In the opinion of its stakeholders, the Academy of Finland is an expert, trustworthy, competent and international organisation. In contrast, the organisation’s responsiveness, interaction and transparency would require further development. These results were obtained by the stakeholder perception survey on the Academy of Finland conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy, a leading Finnish market research company, over February and March 2016. Over 2,100 individuals, most of whom were researchers, participated in the online survey.
The survey questionnaire comprised a set of closed-ended questions on subjects such as overall perception of the Academy and the Academy’s performance in terms of research funding processes and its role as an expert body for research and science policy. The questions also addressed the full cost model and its function, the Academy’s funding schemes, the serviceability of the online services, and the respondents’ awareness of the Academy’s decision-making process. Furthermore, the survey sought to identify potential development needs related to Academy communications.
The Academy is an expert, competent and highly regarded organisation
On the basis of the survey results, it is quite justified to say that its stakeholders consider the Academy of Finland to be an expert, trustworthy, competent and international organisation. The Academy is a highly regarded organisation that, in the opinion of the respondents, promotes high-level scientific research. All activities of the Academy are of a high quality and promote gender equality. In the opinion of the respondents, the Academy has successfully promoted international researcher mobility, and has solid expertise in research and science policy as well as in science in general. The Academy has also succeeded in developing international scientific cooperation. Hence, the respondents’ overall perception of the Academy is positive.
Responsiveness, interaction and transparency require further development
In the opinion of the respondents, the foremost areas in the activities of the Academy requiring further development were responsiveness, interaction, transformation capability and transparency. Among the performance measurement questions, the activities of the Academy that were rated least unsuccessful concerned the promotion of researcher mobility between universities, research institutions, business and industry, data sharing in support of science policy, the promotion of professional career development, and Centre of Excellence policy. The respondents also feel that they are rather poorly aware of the Academy’s review and decision-making process.
Application of full cost model still seen as a problem
The stakeholder survey also enquired about the respondents’ views of the full cost model. The Academy of Finland carried out an assessment of the effectiveness and impact of the full cost model in 2014–2015. This was done under the guidance of a multidisciplinary steering group.
According to the assessment report on the full cost model, the Academy was to conduct a follow-up survey in early 2016 on the implementation of the recommendations issued in the final assessment report among researchers at the sites of research. This follow-up survey was conducted in connection with the stakeholder perception survey.
On the basis of the survey results, the application of the full cost model is still a problem. The researchers do not experience that the overall situation has improved in any essential way. Thus, development work in this respect must be pursued further.
Together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Academy will organise a follow-up seminar on the subject in autumn 2016. The original seminar date was postponed, because of the ongoing negotiations on performance targets between the Ministry and the universities.
The Academy’s communication activities are technologically advanced, could utilise a more comprehensive range of channels
The communication activities were mostly rated to be rather successful, and the best results were received for timeliness and use of advanced technological solutions. On the basis of the views expressed by the stakeholders, the greatest challenges facing the further development of communication activities arise from a more comprehensive utilisation of communication channels and a greater content diversity. With respect to gaining public visibility for research results and researchers, and organising events open to the public, the performance of the Academy was rated to be adequate.
How the survey was implemented
The stakeholder perception survey on the Academy of Finland was conducted by Taloustutkimus Oy in February and March 2016. More than 2,100 members of the Academy’s stakeholders responded to the online survey. The survey was emailed to researchers who had participated in the funding calls in autumn 2014 and in spring 2015. Thus, the respondents comprised both researchers who had and who had not been granted funding. Apart from researchers, the respondents included persons issuing the commitments of the sites of research, chief financial officers of universities and research institutions, heads of research and science affairs and heads of research services of universities, principal researchers of research institutions, R&D directors of companies, senior office holders with decision-making powers in public administration, representatives of authorities and other public or private bodies that grant research funding.
The largest respondent groups were postdoctoral researchers (n = 644), professors (n = 550) and researchers (n = 527). The total response rate was 31 per cent. The survey questionnaire was available in Finnish and in English.
- Research Manager Timo Myllymäki, Taloustutkimus Oy, timo.myllymaki(at)taloustutkimus.fi, tel. +358 107 585 441
Academy of Finland Communications
Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118