The Academy of Finland’s consortium application guidelines describe how to submit consortium applications, which appendices are needed and how to draft them, and how the applications are completed in the online services.
For consortium guidelines specific to calls by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy, please see the SRC’s call texts. The SRC’s consortium guidelines differ from the consortium guidelines listed on this page.
Project collaboration or consortium?
In calls for joint projects (which are joint calls between the Academy and other funding agencies), researchers and research teams collaborate by means of project collaboration. In this case, the parties of the collaboration (i.e. the project PIs) apply for funding for their own projects independently from the Finnish or foreign funders participating in the call. The cooperation between the research projects involved is described in each research plan of the applications submitted.
A consortium is a fixed-term body of independent subprojects that work at different sites or departments under a joint research plan that is implemented in systematic collaboration. The aim is to generate greater added value than through normal project collaboration. This added value must be justified in the application. Each consortium subproject applies for funding to implement the research plan as part of the joint consortium application.
Consortium applications may be considered, for example, when applying for Academy Project funding or funding within Academy Programmes. Some calls (e.g. some calls within Academy Programmes) are only for consortium applications. The call texts will clearly indicate which type of application is invited. A consortium application is not possible when applying for personal funding for research posts.
Consortium subproject PIs are subject to the same application terms as other applicants. A consortium application is reviewed as a single application.
- Click here for the PDF version of the guidelines
- How to fill in a consortium application in the online services (technical instructions with screenshots)
- Steps involved in drafting a consortium application (diagram)
[Updated for September 2017 call.]
The steps involved in drafting a consortium application are described in a separate diagram.
The consortium selects the principal investigator of the consortium. The consortium PI bears the responsibility for the drafting and submission of the consortium application. The PI is also responsible for reporting on the research of the consortium. The consortium PI can submit the consortium application only after all consortium subprojects (i.e. the subproject PIs) have completed their own applications in the online services (i.e. tagged them as complete).
A consortium application is a single application that is created in connection with the consortium PI’s own application. The applications and appendices of consortium subprojects will be joined together with the consortium PI’s application.
The consortium PI’s application includes details and appendices for the PI’s own project as well as the consortium’s joint research plan, data management plan, abstract and public description. The joint research plan must describe the competence and research duties of the consortium parties as well as the added value generated by the consortium. The consortium PI will enter the consortium project’s name, keywords and research fields on behalf of the whole consortium. If applying for Academy Project funding, the PI will also enter the research council to which the application will be submitted.
The subproject PIs will complete their own applications filling in only their own subproject’s cost estimate and funding plan as well as all other required fields. The collaborators of the subprojects are indicated in the consortium PI’s application. Similarly, if the project requires a permit from an ethics committee, the permit should be accounted for in the PI’s application.
Make sure that the cost estimate and the funding plan are as realistic as possible. They must follow the cost coefficients (overheads, indirect employee costs, effective working hours) used by the site of research in question. Each site of research of the consortium parties must be asked for their commitment, as is standard Academy practice.
The consortium application is processed as one application and the funding decision is made by a single research council or subcommittee at the Academy. If an application belongs to the fields of two or more research councils, the Academy will, where necessary, request expert reviews from fields other than that of the primary research council. When the consortium is granted funding, each subproject receives a separate funding decision.
Applicants may concurrently submit an application only to one of the following funding opportunities: Academy Project funding (incl. consortium application as the PI of a consortium or a consortium subproject), funding for research post as Academy Research Fellow or funding for research post as Postdoctoral Researcher. If an applicant submits more than one application for these funding opportunities, we will only review the first application to arrive.
The joint consortium application is started by the consortium PI. The PI logs in to the Academy’s online services, selects the call under Open calls and clicks on New application. First, select the language of the application and then Application of consortium PI. Then, enter the name and abbreviation of the consortium.
Under Consortium parties, enter the PIs of the consortium subprojects. Please note that the consortium PI can enter the consortium parties in the application only after the parties have signed up in the Academy’s online services. When the consortium PI starts writing the name of a subproject PI in the online application, the system will give a list of persons with the same name who have already signed up in the online services. If the name of the subproject PI is not on the list, he or she must first sign up in the online services.
