The Academy of Finland has two main application rounds each year: September and April.
In September, for example, we invite applications for Academy Project funding, targeted Academy Project funding and funding for research posts (i.e. Academy Research Fellow, Postdoctoral Researcher and clinical researcher).
In April, for example, we invite applications for Academy Programme and targeted Academy Project funding.
The deadlines of the following funding opportunities may differ from our main deadlines: Academy Programmes, research infrastructures, two-stage calls and calls linked to international or national research collaboration.
Please check the deadline separately for each call in the call text. We will not process applications that have not arrived by the deadline.
A list of Academy funding opportunities is available on our website under Our funding opportunities.
We post open calls on our website under Apply now. For detailed guidelines on how to apply, visit these sections on our website:
- call texts for our main calls, describing our available funding opportunities
- guidelines on how to draft and submit applications
- guidelines on how to draft appendices (structure and length)
- programme memoranda for our programmes
- how-to guide to our online services.
Also read our step-by-step guide to applying, which is a brief summary of the most important steps you will need to follow to submit your application.
In connection with our main calls, we often also publish a “What’s new” summary describing any new and revised guidelines for that particular call.
We require that you carefully read the call text and the guidelines mentioned above before submitting your application.
Updated for September 2017 call
In a nutshell
The Academy of Finland grants funding in open competition for research of the highest possible quality. We offer many different funding opportunities, and you can apply for funding to
- hire a research team, either under an open theme (e.g. Academy Project funding) or under a specific, pre-determined theme (e.g. Academy Programmes and other targeted opportunities)
- cover your own salary for research under an open theme (e.g. Academy Research Fellow grants and Postdoctoral Researcher grants)
- improve research environments (e.g. SRC matching funds for Horizon 2020 and funding to strengthen university research profiles).
Because different funding schemes have different objectives, we have set conditions that determine who can apply for our funding and what the funds can be used for. These conditions are specified in the call text separately for each funding opportunity. A common feature of all Academy funding is that it the funding is always paid to and via a site of research (usually a university or research institute) that follows the Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers. Before you submit your application to the Academy, you must check with your site of research that you will obtain their commitment to the research.
Applications can be submitted only when calls are open. Make sure to draft your application following the guidelines we have provided and submit it via our online services. An application consists of an application drafted in the online services and its appendices (research plan, curriculum vitae, list of publications, etc.).
You should also read our step-by-step guide to applying, which is a rundown of the most important steps in submitting an application to the Academy. Another important section on our website that you should familiarise yourself with is How applications are reviewed.
Are you eligible to apply?
If you want to apply for research funding from the Academy of Finland (the term we use for applicants is ‘principal investigator’), you must be a researcher with a doctoral degree or a researcher at the professor or docent level. In some of our funding opportunities, the applicant is a university or research institute. Any other possible types of applicants (such as in the case of mobility grants based on bilateral agreements) will be specified separately for each funding opportunity concerned.
We allocate funding based on peer review to the best researchers and research teams and to the most talented early-career researchers to support them in carrying out scientifically ambitious projects. In principle, the projects we fund must benefit Finnish research and society and international collaboration.
Our funding is paid to and via a site of research (usually a university or research institute) based in Finland. As an applicant, you must have a close connection with Finland to support the implementation of a multi-year project. You must describe this connection in the application. Academy funding can be granted to foreign sites only in exceptional cases, such as in the case of international research infrastructure projects. Academy-funded researchers may however spend time working abroad during their funding period.
Restrictions related to applying
We will not process a funding application if the applicant has been found guilty of research misconduct in the three years preceding the year of the call.
Directors, vice directors and team leaders of Academy-funded Centres of Excellence (CoE) cannot receive Academy Project funding during the first three years of the CoE term.
In the same application round, we will review only one application per applicant in each of the following funding opportunities:
- Academy Project funding (project PI)
- Academy Project funding (PI of consortium or consortium subproject)
- funding for research post as Postdoctoral Researcher
- funding for research post as Academy Research Fellow
- funding for research post as clinical researcher.
