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Strategic Research Council selects 11 consortia to its new programmes

11 Sep 2017

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland today selected the consortia that will make up the three new SRC programmes Changing Society and Active Citizenship, Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth, and Keys to Sustainable Growth. In all, the programmes will include eleven research consortia. The consortia were selected based on societal relevance, impact and research quality.

Changing Society and Active Citizenship focuses on inclusive decision-making

The SRC programme Changing Society and Active Citizenship will comprise three consortia, with partners from 15 different organisations. The programme’s total funding budget is 13.6 million euros.

Professor Maija Setälä (University of Turku) heads the Participation in Long-Term Decision-Making (PALO) consortium, which addresses the problem of ‘short-termism’ in public decision-making and governance. The consortium maintains that society needs more practices that take into account long-term decision-making and citizen participation.

Professor Anu Kantola’s (University of Helsinki) consortium Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation (BIBU) explores how worldwide changes affect citizens’ political capacities, interests and emotions, as well as how the political system responds to them.

The third consortium selected to the programme is Collaborative Remedies for Fragmented Societies (CORE), led by Professor Lasse Peltonen (University of Eastern Finland). The consortium will experiment with collaborative approaches to explore the potential and limits of collaborative governance mechanisms and inclusive knowledge practices to strengthen active civil society, facilitate reasoned public debate, increase trust between demographic groups and regain the legitimacy of political institutions.

Two SRC programmes focus on sustainable growth

Per Mickwitz, Chair of the SRC, said: “The Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth and Keys to Sustainable Growth programmes are two sides of the same coin.” The programmes approach sustainable growth from two perspectives: as a form of adaptation to global change phenomena and as new initiatives and markets opened by such phenomena.

The SRC selected six consortia to the Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth programme.

Senior Research Scientist Raisa Mäkipää (Natural Resources Institute Finland) heads the SOMPA consortium (Novel Soil Management Practices – Key for Sustainable Bioeconomy and Climate Change Mitigation), which aims to develop ecologically and economically sustainable climate change mitigation options for forest and cropland management. The researchers in the consortium will test potential climate change mitigation measures on croplands and forests on peat soil in collaboration with landowners and other stakeholders.

While Finland’s rivers and lakes and the sea hold significant promise in terms of financial growth, they are threatened by business activities such as agriculture and peat and hydro-electrical production as well as climate change. Professor Anna-Stiina Heiskanen (Finnish Environment Institute) heads the BlueAdapt consortium (Enhancing Adaptive Capacity for Sustainable Blue Growth), which aims to develop a science-policy interface by integrating cutting-edge ecological modelling with economic, policy and regulatory analysis.

The need for more information on the service structures in the social and healthcare sector under the ongoing welfare and healthcare reform in Finland is evident. Professor Tiina Laatikainen’s (University of Eastern Finland) IMPRO consortium (Improving the Information Base and Optimising Service Solutions to Support Social Welfare and Healthcare Reform) aims to develop data retrieval systems and analyses to create prototypes to further analyse the health and social care structure, access to services, care pathways, outcomes of care and costs and cost-effectiveness.

A list of all consortia selected to the Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth programme is available on the SRC’s web pages.

Two consortia selected to Keys to Sustainable Growth programme – supplementary call scheduled for next spring

The aim of the SRC programme Keys to Sustainable Growth is to find solutions to how Finnish society will be better able to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by global changes.

One of the two consortia selected to the programme is Professor Kai Hakkarainen’s (University of Helsinki) GrowingMind consortium (Growing Mind: Educational Transformations for Facilitating Sustainable Personal, Social and Institutional Renewal in the Digital Age). The consortium aims to support the renewal of Finnish teaching and schooling in interaction with rigorous academic research.

Senior University Lecturer Reetta Toivanen (University of Helsinki), in turn, heads the consortium All youth want to rule their world (ALL-YOUTH), which explores the visions of young people regarding a sustainable future, growth and wellbeing.

The SRC also decided to open a supplementary call within the Keys to Sustainable Growth programme. The call text will most likely be published in early 2018 and the call will open in April 2018.

SRC Chair Per Mickwitz said: “We received several excellent applications from projects that intend to explore the role of public authorities in creating, assuring and further developing sustainable growth. The renewal of commercial services and industry received much less attention, so we want to stress these themes in the supplementary call.”

Quality and impact as selection criteria

The SRC selects projects for funding based on societal relevance, impact and research quality. These criteria were used by the review panels, which mainly consisted of foreign experts in research and societal relevance.

The selection process had two stages. At the first stage, the SRC received 93 letters of intent for the three programmes; 32 consortia were selected to the second stage. The full applications were reviewed in two different panels. One panel focused on scientific quality, the other on societal impact in relation to the programmes’ objectives. Applicants for the Changing Society and Active Citizenship programme were also interviewed after the panel reviews. In all other parts, the review process followed the process used in previous SRC calls.

Decisions supported by interviews

Some applicants for the Changing Society and Active Citizenship programme were interviewed after the panel reviews. This was the first time the SRC utilised interviews to support its decision-making. The idea was to get a clearer picture of some of the potential risks in the applications that had been highlighted by the review panels.

Mickwitz said: “SRC funding decisions are made based on the review reports and the applications submitted. Interviews can, however, help us in estimating the significance of the weaknesses and strengths identified by the panels.”

“All of the selected consortia did very well in the review in terms of both research quality, relevance and impact”, Mickwitz emphasized.

 

More information

Changing Society and Active Citizenship: consortia, participating research organisations and collaborators (PDF)

Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth and Keys to Sustainable Growth: consortium participants (PDF)

List of selected consortia by programme (PDF)

List of review panel members (PDF)

  • Research Director Per Mickwitz, Chair of the SRC, tel. +358 295 251 426, firstname.lastname(at)ymparisto.fi
  • Director Jussi Vauhkonen, Strategic Research Unit, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 395 335 114, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • SRC programme Changing Society and Active Citizenship: Science Adviser Jyrki Hakapää, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 020, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • SRC programmes Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth and Keys to Sustainable Growth: Science Adviser Joona Lehtomäki, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 121, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Academy of Finland Communications
Aino Laine, Communications Coordinator
tel. +358 295 33 5007
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Last modified 13 Sep 2017
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