STN, teema-aloitteen luovutus ministerille 6.6.2018

Strategic Research Council submits proposal on 2019 strategic research themes to Government

6 Jun 2018

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland proposes that the Finnish Government adopt four new strategic research themes for 2019.

In its theme proposals, the SRC highlights systemic and cross-disciplinary approaches as key success factors for strategic research. Together with the themes of previous years, the 2019 themes provide a comprehensive basis for the information needs of present and future decision-making. The SRC submitted its proposals to Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms Anu Vehviläinen on Wednesday.

The SRC proposes four strategic research themes for 2019:

  • Towards a sustainable, healthy and climate-neutral food system
  • Innovative materials and services to promote resource wisdom and sustainable development
  • The evolving role of public authority and the potential for steering society
  • Culture in an increasingly technologically driven society

The SRC also proposes strengthening the ethical dimension in research as the cross-cutting priority of the 2019 themes.

The Government will next discuss the proposals and decide the final themes. The SRC will then design the research programmes based on the final themes and launch funding calls in late 2018.

The themes have been prepared in open consultation and participation with the scientific community and the end-users and beneficiaries of research. A crucial element in the preparation process has been to identify themes in which research can provide support for societal reform and development. The themes must be horizontal and span several administrative branches. They must also be sufficiently distinct from each other and important for the future of Finland. The selected themes require a strong, multidisciplinary research approach in order to gain new knowledge and locate new kinds of solutions.

SRC Chair Per Mickwitz said: “There’s a strong complementarity between the 2019 theme proposals and the SRC’s current programmes. Their shared goal is to create a knowledge base that will enable society to develop in favourable and sustainable ways in this rapidly evolving world. At present, we use a lot of materials that cause major problems, and our current food system is not durable. We need to change course – the food system should become part of the climate change solution and new materials should be harnessed to produce better prosperity without significant environmental damage. The SRC’s theme proposals suggest the strengthening of the research base for such reorientation.”

According to Mickwitz, the rapid changes in technology are challenging for the practices of both people and organisations. There is a need for greater understanding of the interaction between technology and culture. “The rapid changes have also raised doubts as to the extent to which public authorities can control, or even influence, development or the way in which policy can be made in the future and where the line between public and other organisations should be drawn. All this requires research into concrete issues such as health, welfare, the environment or security. There are a lot of value issues involved in promoting desired developments and avoiding the pitfalls. That’s why the SRC is proposing the strengthening of the ethical dimension in research as the cross-cutting priority of the 2019 themes,” Mickwitz said.

Inquiries and more information

  • View the SRC’s theme proposal descriptions (PDF)

  • Research Director Per Mickwitz, Chair of the SRC, tel.+358 295 251 426, firstname.lastname(at)ymparisto.fi
  • Director Jussi Vauhkonen, Strategic Research Unit, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 114, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Photo by Risto Alatarvas, Prime Minister's Office

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