After the PI has entered and saved the consortium parties into the system, the parties will receive an email confirmation to indicate that they have been added to the consortium. The email message includes a link with which subproject PIs can log in to the online services to draft their own application and appendices (under My applications > Incomplete).
Each subproject PI enters the subproject’s research costs and the cost coefficients (overheads, indirect employee costs, effective working hours) and VAT practice of the site of research. They should also enter information on mobility, possible research teams and all other information requested on the form. Applications must include all requested appendices. The consortium PI will receive an automatic message after the subproject PIs have completed their applications (by tagging them as complete).
The consortium PI may add or remove consortium parties while the call is open. The changes will take effect after they have been saved.
The consortium application (application of the consortium PI and the applications of the consortium subprojects) must be submitted by the set deadline. Please note that the consortium PI can submit the consortium application (Submit application) only after all subprojects have completed their applications (Tag as complete).
All consortium parties can follow the completion of the application in the online services. The PDF version of the application is updated as information is saved in the system. The deadline is non-negotiable. The Academy will only process consortium applications that have been submitted by the deadline. Consortium compositions cannot be changed after the deadline has expired.
How to fill in a consortium application in the online services (technical instructions with screenshots)
When applying for Academy Project funding, the consortium application is submitted to the research council whose field best matches the field of the consortium project. The funding decision is made by a single research council or subcommittee at the Academy. The funding is allocated to the sites of research of each subproject.
While the consortium project is ongoing, the consortium can apply to change the subprojects’ funding plans without having to change the consortium’s overall funding. This option is possible in the following funding opportunities: Centres of Excellence, Academy Programmes, funding for research infrastructures and funding programmes by the Strategic Research Council.
After the funding period has ended, the consortium PI must submit a scientific final report on behalf of the whole consortium.
When preparing a consortium application, you must follow the Academy’s general guidelines for appendices (if not otherwise stated). The guidelines are available under Appendices required on our website. For the guidelines on appendices required in applications for Centre of Excellence funding and funding for research infrastructures, please see the relevant call texts.
Appendices to consortium application
1. Appendices to consortium PI’s application:
- joint research plan for the consortium drafted in line with consortium guidelines, no more than 15 pages + bibliography
- statement by an ethics committee or the Committee on Animal Experimentation (if needed in a consortium subproject); the ethical aspects must always be specified in the research plan
- joint data management plan for the consortium. If the consortium involves many different types of data, the different data management plans should be combined into the PI’s application.
- in two-stage calls: joint plan of intent for the consortium, no more than six pages
2. Appendices appended both to the consortium PI’s application and to each subproject application:
- curriculum vitae for the applicant, no more than four pages (recommendation)
- list of publications by the applicant; for each subproject PI, clearly indicate the ten most important publications for the application
Case-specific appendices (full applications only):
- progress report on all Academy-funded research projects for which the applicant has not submitted final reports
- invitation by foreign university or research institute, if the research or part of it will be conducted abroad; if necessary, several invitations combined into the same appendix
Below you will find guidelines on how to draft a consortium’s abstract, plan of intent and research plan. The guidelines differ from the Academy’s general guidelines on appendices. For guidelines on how to draft other appendices, see Appendices required on our website.
1. Joint abstract for consortium
The abstract (i.e. the summary of the research plan) is written in the online services. It provides an overview of the scientific content and costs of the project. The application will be reviewed by international experts, and the abstract should therefore include the following information:
- Name and site of research of consortium PI
- Names and sites of research of subproject PIs
- Name and abbreviation of consortium
- Summary of key details of the research plan: objectives of research (incl. added value expected from consortium collaboration), research methods and material
- Funding period, amount of funding (specified by subproject) applied for from the Academy and estimated total project costs.
2. Plan of intent for consortium (first stage of two-stage calls)
The Academy normally requests a plan of intent at the first stage of two-stage calls (e.g. calls within Academy Programmes). The plan of intent must be no more than six pages long.
The consortium PI appends the plan of intent to his or her own application. All consortium parties fill in their own details on the online application. The cost estimate in the plan of intent is indicative.
