8 applications go through to second stage of Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme call

10 Jan 2018

The Academy of Finland today shortlisted eight applications that will be invited to the second stage of the Flagship Programme call. The applications were selected based on the results of reviewer reports. Three of the shortlisted applications included a single university and five included several universities or research institutes. Next, the applications will be reviewed by two international peer review panels; one panel will focus on scientific quality, the other on research impact.

The shortlist was decided by the Flagship Programme Subcommittee. The first call stage attracted 15 applications for a total funding of 168 million euros. The Academy’s funding budget for the Flagship Programme is 25 million euros in 2018.

“We were pleased to see such a broad range of high-quality applications from different scientific disciplines. It’s clear that Finland has a high level of expertise in many different areas. In some of the applications, a strong scientific basis was the standout feature, in others it was the impact of the research. In the flagship concept, both of these features should be top-level, and applicants must be able to show viable plans for how they intend to further raise that level,” says Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland.

The shortlisted applications were excellent in terms of scientific quality and how they plan to improve the quality even further, and they represented a good combination of support for economic growth or other major societal impacts.

Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research, said: “In addition, the applications selected to the second stage clearly demonstrated their host organisation’s commitment, a solid and innovative action plan, the added value generated and their strong networks.”

As for the applications eliminated after the first call stage, major development areas identified in the reviews were particularly the impact of the research and the concreteness and clarity of measures to promote the impact. Reviewers also noted a number of ethical issues that the applicants had not always described in sufficient detail.

The reviewers also called for clearer depictions of the added value generated by the research cluster and of the cluster’s joint vision for the future. Other applications lacked sufficient descriptions of the central idea and objectives of the cluster. Although it is a single whole with a clearly defined focus, the research cluster that forms a flagship is more extensive than an individual research project. In addition, the Flagship Subcommittee would have liked to see more bold initiatives and long-term, forward-looking perspectives.

Applications going through to the second stage of the Flagship Programme call:

  • Competence Centre for the Materials Bioeconomy: A Flagship for our Sustainable Future (Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd)
  • Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence (Aalto University, University of Helsinki)
  • Flagship of Photonics Research and Innovation (Tampere University of Technology, Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, University of Eastern Finland)
  • Finnish Testbed for Precision Cancer Medicine (University of Helsinki)
  • Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State (University of Turku)
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research Flagship (University of Helsinki, Finnish Meteorological Institute, University of Eastern Finland, Tampere University of Technology)
  • Growing Welfare by Sustainable Forest Bioeconomy (Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Eastern Finland, Finnish Meteorological Institute)
  • 6G-Enabled Wireless Smart Society & Ecosystem (University of Oulu)

Review panels will interview the applicants between 28 February and 2 March 2018. The aim is to grant funding to 2–4 applications. The flagships will be selected on 18 April 2018. The next call under the Flagship Programme will open in May 2018 and close on 20 June 2018.

What is the Flagship Programme?

The aim of the Academy of Finland’s Flagship Programme is to pool together expertise from different fields in Finland to form high-level research and impact clusters that will further contribute to increasing the quality and impact of Finnish research. A flagship is an effective mix of cutting-edge research, impact in support of economic growth or society, close connections to the business sector and society at large, adaptability, and a strong commitment from host organisations. Flagships are high-quality, high-impact competence clusters that work in flexible ways, simultaneously running several projects and other activities. During the flagship term, the clusters will make significant progress and make good use of the flagship funding to systematically improve and expand their activities.

More information and inquiries

  • Learn more about the Flagship Programme
  • Composition of the Flagship Programme Subcommittee

  • Professor Heikki Ruskoaho, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland, tel. 358 50 448 0772, firstname.lastname(at)helsinki.fi
  • Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 002, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
  • Maiju Gyran, Senior Science Adviser, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 015, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

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