European partnership programmes important to research organisations and Academy of Finland

23 Oct 2020

In spring 2020, the Academy of Finland examined the Academy’s participation in EU-based funding cooperation, or European partnership programmes. The report looks at Horizon 2020 and its ERA-NET programmes, Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI), the European Joint Programme (EJP) Cofund and Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) as well as at funding calls by independent international funder networks. The report includes an analysis of financial data and data from a number of surveys sent to representatives of research services at universities, higher education institutions and research institutes and to the Academy officials responsible for the partnerships.

During the Horizon 2020 framework programme, the Academy participated in 32 partnerships (situation at year-end 2019). Within these partnerships, the Academy has participated in 46 calls, through which it has granted funding worth a total of approximately 32.3 million euros. The calls have provided funding for 145 research projects at Finnish universities, higher education institutions and research institutes. A total of 25 Finnish research organisations have secured funding.

The Academy has allocated 22 million euros in partnership funding to partnerships in fields related to biosciences, health and the environment, which is about 68 per cent of the total funding. In fields related to the social sciences and humanities, the funding comes to some 7.1 million euros, which is 22 per cent of the total. The corresponding figure in fields related to natural sciences and engineering is 3.2 million euros, that is, 10 per cent of the total.

Through the partnerships, the Academy has been involved in supporting not only research but also additional training opportunities for researchers, collaborative forums and support measures for early-career researchers, such as publication and poster awards and networking to promote mobility.

Partnerships strengthen the international element in Finnish research funding

Based on the responses to the survey for research services, both partnership calls and calls for consortium projects in the framework programme are key funding opportunities for research organisations. The respondents regarded the research funded through these calls as important or very important. The partnership calls were seen as administratively easier for applicant organisations compared to consortium project calls. Research organisations reported that partnership projects promote research cooperation with non-EU countries more effectively than consortium projects.

Partnerships also provide EU research funding to Finnish research organisations. National funding cooperation between the Academy of Finland, Business Finland and ministries also facilitates the formation of cross-sectoral consortia, such as those within the WoodWisdom and ForestValue partnerships.

Through partnership cooperation, the Academy of Finland also contributes to strengthening the European Research Area (ERA). In addition, the partnerships serve to strengthen the cooperation and visibility of the Academy and other funding organisations, both nationally and internationally, as well as the visibility of Finland’s science policy in the European Commission and the framework programmes.

Partnership networks also promote research cooperation between the ERA and non-EU countries. According to the its International Policy for 2017–2021, the Academy engages in global cooperation mainly through multilateral networks.

According to the present report, Finnish researchers have partnership projects in at least 36 countries outside the EU. The most important partner countries outside the EU are Norway, the United States and Canada. The number of global partners varies greatly between networks and projects.

New framework programme brings changes to partnerships

With the new Horizon Europe programme for 2021–2027, the European Commission aims to simplify the partnership structure. The aim is to form larger and more effective programmes, to move towards more long-term planning and to reduce overlaps between ERA networks and calls. The Academy’s science advisers are actively involved in this work.

The Academy participates in the Horizon Europe co-funded partnerships that are prioritised by its research councils. The first partnership calls have been scheduled for 2022. The old Horizon 2020 networks and the new partnerships will work in parallel for several years.

Inquiries and more information

Academy of Finland Communications
Vesa Varpula, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 131

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