The structure of the plan of intent is as follows:
- name of applicant
- title of research project
- site of research
- justification for how the research project matches the call and its objectives
- background and objectives of research
- added value generated by consortium
- description of research team
- most important research methods applied in the project
- expected results as well as scientific and societal impact
- national and international cooperation
- schedule for the research.
Append the plan of intent to the application in the online services. Name the attachment file as follows: yoursurname_intent_abstract.
3. Research plan for consortium (single-stage calls, second stage of two-stage calls)
To ensure the uniformity and quality of the review process, applications must be comparable. The research plan should provide answers to the questions raised in the review. The research plan should be structured following the instructions given below.
Consortium research plans may be longer than research plans in other types of applications. The text part of the consortium research plan (items 1–9) can be no more than 15 pages (Times New Roman 12 pt or equivalent). In addition, the bibliography (item 10 of the research plan) must not exceed two pages. Also, make sure that the research plan remains legible after you convert it into PDF format.
Structure and content of the research plan
The application will be reviewed by international experts. The research plan must include the following information:
1. Consortium PI, subproject PIs and their sites of research, name and abbreviation of consortium, project title, date of research plan
2. Rationale in brief
- Significance of the project in relation to current knowledge: How is the project linked to previous international and national research? How will the project advance or renew the state of the art?
- How is the consortium’s joint project linked to previous research by the PI/the research team, or to some other research?
- What special added value will the consortium collaboration generate?
- If the call has a specific objective (e.g. research programme calls): How does the proposed research match the call and its objectives
3. Scientific objectives and expected impact
3 A. Scientific objectives
- Objectives of the research and their theoretical and methodological underpinnings
- Hypotheses or research questions
- Expected research results and their anticipated scientific impact, potential for scientific breakthroughs and for the renewal of science and research
3 B. Effects and impact beyond academia
- Reach and potential utilisation value of the research beyond the scientific community
- Self-assessment of the expected societal impact of the research in the long or short term
3 C. Publication plan
- Plan for publishing of research results, dissemination and communication to the scientific community, potential end-users and the general public; methods for ensuring open access
4. Research methods and material, support from research environment
- Research methods, described so as to explain how they will contribute to answering the research questions/confirming the hypotheses, or how they will support the chosen approach
- Research material to be used and its significance for the research project Justification for the research material and description of how the data will be collected and used. Enclose a separate data management plan outlining data management, storage, access and rights.
- What kind of tangible support will the project receive from local, national and international research environments?
- Use of research infrastructures, description of how the project benefits from such use (the infrastructures are also entered in the online application under Infrastructures)
- Critical points for success, alternative implementation strategies
5. Ethical issues
- Description of ethical issues (e.g. ethical governance procedures, informed consent, anonymity of subjects, withdrawal from research) concerning the chosen topic, methods and data, as well as any research permits or information on pending permit applications
6. Implementation: schedule, budget, distribution of work
- Schedule for the consortium’s research
- Justifications by type of expenditure for the total cost estimate specified on each subproject’s application (budget table with justifications). Costs that do not pass through the books of the site of the research must not be included in the total costs.
- Names and tasks of the consortium’s project staff, and their salary costs (with justifications) included in the application to the Academy. If the names are not known, enter N.N.
- Estimate of each subproject PI’s working hours on the consortium project
- If funding (max. 12 months) is applied for to cover the PI’s salary: give clear, research-specific reasons for the salary.
- If the PI does not have a permanent employment relationship, include a salary plan for the PI for the entire funding period.
7. Research team and collaborative partners
- Merits of the consortium’s research team members that are relevant to the project
- Key national and international collaboration, and its significance for project implementation (partners are entered on the online application under Partners)
8. Research careers and researcher training
- Advancing the research career of the applicant (or other researchers to be funded)
- Researcher training, including arrangements for teaching and supervision, and degrees to be completed within the project
- Promotion of equality
9. Mobility plan for the funding period
- Description of researcher mobility from Finland (or to Finland or between organisations in Finland) that has already been agreed, including information on the objectives and duration of visits. Also, justify how the visits or work periods elsewhere contribute to the implementation of the research plan. This information is also entered on the online application under Mobility, with invitations appended to the application under Appendices.
Convert the research plan into PDF format and append it to the online application under Appendices. Name the attachment file as follows: yoursurname_research plan.
Approved 29 June 2017