Report: state of scientific research in Finland remains stable, research impact comes in many forms

19 Dec 2016

The Academy of Finland has today published its report on the state of scientific research in Finland 2016. The report concludes that the level of scientific research in Finland remains stable and above the world average. Science has significant societal impact. Research and innovation policy must take into account that there is a mutually reinforcing relationship between top-level research, high-quality education and the broader impact of research, the report says. The report also recommends that Finland continue the research-based profiling of higher education institutions and underlines the importance of recruitment and researcher training in the further advancement of research.

According to a bibliometric analysis, the level of scientific research in Finland has remained stable and Finnish research performs above the world average. Although the level of Finnish research has climbed slightly over the past ten years, many OECD countries have outperformed and outpaced Finland. Compared with the results of the 2014 review, there have been only marginal changes in the state of scientific research in Finland.

Finland has a high number of scientific publications per capita in comparison to many OECD countries. The proportion of international co-publications by Finnish researchers has seen a visible increase in recent years. International co-publications accounted for more than 50 per cent of all scientific publications produced in Finland in 2011–2014. Some twenty years earlier, in the early 1990s, the corresponding figure was only 27 per cent.

Heikki Mannila, President of the Academy of Finland and chair of the report’s steering group said: “There is clearly a mutually reinforcing relationship between top-level research, high-quality education and the broader impact of research. This relationship as well as the various routes of impact and roles of science in society must be taken into account in the work to promote the impact of research.”

Key elements: impact diversity, research-based profiling in higher education, recruitment and researcher training

The report also notes that universities and other research organisations in Finland must support, monitor and evaluate the broader impact of research in all its forms. This is also linked to recruitment, which is a key ingredient in ensuring the high standard of research.

Rector Jukka Mönkkönen from the University of Eastern Finland said: “Instead of quantitative indicators, recruitment should focus more extensively on scientific quality, regenerative capacity and impact. The promotion of open science and research impact should be among the core criteria of researchers’ career development based on merit.”

The report on the state of scientific research in Finland also contains data on where PhDs find employment, and recommends that the contents of researcher training be augmented. Jouko Niinimäki, Rector of the University of Oulu and Chair of Universities Finland (UNIFI), said: “Finnish universities must actively develop the contents of researcher training in collaboration with other employers. Researchers must be better equipped to assume demanding positions and tasks in business and industry, for instance."

Rector Liisa Laakso from the University of Tampere was also keen to emphasise the importance of further developing researcher training: “Particular care must be taken to develop researcher training so that it provides a good foundation for demanding and wide-ranging research and specialist tasks in various sectors of society. The training should also focus on developing international contacts, encouraging science popularisation and improving ICT skills.”

The report recommends that Finland continue the research-based profiling of higher education institutions. A number of promising examples of efficient distribution of work and collaboration as well as of new initiatives arising from selected profiling areas can already be seen. What matters, the report notes, is the amount and level of expertise in a certain theme or phenomenon within the same centre of expertise. Research-based profiling also facilitates successful recruitment.

 “Concrete forms of research collaboration provides the best talents with fantastic opportunities to work with major issues of research and research utilisation. The regeneration of research and research-based knowledge occurs at interfaces that have yet to be determined. Profound collaboration between and among research institutes and universities in Finland contributes to renewing the whole research sector and educating the shapers of the future,” said Mari Walls, President and CEO of Natural Resources Institute Finland.

Laakso, Mönkkönen, Niinimäki and Walls are members of the steering group behind the 2016 report.

The 2016 review of the state of scientific research in Finland analyses research personnel and funding, publishing, scientific impact and co-publications. The bibliometric analyses compare Finland to twelve research-intensive countries. This year’s review includes a separate section on the impact of research beyond academia, analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

The report also includes a section written by Tuomas Heikkilä and Ilkka Niiniluoto on the value of humanities research in Finland and section written by Otto Toivanen on the relationship between research and economic growth.

The Finnish-language report Tieteen tila 2016 (State of Scientific Research in Finland 2016) is available in PDF format on the Academy of Finland’s website at > EN.

More information

  • President Heikki Mannila, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 001, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Senior Science Adviser Anu Nuutinen, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 085, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Rector Jukka Mönkkönen, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 294 458 001, jukka.monkkonen(at)
  • Rector Liisa Laakso, University of Tampere, tel. +358 3 3551 3600, rehtori(at)
  • Rector Jouko Niinimäki, University of Oulu, tel. +358 294 484 071, jouko.niinimaki(at)
  • President and CEO Mari Walls, Natural Resources Institute Finland, tel. +358 295 326 010, mari.walls(at)

Academy of Finland Communications  
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications 
tel. +358 295 335 118 

Last modified 19 Dec 2016
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