Riitta Maijala

Riitta Maijala: Research-based knowledge is in higher demand than ever before

15 Mar 2021

We need more encounters, more experiences and more exploration of the nature of research-based knowledge, the research work involved, the products of the work and how they can be used. The goal of making 2021 the Year of Research-Based Knowledge is to increase both the visibility and accessibility of research-based knowledge.

Dedicating the year 2021 to research-based knowledge is one of the actions set out in Finland’s National Roadmap for Research, Development and Innovation. The programme for the year is being coordinated by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Academy of Finland and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies.

The target audience includes the public, decision-makers and the business sector alike. The ambitious goal is to familiarise all Finns with research-based knowledge and reliable sources of information during the year. A particular aim is to provide children and young people with creativity, inspiration and hope for the future.

My hope is that the year’s events and actions will give all members of society an opportunity to learn not just about research-based knowledge but also about how research-based knowledge is generated and the competence, integrity, courage and passion it takes to do good science.

I would also like people to get a sense of the curiosity and enthusiasm that carries researchers over hardships and setbacks in their search for answers. The programme could even inspire young people to pursue a career in science.

Research-based knowledge is a fundamental building block of a solid future

Research has allowed us, for example, to better grasp the progress of climate change. Research also gives us ways to slow down climate change and mitigate its harmful effects. Research alone is not enough to reverse climate change; we also need actions, but science plays a crucial role in showing us which actions to pursue.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is steering our future in directions that are as yet unknown to us. Changes in population structure, global political tensions and the complexities of interdependent production processes still also loom in the background.

The role of research-based knowledge in overcoming both wider societal challenges and day-to-day obstacles facing individual citizens is consequently greater than ever. Research-based knowledge is a fundamental building block of a solid future.

Year of Research-Based Knowledge consists of actions and events run by a wide range of organisations

This is the first time that we have had a national platform for promoting access to research-based knowledge. It allows us to educate the nation about the range of informative events out there and the actions that organisations are taking to spread the message of research-based knowledge.

There is no need for organisations to come up with new actions specifically for the 2021 programme. Instead, they can propose to incorporate existing approaches that support the theme, such as webinars, blogs and lectures, podcasts, exhibitions, science camps or virtual workshops. All kinds of encounters that raise awareness about research-based knowledge can be incorporated.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the transition to a digital environment, and many of the year’s events and actions will be fully accessible online. This plethora of digital content allows us to increase the visibility and accessibility of research-based knowledge across the country.

The programme for the Year of Research-Based Knowledge already includes almost 230 events and actions. You can read more about them at tutkittutieto.fi/en/.

My dearest wish is for as many people as possible to get involved in organising these events and celebrating the Year of Research-Based Knowledge in 2021!

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