On 16 March 2022, the Board of the Academy of Finland adopted a decision-in-principle on the main features of a new funding scheme for Academy Research Fellowships. The decision concerns the timetable for the introduction of the new scheme; the aims and target group for the scheme; and the main principles for the use of funding. The new Academy Research Fellowship funding scheme will be introduced in connection with the Academy’s autumn 2022 call. In the autumn 2022 call, however, applications may be submitted by researchers who at the application deadline have completed their first doctorate at least two but no more than nine years ago. As of the autumn 2023 call, the eligibility period will be 2–7 years since the first doctorate.
The Academy of Finland has continued preparations to reform the funding opportunities available to early-career researchers. The goal of the reform, aimed at introducing a new funding scheme for Academy Research Fellowships, is to revise and refine the Academy’s science policy objective in the funding of early-career researchers, to simplify the Academy’s early-career funding portfolio and the funding application process, to allow greater flexibility in funding uses during the funding period and to ease the administrative burden on individual researchers, research organisations and the Academy of Finland.
During February 2022, the Academy organised written and oral consultations to collect feedback from stakeholders on the key objectives and principal components of the new funding scheme.
The feedback has been taken into account in the decision-in-principle, setting out the most important principles for the new funding scheme and the most urgent principles for applicants. The principles provide guidance for the continued, more detailed preparation of the new funding scheme and facilitate communication and support to applicants.
New Academy Research Fellowships to be introduced in autumn 2022
Applications for the new Academy Research Fellowships will open in autumn 2022. After the introduction of the new scheme, the current funding opportunities for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and Academy Research Fellow will no longer be opened for application. Also, no allocations will be made for early-career Academy Project funding.
The funding in Academy Research Fellowships covers four years. Funds can be made available for payment of the researcher’s salary and other costs associated with implementation of the research plan in line with the terms and conditions of funding to be confirmed at a later date. The full cost model is applied to the funding.
Eligibility for a new Academy Research Fellowship will no longer require prior mobility between research environments. Applicants will however still be expected to show growth to independence and development of diverse skills and competencies by the time they submit their application. However, this does not necessarily have to involve physical mobility; career progress will be evaluated from a broader perspective.
Funding decisions made before 31 December 2022 for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher and Academy Research Fellow or for early-career Academy Project funding will remain in force under the current terms and conditions. Furthermore, funding made available for research costs associated with current research posts as Academy Research Fellow will continue and decisions on funding extensions will be made under existing terms and conditions.
Aiming at greater impact from the funding
The aim of the Academy Research Fellowships is to support promising early-career research talents in such a way that they can make significant career progress towards the most demanding research positions and achieve an established position in the national and international research community.
Professor Johanna Myllyharju, Chair of the Academy Board, said: “Our aim in defining the eligibility in Academy Research Fellowships is to achieve the science policy objectives and desired impact in an optimal way. The goal is to identify applicants who will be able to make significant career progress during the funding period.”
According to the Board’s decision-in-principle, applications for new Academy Research Fellowships will be accepted from researchers who have completed their first doctorate at least two but no more than seven years ago.
The concerns expressed by stakeholders about the rapid timetable for the reform and the possibilities for planning future applications have been taken into account: The autumn 2022 call will involve a transition period where Academy Research Fellow applications may be submitted by researchers who at the application deadline have completed their first doctorate at least two but no more than nine years ago.
Fellowships will not be granted to persons holding a tenured professorship or comparable research position.
Call text, peer review documents and funding conditions to be prepared during spring
Next, in April 2022, the Academy Board will decide on the revised criteria for research funding decisions. The criteria document describes the principles outlined here in more detail as well as other features of the new funding scheme. The call for applications, peer review documents and the terms and conditions of funding will be published in May–June 2022, as per the regular timetable for the autumn call.
More detailed timetables for the call as well as the Ask & Apply call guidance sessions will be announced during the spring via the Academy’s various communication channels.
We thank everyone who participated in the stakeholder consultations and discussions for their valuable feedback.
Inquiries and more information
- Explanatory memorandum: Principles governing the preparation of the new funding scheme for Academy Research Fellowships (PDF)
- Academy Research Fellow reform
- general inquiries: earlycareer(at)aka.fi
- Johanna Myllyharju, Chair of the Board of the Academy of Finland, tel. +358 294 485 740, firstname.lastname(at)oulu.fi
- Jussi Vauhkonen, Director of Research Funding Development, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 114, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
- Vera Mikkilä, Project Manager, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 048, firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi
Academy of Finland Communications
Pekka Rautio, Communications Specialist
+358 295 335 040