firstname.lastname(at)helsinki.fi
- Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 002, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
- Senior Science Adviser Maiju Gyran, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 015, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118