The Academy of Finland has today announced the decisions on its funding to strengthen university research profiles (PROFI). The aim of the funding instrument is to support Finnish universities in further improving their research portfolios and reinforcing the framework conditions for high-quality research. The instrument’s total funding budget is 50 million euros.
This was the third PROFI round. A special theme in this round was the division of work between Finnish universities and the strengthening of their mutual collaboration. The fourth PROFI call will open in autumn 2017.
Universities were invited to apply for funding based on their own strategies with concrete plans for improving conditions for high-quality and high-impact research. The universities were to outline their proposed profiling measures with clear schedules for each of the steps involved.
A panel of international experts reviewed the applications. Twelve of the fourteen universities that applied for PROFI funding were awarded funding. The funding, granted for four years, varies between 600 000 euros and 15 million euros. The funding decisions were proportioned to the quality of the applications and were based on the review report, the university’s commitment to the profiling areas and the university’s interim report on the progress of previous profiling measures. The total funding applied for amounted to 109 million euros.
In their applications, the universities proposed profiling measures for one or several of their strategic research fields, most of them multidisciplinary fields. Some universities applied for additional funding to support profiling areas funded in previous PROFI calls, but many applications also proposed completely new areas.
The best applications clearly demonstrated the university’s ability to grasp its role in the global research and innovation system. They also extensively described the division of work and collaboration between the universities and so supported the university’s strategic choices. Some applications, on the other hand, failed to provide a sufficient strategic framework for the proposed plans.
The international review panel considered that the success of a profiling measure depends on whether the university’s leadership can find a good balance between the top-down-designated profiling area and bottom-up research objectives. Each profiling area should resonate with the intentions and aspirations of the university’s research teams.
The review panel consisted of leading experts (rectors, vice rectors, etc.) from European universities with wide and versatile experience of university reforms in support of research. Four of the panel’s seven members had also participated in reviewing applications submitted in previous PROFI rounds.
- Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland, tel. +358 294 159 472, firstname.lastname(at)helsinki.fi
- Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 002, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
- Anne Heinänen, Senior Science Counsel, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 021, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Riitta Tirronen, Director of Communications
tel. +358 295 335 118