The Academy of Finland has made the decisions on the latest round of PROFI funding, aimed at strengthening the research profiles of Finnish universities. The decisions were made in two sets: the first set on 16 December 2020 and the second on 13 January 2021. The total amount applied for by the universities was 178 million euros. The Academy’s funding totals 100 million euros. The granted sums range from 750,000 euros to 28 million euros (Table of funding granted, by university (PDF)).
The funding is aimed at expediting the strategy-based research profiling of Finnish universities and at supporting the development of the quality of university research based on peer review. Based on their own strategies, universities select the areas in which they apply for funding for profiling actions. When applying for profiling funding, the universities describe how they intend to promote their strengths, research themes and emerging research fields and provide a clear schedule for these actions.
PROFI funding scheme evaluates concrete plans for improving research quality and impact
Taken together, the universities applied for funding for 35 profiling areas; most of these (28) continue and build on previously funded profiling areas (pdf). The areas bring together research from a variety of fields. Common themes in the profiling areas are ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development. Several areas are health-related.
The funding decisions were made by the Academy’s General Subcommittee. The Subcommittee stated that the PROFI 6 applications contained both new and important themes and long-term and systematic research. In addition, the universities seek to establish interdisciplinary links between their different strengths.
Professor Johanna Myllyharju, who chairs the Board of the Academy of Finland and the General Subcommittee, said: “Universities today engage in very strong and consistent profile-building, and their long-term approach is reflected in the applications.”
The PROFI 6 applications included plans on using funding especially for recruiting researchers. In addition, the universities proposed directing funding to the development of research environments and platforms, researcher visit programmes, multidisciplinary measures, researcher collaboration in profiling areas and the promotion of cooperation with external partners.
The applications were assessed by an international panel of experts, whose members consisted of heads of European universities. The review reports were based on both the applications submitted and interviews conducted with the applicant universities. The funding decisions in turn were based on the panel review report and the ranking made by the panel. In addition, the funding decisions were made taking into account the relationship between the funding applied for from the Academy and the planned profiling activities and the university’s research funding as a whole. The decision-makers also considered the universities’ final and interim reports on the progress of profiling activities funded in previous PROFI rounds.
Redesign produced longer-term PROFI scheme
In the sixth round of profiling funding, the funding scheme was redesigned in close cooperation with the universities and taking into account the recommendations from previous review panels and evaluations of the scheme.
Riitta Maijala, the Academy’s Vice President for Research, said: “The funding granted under the scheme is now more long-term than before: instead of four years, the funding period will be six years. In order to reduce the time required for applying and reporting, the call will be opened every two years.”
In addition to the overall rating, the review panel also gave each profiling area a rating to provide more information on the panel’s view. Both applicants, panels and decision-makers had hoped for this reform.
Inquiries and more information
- Table of funding granted, by university (PDF)
- Learn more about the PROFI funding scheme
- Professor Johanna Myllyharju, Chair of the Academy of Finland Board, Chair of the General Subcommittee, tel. +358 294 485 740, firstname.lastname(at)oulu.fi
- Riitta Maijala, Vice President for Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 002, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
- Anne Heinänen, Counsellor of Science, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 021, profi(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Pekka Rautio, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 040