However, if you do submit more than one application for one or several of the above funding opportunities, we will only review the first application to arrive. In the case of targeted Academy Project funding, this limitation will be indicated separately for each call.
What does the funding cover?
What the funding covers depends on the funding opportunity. You can apply for Academy funding to cover, for example, the following direct research costs:
- the research team’s work (salaries)
- research costs
- travel expenses
- national and international collaboration and mobility
- preparation of international projects
- publishing (e.g. costs of open-access publishing).
As a rule, staff hired with Academy research funding must have an employment relationship. We recommend that they be hired for a period of employment no shorter than the funding period, unless a shorter contract is necessary for special reasons dictated by the implementation of the research project. Short-term research, study or other assignments may also be carried out in the form of outsourced services, if it is determined to be necessary for the project.
The funding can also cover VAT costs, but only on certain conditions; read more on our website under How to enter value added tax on the application.
We require that the site of research (e.g. university) provides the research project with all necessary basic facilities. These are determined based on the nature of the research and are the same as those available to other research staff at the site: office and laboratory premises, equipment (incl. computer equipment), and telecommunications, telephone, mailing, copying and library services, etc.
In the application, provide a cost estimate including an estimate of the annual amount of funding needed, itemised by type of expenditure.Include also a funding plan, that is, all funding granted for the project as well as funding that will be provided by the site of research if the project is launched. The cost estimate must be realistic and justified by type of expenditure in the research plan.
Follow good scientific practice
Academy-funded research must be conducted following the principles of good scientific practice (promoting open science, promoting equality and nondiscrimination, treating research-ethical issues appropriately, and considering principles related to IPRs). The principles of sustainable development should also be considered.
All results produced with funding from the Academy of Finland must be made public.
The Academy is committed to following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity and requires that Academy-funded researchers and sites of research respect the same guidelines.
We also recommend that you follow the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. ALLEA (All European Academies) published the revised edition of the Code of Conduct on its website in spring 2017.
We fund researcher mobility
The Academy of Finland funds international researcher mobility:
- in research projects (e.g. Academy Projects, projects in Academy Programmes, targeted projects, research costs in connection with research posts)
- as a mobility allowance for mobility from Finland as part of a project’s research costs:
- researchers with dependent children: €1,500/month
- researchers without dependent children: €1,050/month
- as grants to non-EU researchers coming to Finland to work for periods shorter than a year.
- as a mobility allowance for mobility from Finland as part of a project’s research costs:
- with our funding opportunity International researcher mobility based on bilateral agreements as research grants or personal grants.
Read more in Appendices 3 A–C of the September 2017 call text and on our website under Calculation of support to international researcher mobility.
In addition to this special funding, international researchers can also be hired to work on Academy-funded research projects.
Salary costs of principal investigator (under certain limitations)
Academy funding for research projects (Academy Projects, targeted projects and Academy Programme projects) is primarily intended for the salaries of full-time researchers working on the projects and for other research costs. The salary costs of the PI may, under certain limitations, be incorporated into the total project costs.
1. Including PI’s salary (for project management) in total project costs
The salary costs of the PI may be incorporated into the total project costs in accordance with what is stated in the research plan. For the salary costs to be eligible, the PI’s tasks must be clearly specified in the research plan (under Implementation). In the application, indicate the salary under Project funding > Salaries.
The salary costs must not be significant in relation to the project’s total costs. For example, a four-year research project must not include more than six months of the PI’s effective working hours. This is equivalent to approximately 1.5 months a year.
2. Applying for funding for PI’s salary (for research)
The Academy can grant a maximum of twelve months of funding towards the salary of a PI for conducting research.
The funding is intended to support project implementation and granted only for well-substantiated research-related reasons (e.g. work abroad, return to Finland or transfer to another research organisation in Finland).
The well-substantiated reasons and the PI’s tasks must be clearly presented in the research plan (under Implementation). In the application, indicate the salary under Project funding > Salaries. The funding cannot be used for this purpose unless it is mentioned in the terms and conditions included in the funding decision.
