Academy of Finland identifies grand challenges and priorities for research policy

7 June 11

The Board of the Academy of Finland has identified a series of six grand challenges currently faced by humankind that will be given priority focus in research policy over the next few years. These challenges are named as the Northern Climate and Environment; Sustainable Energy; Dialogue of Cultures; A Healthy Everyday Life for All; Knowledge and Know-how in the Media Society; and the Ageing Population and Individuals.

Having reviewed the existing global challenges, the Academy Board chose to identify research themes and areas where Finland has relevant expertise and where it can therefore make a significant research contribution. The Academy is keen to be involved in addressing broad social and global issues and in resolving those issues by means of scientific research. By choosing to focus on these challenges, the Academy wants to strengthen the role of researcher-driven basic research, to enhance the competitiveness of researchers and increase their opportunities to collaborate internationally, and to demonstrate the significance and impact of the research it finances.

The priority areas of research focus are reflected in the Academy’s long-term planning as well as in the start-up of new research programmes. Nonetheless, the bulk of Academy funding will continue to go to research that is not thematically defined and prescribed in advance. The main criterion on which the Academy bases its funding decisions is the assessment in international peer reviews of the quality of research and researchers. The same will continue to apply to research that tackles the grand challenges.

It is the Academy’s position that failure to address key problems and challenges  causes significant costs to society and reflects adversely on people’s quality of life. This is why it is important to invest even greater effort in ensuring that research results are brought to the attention of political decision-makers and the general public. The grand challenges also have a direct bearing on the framework conditions for business and industry, and new innovative solutions open up promising prospects for business.

The Chair of the Academy of Finland Board, Professor Arto Mustajoki and President of the Academy, Professor Markku Mattila both emphasise the Board policy which says that in order to successfully tackle grand and complex challenges, it is necessary to encourage creative thinking and solutions that draw upon the latest research evidence. This creativity is often grounded in approaches developed in different disciplines and in their earlier achievements, which may even pave the way to completely new lines of research inquiry.

More information:

  • Chair of the Academy of Finland Board, Professor Arto Mustajoki, tel. +358 9 191 22986
  • President of the Academy of Finland, Professor Markku Mattila, tel. +358 9 7748 8210  

Academy of Finland Communications
Communications Director Maj-Lis Tanner
tel. +358 9 7748 8347, +358 40 729 6736

Connect with us
Facebook  Twitter YoutubeLinkedInSlideshare
SWITCHBOARD +358 295 335 000
REGISTRY +358 295 335 049
FAX +358 295 335 299
OFFICE HOURS Mon–Fri 8.00–16.15