Research Council of Finland grants funding for biosciences, health and environmental research

13 Jun 2024

The Research Council of Finland’s Scientific Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment yesterday granted funding for 39 Academy Research Fellows, 13 Clinical Researchers and 75 Academy Projects. Twelve of the Academy Projects are consortia consisting of several subprojects. The Scientific Council’s funding totalled just over 76 million euros.

The total number of applications submitted to the Scientific Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment in the winter 2024 call increased slightly compared to the previous round, although there were fewer applications for Academy Research Fellowship funding than before. The applications were reviewed in 21 different panels.

The funding is granted to the host research organisations, which manage the use of the funding. The Research Council of Finland monitors the impact of funded research. An Academy Research Fellowship has a four-year funding period. Clinical Researcher and Academy Project funding is granted for up to four years.

Academy Research Fellowships

Academy Research Fellowship funding is intended for talented 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. The funding can be used flexibly according to the research needs, for example for the researcher’s own salary, to hire a research team and to cover other research costs.

The Scientific Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment funded both early-stage and more advanced researchers.

The Academy Research Fellowship applications submitted to the Scientific Council were generally of a high standard. In some applications, the Council called for a more precise focus in the research topics, which would have better supported the implementation of the projects. Applicants should also justify their cost estimates more meticulously. The Council would also like to see plans to use new innovative approaches and methods.

The Council encourages applicants to be mobile and to look for new high-quality partners immediately after obtaining their doctorate. It is important to choose the mobility destination carefully: A well-planned collaboration not only allows for networking, but also provides access to top international research on global challenges and highlights excellent Finnish research.

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.

Although the funding instrument 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 also makes patient data and samples available to other researchers.

In this round, the Scientific Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment received a record number of applications for Clinical Researcher Funding. However, the Council would like to see applications from an even greater number of suitable applicants, and encourages researchers to apply for Clinical Researcher Funding in future, too. The quality of the applications was high, and applicants had in particular improved the project implementation description in their research plans. The Council also praised the applicants’ increased international cooperation. However, cooperation with patient organisations should be strengthened to involve end-users in the projects. This would increase the scope and impact of clinical research in Finland.

Academy Projects

The aim of Academy Project Funding is to promote the renewal and diversity of Finnish science and to improve the quality and scientific and other impact of research. The aim is to attain internationally as high a scientific standard of work as possible and to support scientific breakthroughs and top-tier international research collaboration. Academy Projects Funding supports scientific renewal and strengthens future research skills, including through additional funding for doctoral education.

In the winter 2024 application round, the Scientific Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment received very high-quality and well-written applications from all disciplines it represents. Around half of all applications received an excellent rating of 5 or 6, and only around a third of theses could be funded.

Professor Jussi Kukkonen, Chair of the Scientific Council, said: “The applications submitted to the Council showed the extensive international networks of Finnish science, which brings real added value to research. However, the Council would have liked to see deeper international cooperation and better descriptions of it. Now, in many applications, the cooperation remained thin, which made it difficult to assess its importance in the implementation of the project. We also urge applicants to follow the Scientific Council’s guidelines on project cost estimates when preparing their research plans.”

The Research Council of Finland has made changes to the review process, and the reforms were introduced in the winter 2024 call. Applications for Academy Research Fellowship, Clinical Researcher and Academy Project funding were evaluated by pre-defined review panels composed of international experts. For the first time, applicants chose the most appropriate review panel for their application. Under the new procedure, the feedback to applicants includes all individual expert reviews and ratings. Applicants who proceeded to the panel review stage will also receive the panel summary and the final rating. The review reports include the names of the reviewers. The reform will provide the applicant with more detailed feedback from the review. Learn more: Research Council of Finland publishes panels for winter 2024 call, changes review process, Frequently asked questions about the winter call

Inquiries and more information

Contact us: please direct all inquiries to the presenting official via our helpdesk (Division of Biosciences, Health and Environmental Research) or by email:

Do you have questions or feedback for us?