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FAQ about the full cost model and how to apply for funding


The answers on this page apply to the funding instruments where the full cost model is applied to cost calculation. The call for applications gives information on whether the full cost model is applied to a funding instrument or not, separately for each instrument under the heading ‘How to apply’.

1) Why has the Academy introduced the full cost model to the cost calculation of research projects?

In the performance agreements signed with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the universities and the Academy of Finland have agreed that, as of 2009, they will apply the full cost model in the cost calculation of jointly funded projects. The background to this is a model for the cost calculation of jointly funded projects drafted in the early 2000s under the Ministry of Finance (Accounting of total costs and financing jointly financed activities based on total costs, Ministry of Finance Working papers, 9/2007) 

2) How is funding applied for in accordance with the full cost model?

  1. Before submitting an application, the applicant shall agree with the site of research on the tangible support that the site of research is to provide for the project. On the form, applicants are requested to give an overall cost estimate and a funding plan for the project. Applications are written so as to ensure that the Academy’s contribution to funding (entered on the online form) comes to no more than 70% of the total costs of a project (as of the September 2012 call).
  2. In their applications, applicants give the percentage for indirect employee costs, the overheads percentage, and the coefficient for effective working hours applied by their own organisation at the time of application submission. Calculations in accordance with the full cost model rely on these coefficients. Applicants shall check these coefficients from the administration at their own organisation. The organisation will supply the coefficient for effective working hours to be used in applications to the Academy, calculated on the basis of the average effective working hours.
  3. The representative of the site of research who gives a commitment on behalf of the site of research is required to ensure that the percentages for indirect employee costs and overheads, and the coefficient for effective working hours given in the application are approved by the site of research, and makes a commitment to them in giving the online commitment by the site of research.

3) What does the site of research commit to when it gives a ‘commitment by the site of research’?

The site of research undertakes to provide the project with the necessary basic facilities, to handle the administration and monitoring of the project, and to contribute to the project costs as stated in the funding plan. The site of research also confirms that the percentages for indirect employee costs and overheads, and the coefficient for effective working time given in the application are approved by the site of research. If there are no other funding organisations involved, the site of research will normally cover at least 30% of the costs of the project.

The percentages for indirect employee costs and overheads, and the coefficient for effective working time applied at the site of research and given in the application will be in force for the entire duration of the project.

4) “The Academy will provide a maximum of 70% funding for a project.” What does that actually mean?

The Academy will normally provide a maximum of 70% funding for a project, out of the total costs of the project, which means that at least 30% of the costs must be funded from a source other than the Academy. In the research infrastructure call, the Academy’s contribution to funding comes to no more than 70%.

The amount of funding is decided by the relevant decision-maker (Research Council, programme sub-committee, chair of a Research Council or similar) in processing the applications within each call.

5) Whose salary costs are to be entered in the application? Can the estimated total costs and the funding plan include the salaries of employed staff?

In the application, salaries for the people who will be working on the project as described in the research plan can be entered under total costs. 

Salaries are entered for the working hours allocated to the project. The online application form is completed with the monthly salary for people working on the project (e.g. doctoral student, postdoctoral researcher, researcher, professor or auxiliary staff) and the time (months per year) that they work on the project. The form will convert the monthly salary in accordance with the coefficient for effective working hours, using the coefficient given by the applicant’s organisation.

The total costs must always be justified in the research plan by expenditure item, and salaries by person.

The funding plan of the application shall explain how the total costs (incl. salaries) are to be funded.

6) Is it possible to enter salary costs of the project’s principal investigator on the application?

Except in the case of research posts (Academy Professor, Academy Research Fellow, Postdoctoral Researcher), the Academy does not normally grant funding to cover the salary costs of the principal investigator of a research project for a period exceeding twelve months. When it does, it is only for very compelling reasons.

The Board of the Academy of Finland has stated (12 April 2011, “Criteria for research funding decisions 2011‒2012”, in Finnish) that, in accordance with the full cost model, the salary costs of the principal investigator of an Academy Project or a research programme project can be incorporated into project costs to be funded. Within a four-year research project, the Academy can fund a proportion of the total project costs equivalent to a maximum of six months’ effective working hours. This is equivalent to approximately one working day a week. In principle, however, research project funding is primarily intended to cover the salaries of full-time researchers working on the project and other project costs.

In addition to the above, the Academy can grant funding towards the salary of the principal investigator of an Academy project for a maximum of twelve months and only for well-substantiated reasons in terms of the research. These reasons may include working abroad, returning to Finland, and moving to another research organisation or company in Finland. The salary funding is intended to support project implementation. If funding is applied for to cover the salary of the principal investigator, it must be clearly described and justified in the research plan (section 5, Implementation).

Staff to be hired with Academy funding shall have an employment relationship. The duration of the employment relationship must be at least the same as that of the whole funding period, unless any specific reasons in project implementation require a shorter employment relationship. Grants are normally awarded only for work or studies abroad and for a research visit by a foreign researcher to Finland for a maximum of twelve months. The funding is allocated to the researcher’s host organisation (may be other than the site of research). Grants may also be allocated directly to the person in question. The funding granted for a research post as Academy Professor and Academy Research Fellow is allocated to the site of research where the researcher is working. The site of research commits to serving, on behalf of the applicant, as the recipient of the discretionary government transfer, and will accordingly assume all related obligations. The Academy of Finland will fund research projects only insofar as the site of research commits to providing the basic facilities for project implementation. If the funding concerns discretionary government transfers, they are administered by the site of research that is also responsible for drafting and submitting payment requests and for reporting on the use of the funds.

Funding can be granted to retired researchers on the same grounds as to other researchers; however, not for their own salary or personal grants.

Members of the Academy Board or Research Councils cannot be granted funding for their full-time salary.

7) Is it possible to enter salary costs and other research costs for researchers working at other universities as part of the total costs of the project or in the funding plan, if the researchers in question are receiving funding from other sources?

No, it is not. The application shall only include the staff hired (or to be hired) for the implementation of the research plan appended with the application. The total costs shall not include costs that are not included in the accounting of the site of research.

8) How should the percentages for indirect employee costs and overheads, and the coefficient for effective working time be entered on an application that applies for funding for researchers that are based at different universities or research institutes than the principal investigator of the research project?

The Academy requests only the percentages and the coefficient for effective working time used at the site of research of the principal investigator in the application. However, in a consortium application, each sub-project shall enter the percentages and the coefficient for effective working time used at the sub-project’s site of research.

9) A project is planning cooperation with another project that has already been granted funding (research posts, support to research) from the Academy. How should this be entered on the application?

Funding already granted by the Academy cannot be included in the funding plan under the funding contribution of the site of research or other funding.

10) How is Academy funding affected by funding granted from other sources for the same project?

If the project is granted funding from another source to implement the same research plan, the Academy must be notified of this at the application stage or, if the information on other funding is received after the Academy has granted funding, as soon as possible. Any other funding will be taken into account in making a funding decision, in connection with payment of the funding, and in reporting.

Updated according to April call 2013.

Last modified 6 Sep 2017
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