Platform for proposing strategic research themes opens soon – submit your proposal for a new programme theme

24 Oct 2019

In October, the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland will open an online survey open to all to invite proposals for new strategic research themes for the year 2021. The objective of research funded by the SRC is to find solutions to significant societal challenges.

The online survey opens on 24 October 2019 – submit your proposal and take part in the discussion

The theme survey for the year 2021 will be available on the same Viima platform used during the two previous years. However, unlike in the previous surveys, the proposals for the year 2021 focus on strategic research themes. The Council hopes that this will encourage respondents to consider the proposals from a broader perspective with a focus on significant societal challenges. In other words, the objective of the survey is not to obtain proposals for individual research topics but broader proposals that meet the criteria for a good theme.

The respondents can use the survey platform to submit their own proposals and also to comment on other proposals and discuss them. The Council hopes that the discussions about themes on the platform will give rise to multidisciplinary proposals that lead to new bold combinations of skills, research and interactivity.

Previous themes can be found on the platform to give the respondents an idea of the scale of suitable societal challenges and what is already being researched in strategic research programmes.

The survey is open from 24 October until 20 November 2019. Submitting a proposal requires creating a Viima account or signing in with a LinkedIn or Google account.

The survey is a part of the theme preparation process

The survey marks the start of theme preparation process at the SRC. The final theme is selected by the Finnish Government from a pool of proposals collected by the SRC. After the Government chooses a theme, the SRC will prepare and publish the next research programme calls.

Professor Kimmo Nuotio, the Strategic Research Council Chair since the beginning of 2019, is pleased with the open theme preparation process: “The ideas and feedback the Council gets during the preparation process are invaluable because they allow us to gather information in different ways to help us at the preparation stage. Already last spring I could see how useful the different stages were. We aim to improve our process constantly to find the best balance between the ideas and feedback we get on the one hand and our internal operations on the other. Timely feedback is invaluable to us.”

What is a good theme?

The goal of the SRC is to identify themes which 

  • address challenges crucial to the future of Finland
  • require a multidisciplinary approach to gain new information
  • are horizontal and extend several administrative sectors
  • are not too similar to other proposals
  • promote the development of new and proactive combinations of skills and research
    in the long term throughout the six-year programme period

According to Nuotio, the Council is especially interested in proposals with multidisciplinary research data which can be seen to have concrete benefits. “A good theme is clearly defined, easy to understand, challenging and also inspiring. We hope that they will inspire our best research teams.” The execution of research projects should also promote interactivity. Those who use the new information will be included in the research process with the help of a new type of interactivity. “The research programmes strive for societal impact right from the beginning. Good proposals show potential for this type of impact. The phenomena covered by a good theme also provide a common ground for researchers representing different fields”, Nuotio says.  Kimmo Nuotio

Themes are a part of what makes up SRC funding. Consequently, they also take part in solving significant societal challenges. “Now that we have prepared theme proposals for some years and the first research programmes have been finished, we can see broader emphases and overarching themes. The new themes will be selected by comparing them against our ongoing projects. We are also at a stage where characteristics of SRC funding will gain attention in a completely new way”, Nuotio says.

More information and inquiries

  • Science Adviser, Strategic Research, Pilvi Toppinen, +358 295 33 5064, firstname.lastname(at)


MostPhotos & Kari Likonen/ Academy of Finland

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