Academy Programme for Development Research (DEVELOP2) 2023
- for individual research teams or consortia composed of two or more research teams
- total Academy funding up to €3 million, total funding by Ministry for Foreign Affairs up to €3.25 million
- Applications are drafted following the rules and instructions in the Academy’s call text. The funders make their funding decisions independently. The Ministry will apply the Academy’s principles as stated in the call text. However, the projects to be funded by the Ministry will in some respects follow the Ministry’s funding practices during the funding period, for example as regards the use of annual instalments and the timing of the invoicing.
- applied for to cover a research team’s salaries and other direct research costs
- up to €600,000 euros for individual research project, up to €1,000,000 for consortium covering a period of 40 months
The Academy of Finland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland open a call for applications under the Academy Programme for Development Research (DEVELOP2). Development research describes and interprets dimensions of development, helps understand obstacles to development and finds ways in which those obstacles can be removed. In practical terms, the aim is to produce knowledge that can help solve problems related to, for example, health, natural resources, the economy and education. Research-based knowledge is also needed about how international, national and cultural systems work and about the limitations that these systems present to and the opportunities they offer for development.
At the core of the Academy of Finland’s activities is to provide funding for excellent scientific research. The research we fund is also expected to have high scientific and societal impact and follow the principles of responsible science.
Before you fill in your application in the online services (SARA), carefully read the call text and the funding terms and conditions. Also read the DEVELOP2 programme memorandum. If the call text, the funding terms and conditions or the memorandum conflict, the terms and conditions should always be considered primary. If the translated English or Swedish version of the call text is in conflict with the Finnish call text, the Finnish version should always be considered primary.
Read the full call text on this page.
Background and objectives
The DEVELOP2 Academy Programme is intended to provide funding for multidisciplinary, phenomenon-driven and problem-based research that is concerned with issues of global development, benefits developing countries’ economic, social and ecological development, and puts to good use Finnish knowledge and expertise. Its purpose is to work towards achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as adopted by UN Member States. The aims of the programme are as follows:
- produce new research-based knowledge on issues of global development, the causes and mechanisms of poverty and inequality in developing countries, and to find ways to remove obstacles to development and to improve conditions for development
- strengthen and renew high-quality phenomenon-driven and problem-based development research in Finland in the long term and promote its application in developing countries
- support cooperation and research on equal terms between universities and research institutes in Finland and developing countries and strengthen the research capacity of universities and research institutes in developing countries
- meet the objectives of Finnish development policy and the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals: to end poverty and to reduce inequality in the world
- support broader interaction of research in society: disseminate new research-based knowledge to support informed decision-making and implementation, make research-based knowledge more readily available among stakeholders and the general public, and support improved application of research-based knowledge both in Finland and the other countries involved
- pool scattered research capacity in Finland and promote its international networking
- promote interdisciplinary cooperation in the field of development research
- promote long-term and high-impact Finnish expertise and multi-actor cooperation between research, business and non-governmental organisations in the target countries.
The DEVELOP2 Academy Programme is built around three themes:
- sustainable economy in developing countries (digitalisation, jobs, livelihoods, decent work, international trade)
- creating a more efficient society (welfare, health, human rights, high-quality education incl. school meals)
- food security, biodiversity, environmental health and sustainable management and use of natural resources.
Eligible research projects are to address one or more of these research themes. Furthermore, it is required that the projects support the achievement of the Agenda 2030 goals and support the management of changes that will benefit poor people and promote equality primarily in least developed and lower middle-income countries and regions. In their research plans, applicants are required to identify which Agenda 2030 goals their project will address and what impact their project will have in the target countries or regions. The applicant must also justify why the selected target country or region and combination of themes is important for Finland, that is, they must explain what broader impact the project will have there.
Who can apply?
The funding may be applied for by individual research teams or consortia composed of two or more research teams. The consortium parties may represent one or several research organisations.
A consortium application is an application built around a joint research plan, where each party to the consortium applies for funding. The Academy of Finland treats a consortium application as a single application, although the funding is granted to each subproject separately. Consortium compositions cannot be changed after the call deadline. Read the guidelines for consortium applications.
In addition to a doctoral degree, the principal investigator (PI) of the proposed project must also have other significant scientific merits. Usually the PI is a researcher at the professor or docent (adjunct professor) level. These criteria also apply to subproject PIs in consortia. In addition, the applicant must have a close connection with Finland to support the implementation of a multi-year project. This connection must be evident from the application.
Special terms and restrictions
The funding is primarily intended towards the salaries of researchers who work full-time on the project and for other project costs.
The PI’s salary costs may only under certain limitations and on justifiable grounds be incorporated into the total project costs. Read more in the call text under ‘Funding to be applied for and funding period’.
In this call, we will review only one application per applicant (incl. consortium subproject). If you do submit more than one application, we will only review the first application submitted. Applications that are not reviewed will not be eligible for funding.
If the applicant has ongoing Academy funding or completed projects for which a final report has not yet been submitted, they must prepare a progress report. This does not apply to applicants acting as the responsible person in funding schemes where the funding recipient is an organisation or to applicants who are subproject PIs in consortia. Read more about drafting the report. If you have not submitted a final report on a completed, Academy-funded project by the set deadline, we may decide not to process your application.
Members of the Academy Board, research councils and the Strategic Research Council will not be granted Academy funding during their terms.
Funding cannot be granted to a person who has participated in the planning of the call to an extent likely to give them a comparative advantage over other applicants.
We will not process an application if the applicant has been found guilty of research misconduct in the three years preceding the year of the call.
