Competitive funding to strengthen university research profiles


The aim of this funding opportunity is to support and speed up the strategic profiling of Finnish universities in order to improve the quality of research.  

Main principles

Universities apply for funding based on their own strategies with concrete plans for developing high-quality, high-impact research. In the plans, the universities describe how they intend to promote strengths, thematic research modules and/or emerging research fields, and provide a clear schedule for these measures. The applications should also include a description of how the universities intend to distribute work between and collaborate with other Finnish universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutes, hospital districts and other relevant actors.

The funds will be made available in the form of fixed-term development funding to be used to cover the specific costs associated with the transitional changes.

The funding is applied for by universities, each university with its own application. The applications are reviewed by a panel of international experts convened by the Academy of Finland. Representatives of university management will be called in to be interviewed by the panel. The review focuses both on a university’s overall action plan and on how significant, concrete and realistic each individual profiling area and measure is.

In addition to the expert panel review, the Academy’s funding decisions are based on the relationship between the funding applied for, the planned profiling measures and the universities research funding as a whole. It will also consider the universities’ interim and final reports on previously funded profiling measures.

Key concepts

A profiling area is a research area or a thematic research module that a university intends to develop according to its strategy. It is a carefully chosen part of the research conducted at the university.

Profiling areas can be:

  • existing high-quality research areas or thematic research modules
  • emerging fields or thematic research modules with potential to reach top level research
  • new fields or thematic research modules with a great deal of potential.

A profiling measure is an action that a university aims to carry out to develop a chosen profiling area. Universities may start several measures to advance the same area within PROFI calls.

Review criteria

The review will be based on the following criteria:

  • how the plan is linked to the university’s strategy and strategic development measures
  • feasibility, credibility and follow-up of the proposed plan
  • plans for reaching or maintaining the intended international level of research in the profiling areas
  • ensuring the creation of new, profiling-based initiatives and seeing to their resources
  • the university’s overall commitment to profiling and developing the quality of research
  • the significance and national added value of collaboration with other universities, research institutes and society at large (incl. infrastructure collaboration)
  • the plan’s significance for promoting diverse societal impact.


There has been a call every year during 2015–2019. Starting with the sixth call, the calls will be organised every other year. The call text for the sixth call will be published in January 2020. The call will be open in May–June 2020.

Last modified 16 Sep 2020
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