Academy of Finland grants funding for new Academy Research Fellowships in biosciences, health and environmental research

3 May 2023

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment has decided on funding to support early-career researchers and scientific renewal through 44 new Academy Research Fellowships. The applicant success rate was 15 per cent.

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment has decided to grant close to 30 million euros for 44 new Academy Research Fellowships. The average grant for the four-year projects comes to 670,000 euros. The funding is paid to the research organisation that manages the grant and where the research is carried out.

Academy Research Fellowship funding is intended for early-career researchers on a fast career track who have formed international networks and who are conducting scientifically high-quality and high-impact research that contributes to scientific renewal. This was the first application round where funding was allocated based on the Academy’s reform of the funding schemes available to early-career researchers. In this first round, applicants were eligible if they had completed their doctorate between two and nine years ago.

The goal of the funding scheme is to support early-career researchers who can make significant career progress towards to more demanding research positions and achieve an established position in the national and international research community.

The Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment received applications from researchers at very different career stages. Funding was awarded both to researchers who had only a few years of experience since PhD completion and to researchers who were well advanced in their careers and had already established their own research teams. A clear majority of both applicants and grantees were women. The projects funded cover a wide range of fields in biosciences, health and environmental research.

Professor Jussi Kukkonen, Chair of the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment, said: “The Research Council considered that there were many applications of a high scientific quality in this round. In making its decisions, the Research Council placed particular emphasis not only on scientific quality, but also on the independence of the researcher, that is, the conditions for embarking on a new line of research and setting up a research group. High-quality research cannot live in a vacuum; it thrives from collaboration. This is why we also paid attention to the national and international mobility and networking of the applicants.”

Funding was awarded to researchers who either already had a broad and diverse network or whose application included a clear and feasible plan for networking.

Kukkonen added: “The funding provides researchers with a wide range of opportunities for independent research and for developing the research and collaborative networks in their own discipline together with their research team. Finding solutions to global challenges and preparing for future crises requires investment in science and research. Supporting early-career researchers ensures the regeneration of Finnish science and strengthens society’s ability to respond to new challenges.”

In the next round of applications, the Research Council encourages applications that include bold, new initiatives and inspiring collaboration with other researchers. In addition, the Research Council encourages researchers to clearly describe in their application how they intend to advance their own field of research and the research work of their host organisation and collaborative networks.

The funding for an Academy Research Fellowship can be used to cover the salary costs of a maximum of two researchers, plus any other costs necessary to carry out the research. Under the revised funding scheme, the funding may also be used for the Academy Research Fellow’s own salary for up to 46 months, if necessary. The Academy of Finland monitors the impact of Academy-funded research.

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