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Mobility requirement for Academy Research Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher applicants 2017

The Academy’s aim

Researchers need a wide range of experience from working in different research environments to be able to increase their independence. By working in different kinds of research groups or in other research-related positions, researchers can further strengthen their personal networks and improve their chances of securing research positions or other expert tasks. For today’s researchers, it is also important to be able to acquire new methodological skills and adopt new means of communicating with people with different backgrounds.

Wide-ranging expertise can help to increase the impact of research and promote science renewal, which are among the Academy of Finland’s most important strategic objectives in addition to improving scientific quality.

The Academy encourages international researcher mobility. Our funding can be used within the limits of the funding period for research spells abroad and for returning to Finland. International mobility is of particular importance to early-career researchers in improving the quality of their research and supporting their career development.

In assessing the scientific merits of a funding application, the reviewers consider the international and national collaborative contacts and research mobility presented in the application.

Academy Research Fellow and Postdoctoral Researcher applicants: specify your international and national mobility in three sections:

  1. Mobility as an eligibility requirement

    In this section, we assess your eligibility to apply for funding. You are eligible to apply only if you meet our mobility requirement (see Mobility as an eligibility requirement below).

    This information is entered on page 2 of the online application form.

    If you are eligible to apply based on the above item:

  2. Previous mobility as a merit

    Enter information on your research visits in connection with your research. We will use this information to assess your experience as a researcher.

    This information is entered on page 7 of the online application form.

  3. Planned mobility linked to implementing the research project

    Enter information on your planned research visits during the project and how these mobility periods will benefit your research. We will use this information to assess your application.

    This information is entered on page 7 of the online application form and under item 9 of the research plan.

1) Mobility as an eligibility requirement

Mobility since PhD completion is required from applicants for funding for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher or Academy Research Fellow.

If the application concerns the same research environment where the applicant worked while completing their doctoral degree, the applicant must give an account of at least six months of research experience from another foreign or Finnish research environment since PhD completion.

The mobility requirement is met if you apply for funding for a research post to a research environment other than the one in which you worked while completing your doctoral thesis.

To whom does the mobility requirement apply?

The requirement applies to everyone who applies for the Academy’s funding for a research post as Academy Research Fellow or Postdoctoral Researcher. The requirement does not apply to postdoctoral researchers hired with other Academy funding (such as those hired within Academy Projects).

The requirement is met if the applicant changes research environments during the early stages of the funding period. In other words, the funding application concerns a site of research or research environment other than the one where the doctoral thesis has been completed.

If a researcher applies for the funding to the same research environment, they must account for experience of another environment after PhD completion. In this case the applicant must have at least six months of research experience from another research environment or research-supporting experience from another sector since PhD completion.

In very exceptional cases, the Academy may make an exception for individual applicants. For instance, an exception can be made in the case of severe illness (either the applicant’s or a close relative’s) that significantly impedes the applicant’s mobility. In these exceptional situations, applicants must get in touch with the contact person at the Academy before submitting the application. The contact persons are named in the call text.

What counts as a different research environment?

Here, ‘research environment' refers to the local research community or group in which the researcher works. The research environment is often located within a single site of research (usually a university or research institute), but it may also extend to several organisations. There may be several different research environments at one and the same site of research.

If an applicant changes research environments within the same site, we require a distinct change of work environment, so that it justifiably promotes the Academy’s objectives for the mobility (see The Academy’s aim above). Applicants must provide a concrete justification for the change of work environment and for meeting the Academy's objectives on the online application form.

Changing the name of the research unit or merging to units does not count as a change of research environment.

What does ‘working elsewhere’ mean?

The key criterion is that if the applicant will continue at their former site of research, they must have gained experience from outside their previous research environment. The experience may have been gained in Finland or abroad.

The six-month requirement may be fulfilled by, for instance, working in another field’s research team, institute or association, in administration, the business sector or an occupation that is legitimately linked to the proposed research or that contributes to promoting the research career.

Work somewhere else can also refer to working on a grant or through some other arrangement in some other environment than the physical research environment that the application concerns. For example, applicants may have worked at a foreign university with funding from their own university. Working in a collegium of researchers may also be eligible as work somewhere else if the researcher in question has changed work communities.

Must the applicant have had an employment contract to the organisation at which the work experience was gained?

No, that is not a requirement. This means that working on a grant, for instance, may count towards the required six months. The funding source of the six-month work period is irrelevant.

When must the six months have been completed?

The required mobility period of at least six months must have been completed after the PhD certificate was issued and by the end of September 2017.

The work may have been performed over several spells. However, the two longest spells must equal at least six months.

Part-time employment will count towards the required mobility period of six months. For example, if the researcher has worked on a 50 per cent contract, the total work period must cover twelve months.

Planned mobility is not included in the assessment of the applicant’s eligibility. Planned mobility is assessed as part of the research plan.

How do I enter information on the mobility requirement on the online application form?

Fill in page 2 of the online form.The information you provide on this page forms a whole based on which we can assess whether you meet the mobility requirement. You will need to fill in all obligatory fields on this page to submit your application.

The page structure is as follows:

  • Tick the box. The page includes a question where you must select one of two alternatives: you are either changing research environment now, or you have acquired experience of another environment after PhD completion. You can also select both alternatives.
  • Table. The page also holds a table, where you enter the mobility needed to fulfil the mobility requirement (dates, any additional information). You can add several separate periods to the table, so that they add up to the six months required. If you completed the required mobility in the form of several separate periods, the two longest periods should add up to a minimum of six months. (You can enter other key mobility spells on page 7, Mobility.)
  • Free-text field for justifications. Justify how you meet the mobility requirement (change of research environment or six months of experience from elsewhere). Provide a brief and concrete justification for the benefit from changing environments (no more than 1,000 characters).

2) Previous mobility as a merit

We will consider your previous mobility when assessing your experience as a researcher.

On page 7 of the online form (Mobility) under Previous mobility, list your mobility after completing your PhD.

Only include your most important mobility spells (at least five working days, or 0.25 months) in months. The limit is the same as the one set in the data collection on universities applied by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Do not include conference visits or individual meetings.

There is no time limit for mobility and visits that you want to include in your curriculum vitae in support of your application.

For more information on the policies of the Academy’s research councils, see Research councils on our website.

3) Planned mobility linked to implementing the research project

The Academy of Finland encourages Academy-funded researchers to be internationally mobile during their research project. The planned mobility must support the implementation of the research plan.

On page 7 of the online form (Mobility) under item Planned mobility, list your planned mobility during the funding period.

Only include your most important mobility spells (at least five working days, or 0.25 months) in months. Do not include conference visits or individual meetings.

Justify in your research plan how your mobility destinations and planned visits or research spells benefit your research. You may refer to page 7 of the online form in item 9 (Mobility plan for funding period) of the research plan. If you are applying for funding for conference visits or individual meetings, remember to mention them in the research plan.

For more information on the policies of the Academy’s research councils, see Research councils on our website.

Last modified 13 Jul 2017
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