The funding criteria and policies of the Research Council for Culture and Society implement the Academy of Finland’s strategy and the Academy’s funding terms and conditions. The policies are rooted in the strategy to support the quality and impact of research and promote the renewal of science.
The scientific quality of the application is the most important factor influencing the funding decisions. The Research Council primarily funds applications that receive the highest ratings of 5 or 6. However, it is not able to fund all highly rated applications. The Research Council aims to fund exceptionally high-quality research in all of its research fields.
The renewal of science refers to significant breakthroughs, reforming theories and concepts, critical assessment and sometimes challenging of previous studies, methodologically innovative approaches as well as using and analysing new kinds of data and material.
The impact of research comprises both scientific and societal impact.
In preparing and making funding decisions, the Research Council follows the Academy’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 publications used in and produced by research, research 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 Academy Projects.
The high scientific quality of the research plan is the most important funding criterion. In its decisions, the Research Council prioritises 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 is primarily the universities’ responsibility.
In recent years, the Research Council has granted 500,000 euros per individual Academy Project for four years. Consortium subprojects have received 280,000 euros for four years.
Funding for research post as Academy Research Fellow
The Research Council’s most important funding criteria are the scientific quality of the research plan and the personal competence of the applicant. The funding is intended to support talented, mid-career researchers. The Research Council prioritises 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, taking into account the Academy’s policy that Academy Research Fellows can apply for Academy Project funding only near the end of their term. On average, the Research Council has granted some 30,000 euros per year for research costs, but the amount varies according to the research fields and the research to be carried out. The costs funding may have been based on, for example, mobility and other travel expenses, the acquisition of research data and the hiring of personnel supporting the implementation of the project for a limited period, if justified for the implementation of the research plan.
Funding for research post as Postdoctoral Researcher
The Research Council considers it 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. The most important funding criteria are the scientific quality of the research plan and the personal competence of the applicant.
The Research Council prioritises applicants who in their research plan combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or scientific 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. The Postdoctoral Researcher term is designed to advance the researcher’s professional competence as a researcher.
A favourable funding decision includes funds for salary, justified research costs and mobility funding.