3. Granting salary funding to PI with no employment relationship
If the PI does not have an employment relationship with, for example, a university or research institute, they must give an account of how their salary will be covered during the funding period. Applicants must describe this at the application stage.
Retired researchers can be granted funding on the same grounds as other researchers.
What is a consortium (in Academy Project calls, Academy Programme calls and targeted calls)?
In calls that concern funding for research projects (Academy Project funding, Academy Programme funding and targeted funding), principal investigators apply for funding for their research teams. In calls that concern personal funding (e.g. funding for research post as Academy Research Fellow, Academy Professor, Postdoctoral Researcher or clinical researcher), researchers apply for funding independently for themselves and with their own research plan.
In calls for research projects, funding may be applied for (or the Academy may require that funding is applied for) as a consortium, a fixed-term body of independent subprojects that work under a joint research plan. By coming together as a consortium, projects may tackle more extensive research problems, for instance.
From the perspective of the Academy’s application process, a consortium is an application built around a joint research plan, where each party to the consortium applies for funding from the Academy.
In Academy calls, collaborators who have an important role in the implementation of the research plan but who will not apply for funding as consortium subprojects are therefore not regarded as consortium parties. This applies to, for example, foreign research organisations; the Academy cannot grant funding to foreign research organisations. Under Partners on the application form, describe how other Finnish or foreign researchers working with their own funding will contribute to the project.
The Academy treats the consortium PI’s and the subprojects’ joint consortium application as one application. The funding, however, is granted to each subproject separately.
The cost estimate and funding plan presented in the consortium application must be drafted considering possible consortium size restrictions and the total funding available for the call concerned.
Appendix 6 of the September 2017 call text shows an illustration of the technical process of drafting a consortium application.The joint consortium application is submitted by the consortium PI. The PI can submit the consortium application only after all subprojects have tagged their applications as complete. This procedure applies to consortium applications for both letters of intent (first call stage) and full applications (second call stage). Consortium compositions cannot be changed after the call deadline has expired.
Consortium PIs must check the status of the consortium application in the Academy’s online services to make sure that the subprojects complete their applications in good time before the deadline.
Read more under Guidelines for consortium application on our website.
Read the review criteria
Our funding is based on a review of the scientific merits of the research plan and the applicant. We mainly use foreign experts as reviewers. As an applicant, you have the right to submit your application in Finnish or Swedish, but we ask you to submit it in English to:
- facilitate international peer review
- ensure an equal preparation of funding decisions
- ensure a smooth processing of applications.
To ensure a successful review, it is important that – in addition to the correct research council and research fields – you also enter keywords describing your research, research methods and data. For more information, see Research fields and Research field classification on our website.
We continuously strive to improve our review process. Read more about how the process works on our website at How applications are reviewed and Guides for reviewers. The criteria applied in the review are presented under Review criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the criteria and guidelines as well as with any additional guidelines on the research councils’ pages.
For justified reasons, we may decide not to review or process an application. The reasons that are considered in these cases are presented on our website under Review criteria.
About the research plan, other appendices and the online form
1) Follow the guidelines on appendices to the application
You can make your application easier to review by drafting the appendices according to the guidelines we have provided.
CV according to Advisory Board’s and Academy’s guidelines
Draft your CV in accordance with the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity and the guidelines of the Academy, taking into account the nature of the call, your research career stage and the practices of your scientific discipline. The CV is a concise presentation of your most important scientific merits in relation to the call concerned. We recommend that CVs be no more than four pages long.
Guidelines about the research plan
Structure the research plan according to the guidelines
To ensure the uniformity and quality of reviews, applications must be comparable. Your research plan should provide answers to the questions raised in the review. Therefore, the plan should follow the structure provided.
Read more under Research plan guidelines on our website. Below is a description of some parts of the research plan.
Follow the Advisory Board’s guidelines
The ethical issues of the research must always be described in the research plan (under Ethical issues); they are examined as part of the scientific review. See the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.
We require that all Academy-funded research is conducted following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity, including the recommendations on ethical review in human sciences. We also recommend that you follow ALLEA’s European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.
