The funding criteria and policies of the Research Council for Culture and Society are rooted in the Academy of Finland’s strategy to support the quality and impact of research and promote science renewal. The policies are also based on the Academy’s general criteria for funding decisions.
The review report issued on the application as a result of the peer review process plays a key role in the Research Council’s funding decisions. The Research Council uses the review report to assess the scientific quality of the application as well as its impact and potential for renewal.
The high quality of research is the most important factor influencing the Research Council’s funding decisions. As a rule, the Research Council only funds applications that receive rating 6 or 5 in the review. Not applications with the highest ratings can be funded. The Research Council aims to provide funding for excellent research in all its research fields.
Science renewal refers to significant breakthroughs, new theories and concepts, challenging previous studies, methodologically innovative approached and using and analysing new kinds of data.
Impact is used in the broad sense of the word. High scientific quality also indicates high scientific impact.
In preparing and making funding decisions, the Research Council follows the Academy of Finland’s Equality Plan with a view to promoting equality and non-discrimination.
The Research Council is also committed to promoting the principles of open science and research. The goal is to make research publications, data and material, metadata and methods widely available for reuse.
Academy Project funding
The Academy Project funding scheme is the most important funding instrument of the Research Council for Culture and Society for promoting the impact and renewal of research. As per its policy, the Research Council spends about half of its available funds on the Academy Project funding scheme.
The high scientific quality of the research plan is the most important funding criterion. The Research Council pays special attention to projects that combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or science renewal.
Other factors that are considered include the project’s feasibility, the competence of the principal investigator and the research team, national and international contacts and international mobility.
The PI of an Academy Project must be an advanced researcher who is qualified to head a research team. The Research Council’s policy is that Academy Projects include researchers who are at different stages of the research career, but the focus is on promoting postdoctoral careers. The projects may hire researchers at the doctoral candidate level, but the funding for that career stage should primarily come from the universities.
In recent years, the Research Council has granted 480,000 euros per individual project for four years. Consortium subprojects have received 280,000 euros for four years.
Funding for research post as Academy Research Fellow
In the case of funding for research posts as Academy Research Fellow, the Research Council’s most important funding criteria are the scientific quality of the research plan and the competence of the applicant. The funding is intended to support talented, mid-career researchers. The Research Council pays special attention to applicants who in their research plans combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or science renewal.
The Research Council stresses the importance of mobility, especially international mobility, as part of career-building at the Academy Research Fellow stage. The applicant’s mobility plan should support the implementation of the research plan as well as their professional competence as a researcher.
The Research Council may grant funding to cover the Academy Research Fellow’s research costs during the funding period. The funding is applied for separately for the first three years and the last two years of the Academy Research Fellow funding period. The funding need for the remaining period will be considered case-by-case. The amounts vary depending on the field and the research to be conducted. The Research Council may also grant research cost funding to hire other researchers, if this is necessary for the implementation of the research plan from the very start of the project.
During their funding period, Academy Research Fellows may apply for Academy Project funding, if they are seeking funding for a research team. In such cases, the applications are treated as normal applications for Academy Project funding.
Funding for research post as Postdoctoral Researcher
The Research Council considers it to be important to fund scientifically talented and independent early-career researchers at the postdoctoral level, because of the nature and scope of the Research Council's research fields. In the case of funding for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher, the Research Council’s most important funding criteria are the scientific quality of the research plan and the competence of the applicant.
The Research Council pays special attention to applicants who in their research plans combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or science renewal.
The Research Council stresses the importance of mobility, especially international mobility, already at the postdoctoral stage. The applicant’s mobility plan should support the implementation of the research plan as well as their professional competence as a researcher.
In the case of Postdoctoral Researchers, the funding decisions includes funding for salary, research costs and mobility.