Academy of Finland grants funding to support clinical research

3 May 2023

The Academy of Finland’s Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment has decided on funding for ten new Clinical Researchers.

The aim of the Clinical Researcher funding scheme is not only to fund high-quality scientific research, but also to enable medical doctors and other researchers working in clinical practice to carry out part-time research while working with patients. The research must be linked to working with patients, so that it also contributes to patient care and health.

The main criteria used in reviewing Clinical Researcher applications are the scientific quality of the research plan and the suitability of the applicant in terms of the objectives of the funding scheme. The quality of applications has remained high, with 41 per cent of applications in the autumn 2022 call scoring excellent reviews. The overall application success rate was 26 per cent. The Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment aims to maintain a high success rate in order to promote clinical research careers and provide broad support to researchers across a wide range of disciplines.

Ten new Clinical Researchers will be funded this year, five women and five men. The funded research projects study topics such as dentistry, cancer treatments and the risk of respiratory infections.

In this round, the Research Council’s funding for Clinical Researchers totals around 2.3 million euros. Although this Academy funding scheme is relatively small, its importance for Finnish medical research is greater than its size. A Clinical Researcher acts as a bridge between practical patient work and other biomedical research. Clinical research makes patient data and samples available to other researchers.

Around 40 healthcare professionals apply for Clinical Researcher funding from the Academy each year. The majority of applicants are medical doctors, but physicians working with patients in other fields – regardless of career stage – can also apply for funding.

The funding can be granted for up to four years to cover the part-time salary of the researcher and research costs. A requirement is that clinical practice accounts for at least 50 per cent of the work. The funding is paid to a Finnish university, university hospital or research institute that will be responsible for managing the funding. The Academy of Finland monitors the impact of Academy-funded research.

Professor Per Ashorn, Vice Chair of the Research Council and Chair of the preparatory group, said: “The Research Council noticed that there were no applications from certain specialisations of medicine this year. We suspect that this is partly due to staff shortages in the health sector: it’s very difficult for Clinical Researchers in certain fields to find time for research. Without today’s clinical research, there will be no future treatments and practices.”

Inquiries and more information

Academy of Finland Communications
Pekka Rautio, Communications Specialist
tel. +358 295 335 040

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