The application includes a publication plan
The application must include a publication plan, which forms part of the research plan and promotes the principles of open science. Make sure to draft a realistic publication plan and present it under item 3 C of the research plan.
Research plans should describe both scientific impact and impact beyond academia
The research plan should include descriptions of both the research project’s scientific impact and its expected impact beyond academia. Include these descriptions under item 3 B of the research plan. Impact beyond academia may come in many different forms depending on the research field and the project. Science is a 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.
2) Fill in the online form as requested
You must describe your mobility, collaborators and use of research infrastructures in the application and justify these in the research plan.
Include a mobility plan
In the application under Mobility, describe how the project’s researchers will be mobile in Finland and abroad during the funding period to support the implementation of the research plan. Justify the mobility destinations in the research plan.
Detailed mobility guidelines for those applying for funding for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher or Academy Research Fellow are available in Appendix 7 of the September 2017 call text.
Collaborators for which funding will not be applied
Under Partners on the application form, describe how other Finnish or foreign researchers working with their own funding will contribute to the project. (This does not apply to consortium parties in the case of consortium applications.)
Describe your use of research infrastructures
Under Research infrastructures, describe which international and national research infrastructures you will use and how this will benefit the project. Select national roadmap infrastructures from the menu or enter other infrastructures under Other.
Research infrastructures refer to a reserve of research materials, services, equipment and facilities enabling research and development as well as researcher training and development of research and innovation capacity. Read more at infras.openscience.fi and on our website under Research infrastructures.
How applications are submitted and become pending: late applications will not be accepted
Applications for the Academy of Finland’s September 2017 call can be drafted and submitted in the online services as of Friday 1 September 2017. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 27 September 2017 at 16.15 local Finnish time, unless the call text indicates otherwise. The non-negotiable call deadline also applies to consortia. Please note that consortium PIs can submit the consortium application only after all consortium subprojects have tagged their applications as complete. International calls may have other deadlines. To ensure smooth drafting and submission, please submit your application as early as possible.
According to section 17 of the Finnish Administrative Procedure Act and section 8 of the Act on Electronic Services and Communication in the Public Sector, the sender is responsible for the application arriving by the set deadline.
An application becomes pending at the Academy when the online application and the obligatory appendices have been submitted in the online services. The system will confirm a successful submission by sending an email to the address provided by the applicant.
Please note that you cannot submit a full-costing-based application in which the Academy’s contribution to funding is higher than the percentage indicated in the call text. Nor will the system accept applications that lack obligatory details or appendices.
Append only the requested appendices to the application, append them in PDF format and make sure not to exceed the maximum lengths indicated in the guidelines.
For guidelines on how to submit an application in the Academy’s online services, see our How-to guide. If you run into problems in the online services at the time of submission, please contact us (the contact persons are named in the call text) before the deadline expires, either by phone or via Questions and feedback on our website.
Supplement the application if necessary and always notify us of other funding
You can make changes (e.g. change appendices) in an application you have submitted to the Academy, but you must make them before the deadline expires. To do this, log in to the online services, open the application, make the necessary changes and save the supplemented application by the set deadline. You will not receive any confirmation message when you supplement and re-save an application.
If you notice that your application lacks important information after the deadline has expired, immediately get in touch with the call’s contact person, who can open the application so that you can add the missing information. Make sure to re-submit the application after you have supplemented it. You will receive an email confirmation after the resubmission.
Instructions on how to supplement a consortium application are available on our website.
We will take into account the additions insofar as it is possible in view of the review and decision-making process. An important addition is, for instance, an invitation by a foreign university.
Do not submit any new appendices via the so-called additional information feature; such appendices will not be saved as part of the application.
You must immediately notify us if you receive funding from other sources for the same purpose after your application to the Academy has been submitted.
Publicity of applications
Under the Finnish Act on the Openness of Government Activities, an application and its appendices are public information; research plans, plans of intent, abstracts and progress reports, however, are not. For example, the CV is a public document and as such must not include any confidential information.
