Research Council of Finland steps up researcher training in Academy Projects with €30m in additional funding

17 Nov 2023

The Research Council of Finland is earmarking 30 million euros of its 2024 funding budget to support doctoral training. The additional funding will be included in the scientific councils’ available funds and distributed under the Academy Project funding scheme.

An Academy Project is built around an ambitious research plan of high scientific quality. The research plan is carried out by a high-level research team or consortium made up of several teams. Increasing the funding for doctoral education is linked to the Research Council’s strategic goal of strengthening skills and competence.

The funding will support regeneration in the research community and improve future research skills. Research projects funded by the Research Council of Finland already account for about a quarter of all doctoral degrees completed in Finland. This new additional funding will further strengthen the training of future researchers in research projects funded by the Research Council.

Johanna Myllyharju, Chair of the Board of the Research Council of Finland, said: “Our goal for the future is that Finland will have more PhD-level experts in RDI positions and that Finland will be among the world leaders in research-based knowledge and competence. We will work towards these objectives by strengthening doctoral training in our own funding portfolio.”

This additional funding is in line with the Government Programme and the new act on R&D funding, which aims for a significant increase in R&D by 2030. Achieving this goal will require not only an increase in funding, but also an increase in the number and competence level of research experts.

Myllyharju added: “The Academy Project funding scheme is an excellent way to support high-quality researcher training. The funds will help integrate doctoral researchers more closely into the research teams of Academy Projects.”

The strengthening of doctoral training will be implemented through the projects’ salary costs:

  1. The salary costs of doctoral researchers working on the project may be included in the total project costs to an extent that is justified in terms of the research plan. The tasks and roles of the doctoral researchers and the promotion of their research careers must be clearly set out in the research plan.
  2. The project can apply for funding to cover the principal investigator’s salary costs associated with supervising the researchers’ thesis work.

The Research Council of Finland’s scientific councils have specific policies concerning the project size. The project size may be larger, if it is justified in view of the doctoral training. When making funding decisions, the scientific councils may use the recruitment of doctoral researchers as a science policy criterion. The inclusion of doctoral training in a project, with added value for the project, is one of the criteria for making decisions, for example between two projects judged to be of equal scientific quality.


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