The Academy of Finland is launching a new process to seek out topics for Academy Programmes. In December 2016, the Academy will open an online survey where members of the scientific community can submit proposals for new programme topics. The survey is open to everyone. The Academy expects topics that contribute to the regeneration of research through new themes, new methods, new approaches, etc.
Arja Kallio, Director of the Academy Programme Unit, said: “We’ve seen how this kind of bottom-up process has been effectively utilised in the theme proposals for strategic research. I’m certain that the Finnish scientific community has a lot to say about possible topics for Academy Programmes, too. By canvassing the views of researchers, we can get valuable ideas and signals about where our funding should be directed.”
Academy Programmes are research programmes funded by the Academy of Finland. They are science-driven, thematic and target-oriented bodies of research projects that are aimed at supporting scientific regeneration and increasing scientific and societal impact. A major emphasis is on multi- and transdisciplinarity approaches as well as international cooperation. In Academy Programmes, funding is provided for at least four years. In 2016, the Academy funds eleven Academy Programmes.
“The main thing is science renewal – and we’re not after quick wins here. We must have the courage to take risks that – if they were to succeed – can lead to scientific breakthroughs. This is long-term work,” Kallio said.
The Academy’s programme managers will combine the proposals into larger thematic modules to be discussed at a workshop between all four Academy research councils. The goal of the workshop is to assess, adjust and adapt the proposals to form a select set of Academy Programme proposals. The proposals may vary in size, and their total funding budgets may vary between 5 and 12 million euros. The finalised proposals will be put forward to the Academy Board in late 2017. The funding calls are set to open in spring 2018.
The open call for proposals is a way towards improved openness and transparency in the Academy’s activities, but the primary goal is to promote science renewal.
“In the survey, respondents answer a few short questions about the proposal’s topic, scientific discipline, rationale, significance for science renewal, and scientific and societal impact. Proposals may also be submitted in English. By consulting researchers in this way, we’re able to stay at the forefront of research. Systems biology, for instance, is a field where we had a programme running long before the field had become more widely known,” Kallio added.
Researchers need not worry about their ideas getting lost in the flood of proposals, since the Academy may use the submitted proposals over the next two years. As Academy Programmes progress, they are expected to grow larger via international collaborations, for example. The topics should therefore be sufficiently interesting also from the viewpoint of the international scientific community and international funders.
The Academy of Finland invites researchers and research teams to propose topics for new Academy Programmes. The proposals should include topics that contribute to the regeneration of research in the field concerned, for example through new themes, new methods or new approaches. The topics should be of a greater scope than those addressed in individual research projects. Read more about how to submit a proposal here.
Proposal submission is open until 31 December 2016 at www.webropolsurveys.com/S/D21D3018CA63EB31.par.
More information about the Academy of Finland’s ongoing and planned Academy Programmes is available at www.aka.fi/programmes.
- Arja Kallio, Director, Academy Programme Unit, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 037, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
tel. +358 295 335 153