Write a popular description of the project
The popular description of the project is an important part of the application. The description is a way for the Academy and researchers to disseminate information on Academy-funded research to the research community, stakeholders and the public at large. The description should therefore be as readable as possible, written for a nonscientific audience. It must give the reader a summary of the key points of the research. Read more under Public description of project on our website. The description must not exceed 1,000 characters. The public description is not the same as the scientific abstract included in the application; the abstract must not exceed 2,500 characters.
If a project is granted funding, we will publish the description of the project on our website. The description is written by the applicant when drafting the application. We cannot edit project descriptions – it is the applicants themselves who are responsible for the content, clarity and style of the descriptions. The descriptions will remain accessible on our website for several years.
Finnish- or Swedish-speaking applicants write their descriptions in Finnish or Swedish. All applicants must also write a description in English to facilitate international peer review.
Terms and conditions for funding
Academy funding is granted following the Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers and the Academy’s general conditions for funding.
The Academy will fund a research project only if the site of research undertakes to provide the researcher with the necessary basic facilities for research.
We allocate the funding to the researcher’s host organisation. The host organisation receiving the transfer is permitted to use it solely to fund the research carried out by the PI named in the funding decision. Staff to be hired with Academy research funding must have an employment relationship with the site of research or the organisation receiving the funding.
Grants for research abroad (mobility grants awarded under the funding scheme International researcher mobility based on bilateral agreements) may also be allocated directly to the researcher.
Our general funding conditions are the same irrespective of whether the case involves a central government organisation or a recipient of discretionary government transfers.
The funding is regarded as a discretionary government transfer if the recipient is a nongovernmental organisation (e.g. university, independent public institution, municipality, joint municipal authority, association, business, foundation, foreign organisation or private individual). The funding is allocated to the host organisation – not the researcher – and the organisation is thus regarded as the recipient of the transfer (as per the Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers), and will accordingly be required to assume all related obligations.
For detailed conditions and guidelines (revised annually) on use of funding and reporting, see How to use the funding on our website.
We fund research organisations
A research organisation refers to an organisation whose primary goal is to conduct independent basic research, industrial research or experimental development or to disseminate its results widely by means of education, publication or knowledge transfer. Research organisations include higher education institutions or research institutes, which are funded according to the Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers and the Academy’s general funding conditions.
Academy funding to non-research organisations
The primary goal of non-research organisations is related to other activities than independent research or dissemination of research results. As a rule, the Academy does not grant funding to support economic activity. Economic activity is defined as all activity where goods or services are offered on an open market.
We may also grant funding to non-research organisations, but only if it can be granted in keeping with the EU’s state aid rules in the form of de minimis aid. All aid granted by authorities in an EU country to such organisations that does not exceed 200,000 euros per three fiscal years can be regarded as de minimis aid. The funding also comes under the Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers and, where applicable, the Academy’s general funding conditions. Please contact us if you intend to apply for funding for non-research organisations.
Business collaborators in Academy-funded projects
If an Academy-funded project involves cooperation with business companies that are not funded by the Academy, the project must follow special terms and conditions regarding business cooperation. The aim of the terms and conditions is to prevent indirect state aid to business companies. Read more in the Academy’s general funding conditions (item 10.1).
Where an Academy-funded project involves cooperation with business companies, the terms and conditions of the project, in particular as regards contributions to its costs, the sharing of risks and outcomes, the dissemination of results, and access to and allocation of IPRs, must be concluded in writing before the start of the project.
What are co-funding, full costing and the additional cost model?
Academy research funding is in essence a form of co-funding in which the funds to finance the costs of a project usually come from at least two sources. When Academy funding is applied for, universities, research institutes and other research organisations commit to the co-funded activity by contributing their percentage of the costs.
In calls implemented under the full cost model, Academy funding can be used to cover both direct project costs (e.g. direct salaries) and indirect costs (e.g. rents for premises). Both types of costs are covered with the same percentage.
