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Policies of Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment

 

The Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment decided the funding criteria and policies for the September 2020 call in its June meeting. These policies supplement the guidelines in the Academy’s September 2020 call texts and the Academy’s criteria for research funding decisions.

Applicants are required to have a close connection to the Finnish scientific community so that the funding will benefit Finnish research and society. This means that the funding will be administered by a Finnish organisation. In addition, the Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment primarily funds projects where both the PI and the research team mainly work in Finland. This must be clearly indicated in the application.

Academy Project funding

The primary funding criterion is the scientific quality of the research plan.  

In addition to scientific quality, the Research Council will consider the following criteria (in order of priority) when deciding between applications of equal merit:

  1. initiatives that promote the renewal of science
  2. strong potential for societal impact
  3. supporting project applicants with promising research careers.

The Research Council requires that the leadership and research tasks of the PI be clearly described in the application.

In keeping with the Academy’s policies, the Research Council supports the careers of early-career researchers and promotes the quality and capacity for renewal of research and innovation.

Typically, the Research Council’s funding for a single project comes to 500,000 euros. Consortium PIs are granted a maximum of 400,000 euros and consortium subprojects a maximum of 300,000 euros. The entire consortium is granted a maximum of 1 million euros.

In the case of consortia, the Research Council pays attention to the added value of the collaboration. The added value must be described in the application. Consortium subprojects are required to be of the same scientific quality as the main applicant, or to contribute significantly to the project implementation.

According to Academy policy, a researcher who has ongoing funding for a post as Academy Professor or who is the PI of an ongoing Academy Project will not be granted Academy Project funding. If an applicant is the PI for a consortium subproject in an ongoing Academy Project, they may be granted Academy Project funding only for well-justified reasons. If an applicant has ongoing funding for a post as Academy Research Fellow, they may be granted Academy Project funding for the last two years of the Academy Research Fellow post. By following these Academy policies, the Research Council wants to ensure that it is able to provide funding to as many researchers as possible and across several fields.

The Research Council may opt to grant two-year project funding to selected high-risk Academy Projects if it finds particularly promising, high-quality and innovative projects that include significant risks in terms of project implementation.

Academy Research Fellow funding

The primary funding criterion is the scientific quality of the research plan. Additionally, attention is paid to the applicant’s competence.

The Research Council supports researchers with capacity for reinventing themselves who are or are on their way to becoming independent, and who are in a buoyant career phase. The researcher shall describe in the application how the project supports their independence.

The Research Council especially supports Academy Research Fellows who have previous international mobility. Additionally, attention is paid to the motivated international mobility of the researchers who work in the project.

In terms of applications of equal merit, the Research Council will consider the following criteria in making funding decisions (in order of priority):

  1. clear positive career development, as evidenced by, for instance, high-quality publications, scientific courage, international networks and project management
  2. bold initiatives that promote the renewal of science
  3. potential for societal impact (e.g. collaboration with end-users of research, science popularisation).

The Research Council provides its Academy Research Fellows an opportunity to carry out their research plan by providing, at its own discretion, sufficient funds to cover the research costs during the first years of the funding period. Research costs of both old and new Academy Research Fellows will be funded with no more than 100,000 per year during the whole term.

Clinical Researcher funding

The primary funding criterion is the scientific quality of the research plan. Additionally, attention is paid to the applicant’s suitability to the objectives of the clinical researcher funding instrument.

The funding for a research post as clinical researcher is a funding opportunity to support part-time research by physicians and other researchers engaged in clinical practice.

The funding decisions are based on the scientific quality of the research and the applicant’s competence and suitability. The aim is to promote clinical research careers and to encourage healthcare professionals to engage in research alongside clinical practice.

The Research Council’s funding covers a 20–50 per cent salary as well as research costs. A requirement is that clinical practice accounts for at least 50 per cent of the work. The funding period is a maximum of four years.

Those who have received Clinical Researcher funding may have a concurrent Academy Project.

Postdoctoral Researcher funding

The primary funding criterion is the scientific quality of the research plan. In addition, the Research Council will consider the applicant’s competence and opportunities to gain more independence during the project.

In the review of applications, particular attention will be paid to the international dimension of the research plan, including international research collaboration and mobility. Applicants must justify in their research plan if the plan does not involve researcher mobility. From the Research Council’s perspective, a good objective is to have at least six months of justified, uninterrupted international mobility. The Research Council is also keen to emphasise the significance of international mobility for later career advancement.

In terms of applications of equal merit, the Research Council will consider the following criteria in making funding decisions (in order of priority):

  1. supporting scientifically promising researchers
  2. supporting the increasing independence of researchers
  3. the scientific courage of the project
  4. how the potential for societal impact comes across in the project description.
The Research Council’s funding for a Postdoctoral Researcher comes to 270,000 euros on average, including salary costs and minor research costs.
Last modified 6 Aug 2020
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