University Lecturer Kia Lindroos from the University of Jyväskylä has been elected chair of the NORFACE Network (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe) for 2019–2021. Lindroos has been a member of the Network’s Board since 2016. She is also a member of the Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Culture and Society.
The NORFACE Network seeks to promote financial cooperation between scientific organisations that fund research and individual research teams in a variety of countries, mainly in the social sciences. It currently has 20 members from different European countries, three observers, and a partner in Canada. NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) is the current Network Coordinator.
In addition to facilitating research, NORFACE seeks to promote collaboration and increase the visibility of social science research in particular, through activities such as knowledge exchange, analyses and joint workshops. The network is active within the research community, but also promotes dialogue with stakeholders and European decision-makers, such as the European Commission. The network takes a broad view of the social sciences, which include fields such as social and political sciences, law, business studies and economics, administrative sciences, psychology, and cultural research.
“One strong feature that has been central to NORFACE’s activities is the creation of multinational, researcher-driven programmes that examine current phenomena, such as migration, the social influence of religions, the current and future status of welfare states, social inequality, and sustainable development. Individual research projects will by default involve three to four partner organisations from different countries, to open up a broad perspective on the phenomena being studied. The global dimension isn’t ruled out either, as some of the programmes include partners from the US and Canada,” says Lindroos.
According to Lindroos, one clear indication of the importance of NORFACE’s programmes is Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age, which has just published its call for proposals.
“One of the programme’s objectives is to engage in research collaboration that will find and develop strategies for democratic decision-making and forms of governance in the current political, administrative and economic climate, which appears to be quite restless throughout Europe,” says Lindroos.
NORFACE strengthens opportunities for research collaboration
NORFACE’s research programmes provide Finnish researchers with opportunities to find new partner organisations, strengthen existing networks, and create new multidisciplinary projects across national borders. The proposals submitted to NORFACE are evaluated by a top-level multidisciplinary panel, so Finnish researchers will also obtain important information about how their own research project ranks at European level. The Network Board also invites researchers and experts from member countries to assess both the proposals submitted to NORFACE’s programmes and the implementation of the programmes themselves.
“I hope that, whenever possible, Finnish experts will seize the opportunity to get involved in these activities as well. NORFACE’s roots are in Finland, and I think it’s important for both this strong bond and Finnish participation in the network to continue in the future,” says Lindroos.
Original text in Finnish by Terhi Loukiainen
Photo by Kari Likonen