In your application, you must provide a funding plan in accordance with the full cost model, including the amount of funding to be applied for from the Academy. Draft the online application so that the Academy’s contribution to funding comes to no more than the percentage indicated in the call text. In calls where cost calculation follows the principles of full costing, the Academy’s contribution usually comes to no more than 70% of the total costs. In some funding opportunities (e.g. funding to strengthen university research profiles and SRC funding programmes), exceptionally, the Academy’s contribution is 100%.
Before submitting your application, you must agree with the administration at your own organisation on the contribution of the site of research to the funding of the project. As the total project costs must not include any costs that do not pass through the books of the site of research, you must check with your own organisation whether the funding planned as the own funding contribution suits this purpose. When calculating the total projects costs at the application and decision-making stage, we will only take into account funding that has been confirmed (e.g. through a decision by the body that has granted the funding).
The maximum funding percentage is applied in calculating estimated total costs both at the application and decision-making stage and in calculating real total costs during the project (payment procedure). The percentage is applied to all project costs, that is, to both direct and indirect costs, including overheads.
Full costing was introduced on the proposal by the Finnish Ministry of Finance in 2009. Earlier, the Academy compensated overheads following the additional cost model. That model is still applied to the salary funding in research posts as Academy Research Fellow and Academy Professor. In applications following the additional cost model, the system will calculate (in addition to other costs) 14.29% as overheads costs, in which case the decision includes an overheads percentage of 12.5%.
Sites of research commit to the funding at the application stage
The Academy will fund a research project only if the application includes a commitment by the site of research. You must agree on this commitment in advance with a representative of the site of research. After the call has closed, we will request the commitment by the site of research from the person indicated in the application. Read more on our website under Commitment by site of research.
In calls where full costing is applied, you must – before submitting your application – determine from your own organisation the funding contribution, the coefficients and the VAT practice of the site of research, and agree on them with the commitment issuer. The coefficients will be valid during the entire funding period.
If there are no other funding sources, the site of research must cover at least 30% of the costs of a project under full costing. If there are other sources, their contributions must also pass through the books of the site of research.
The competent person of the site of research issues the commitment on behalf of the site of research. By issuing the commitment, the site undertakes to, for instance:
- secure the necessary basic facilities for the project, which are the same as those available to other research staff at the site: office and laboratory premises, equipment (incl. computer equipment), and telecommunications, telephone, mailing, copying and library services
- fund the project (in accordance with full costing) with the funding contribution presented in the funding plan.
In the case of applicants for funding for research posts as Academy Professor and Academy Research Fellow, the commitment by the site of research also applies to the use of the researcher’s working hours for purposes other than research, and to salaries and other circumstances surrounding the researcher’s work.
Costs related to storing and sharing research data are also regarded as belonging to the overheads of the site of research at the research project’s host organisation. Check the contents of the commitment text from the Academy’s online services when the call opens.
At the application stage, sites of research must check that the following information is entered correctly:
- the coefficients (overheads, indirect employee costs and effective working hours) of the site of research (regarding projects to which full costing is applied)
- the VAT practice
- the Business Identity Code.
A prerequisite for Academy funding is that both the applicant and the site of research commit to the guidelines issued by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity on responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland. The site of research undertakes to submit to the Academy’s Registrar’s Office the final report of any investigations concerning violation of good scientific practice by the PI or a researcher of an Academy-funded project.
If the funding is a discretionary government transfer awarded to organisations outside the central government (e.g. universities), the site of research also undertakes to act as the recipient of the transfer on behalf of the applicant and will accordingly assume all related obligations.
The dates for Academy funding decisions are posted on our website under Funding decisions. You can also search our decisions for the funded projects, their public descriptions and the call-specific fact sheets.
As an applicant, you will receive an automatic email message after the decision has been made. After receiving this message, you can log in to the online services with your user ID to view the decision. You can also read the conditions for the decision and read the expert reviews on your application.
After being granted funding, you must check and accept it in the online services without delay. The system will then send a notification to the commitment issuer at the site of research. That person must also accept the granted funding.
The funds can be paid only after both the applicant and the representative of the site of research have accepted them as received. The system will then notify the funding to the finance administration of the site of research, whereupon the funds will be ready to use.