The 2016 call by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland is implemented in two stages. By the first-stage deadline of 9 December 2015, the SRC received a total of 152 consortium applications. The applications included 794 research teams from 137 different organisations. The call for letters of intent included four new funding programmes and a top-up on an earlier programme. In its meeting on 29 January 2016, the SRC decided to invite 36 applications to the second stage.
The first-stage applications were reviewed in January 2016 by expert panels that assessed the scientific quality, societal relevance and impact of the applications. The panels consisted of both foreign and Finnish experts with extensive experience not only in science and research but also in research utilisation. The panels also considered how well the proposed research and interaction plans matched the programmatic objectives. In addition, they assessed the quality of the proposed research and its potential outputs, the distribution of work and collaboration between the teams and the capacity of the projects to generate as much societal impact as possible.
Based on the results of the review, the SRC has decided to invite 36 applications to the second stage to submit full applications. That puts the first-stage success rate at 24 per cent. The successful applications are from multidisciplinary, high-added-value research consortia that explore the programme themes innovatively and extensively, displaying a high scientific quality and presenting convincingly drafted implementation plans.
To be successful in the second stage of the call, applications must meet the following key criteria:
- The research must produce evidence-based and societally significant solutions to the programmatic questions.
- The applicants must provide concrete evidence that the research premise, methods and material are of high international standard.
- The applicants must clearly describe how they intend to interact with stakeholders using creative and novel means during the course of the project, and how this interaction will be incorporated into the research activity.
There were also a few key reasons why some applications did not make it to the second call stage. The reasons particularly concerned focus, scientific quality, interaction or consortium structure. For example, some applications did not sufficiently address or focus on the stated programmatic questions. Some failed to provide a sufficiently solid theoretical foundation for the research, or they included inadequate methods and materials. In some applications, the research design did not possess sufficient novelty value. In other cases, applicants presented too narrow and traditional means of interaction that did not sufficiently support cooperation with stakeholders. There were also cases where the distribution of work between consortium parties was unbalanced, offering no real synergy or coherence in relation to the set objectives.
In the second stage of the call, the full applications will be reviewed in two programme-specific panels. One panel will focus on scientific quality, the other on societal relevance and impact. The SRC will make the final decisions on the projects to be included in the funding programmes in its meeting on 9 May 2016. The projects to be funded will be selected by the SRC based the relevance and scientific reviews.
- Research Director Per Mickwitz, Chair of the SRC, tel. +358 295 251 426, firstname.lastname(at)ymparisto.fi
- Executive Director Riitta Maijala, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 114, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118