An application will not be processed if the applicant or the application does not meet the competence requirements or other key requirements, or if the application otherwise does not qualify for processing. A research council or another decision-making body may decide not to process and not to fund an application based on science policy objectives or if it is apparent for some other reason that the applicant cannot receive funding with the submitted application. Read more about the circumstances that may cause us not to process or review an application.
Funding to be applied for and funding period
The Academy of Finland’s funding under this DEVELOP2 call for applications comes to a maximum of 3 million euros. The funding contribution of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland comes to a maximum of 3.25 million euros. The Academy and the Ministry will make the funding decisions based on the proposal of the programme’s steering group. Individual projects or consortia will receive their funding either from the Academy or from the Ministry.
The projects will be granted funding for 40 months: 1 September 2023‒31 December 2026.
The site of research of the funded project is a Finnish organisation (usually a university or research institute) via which the funding is paid.
The PI of the funded project must have a close connection with Finland to support the implementation of a multi-year project. The funded researchers may, however, spend time working abroad during their funding period.
While the Academy does not grant funding to foreign sites of research, the funded projects may use the funding they receive from the Academy to hire researchers in developing countries for a joint research project, such as in the form of outsourced services.
The application must contain a funding plan drafted in line with the full cost model, including the funding to be applied for from the Academy (up to 70% of the total project costs). Read more about the full cost model.
You can apply for Academy funding to cover, for example, the following direct research costs:
- research team salaries
- PI’s salary costs (under certain limitations)
- salaries of researchers returning to Finland
- essential implementation costs
- travel expenses
- collaboration and mobility in Finland
- international collaboration and mobility
- preparation of international projects.
Academy funding cannot be used for economic activity. Read more about the eligibility of economic operators.
Only for compelling reasons can government grants be awarded to cover salary costs in cases where the applicant has obstacles related to illegal employment, as referred to in section 7(2) of the Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers.
Research team salaries
As a rule, staff hired with Academy research funding must have an employment relationship. We recommend that they be hired for a period of employment no shorter than the funding period, unless a shorter contract is necessary for special reasons dictated by the implementation of the research project. Short-term research, studies or other assignments (max. duration six months) may also be carried out in the form of outsourced services.
What is required from the site of research?
We require that the site of research (i.e. the applicant’s host organisation, e.g. a university, research institute or other research organisation) provides the research project with all necessary basic facilities. These are determined based on the nature of the research and are the same as those available to other research staff at the site: office and laboratory premises, equipment (incl. computer equipment), and telecommunications, telephone, mailing, copying and library services. When accepting the funding, the site of research is responsible for ensuring that necessary statements and permits from ethics committees have been obtained before the start of the project.
The costs of ensuring immediate open access to peer-reviewed articles are included in the overheads of the site of research and are thus part of the basic facilities provided by the site. The costs associated with storing and sharing research data are regarded as overheads for the project’s site of research. Only exceptionally and for justified reasons can they be accepted as research costs to be covered by Academy research funding. The site of research also commits to ensuring that the data management plan can be implemented at the site of research, and that the measures to be taken comply with good data management practice. After a positive funding decision, the site of research will also approve the data management plan of the project. Read more in the guidelines on the commitment by the site of research.
The application must also include the overheads percentage, indirect employee costs and coefficient for effective working hours of the site of research. The site of research will see to that this information is kept up to date in the online services. The information is provided as percentages.
When the site of research is a university or a research institute, as a rule, the funding must be applied for VAT included. Consult the financial administration at the site of research for more information. The Academy’s funding may also cover VAT costs, but only on certain conditions (see Value added tax and read more in the funding terms and conditions).
In the application, provide a cost estimate including an estimate of the annual amount of funding needed, itemised by type of expenditure. Also include a funding plan that shows all funding granted for the project as well as funding that will be provided by the site of research if the project is launched. Before submitting the application, you must agree with the administration at your organisation on the contribution of the site of research to the funding of the project. Only costs that pass through the books of the site of the research must be included in the total costs. You must check with your organisation whether the funding planned as the own funding contribution suits this purpose. The funding applied for from the Academy must not exceed 70% of the total project costs. The cost estimate must be realistic.
Specify all research costs in the free-text field in the online services on the tab ‘Funding for the project’.
Salary costs of principal investigator
Academy funding for research projects (Academy Projects, Targeted Academy Projects and Academy Programme Projects) is primarily intended for the salaries of full-time researchers working on the projects and for other research costs.
As a rule, funding is not granted for the salary of the project PI. The PI’s salary costs may only under certain limitations and on justifiable grounds be incorporated into the total project costs. The PI’s salary is entered under ‘Salary of principal investigator’ in the online services.
Including PI’s salary for project management in total project costs
The PI’s salary costs may be incorporated into the total project costs in accordance with what is stated under the tab ‘Salary of principal investigator’ in the online services. In order for the salary costs to be eligible, the PI’s tasks must be clearly specified.
The salary costs must not be significant in relation to the project’s total costs. For example, a four-year research project must not include more than six months of the PI’s effective working hours. This is equivalent to approximately 1.5 months a year.
Applying for funding for PI’s salary for research
The Academy may grant funding for the PI’s salary for no more than a year for well-justified reasons, such as working abroad, returning to Finland or transferring to another research organisation or a company in Finland. Possible business collaboration must fulfil the terms set out in the Academy’s funding terms and conditions.
A condition is that the research-related reasons and the PI’s tasks must be clearly presented on the tab ‘Salary of principal investigator’ in the online services. The funding cannot be used for this purpose unless it is mentioned in the special conditions accompanying the funding decision.
Account of salary when PI does not have an employment relationship
If the PI does not have an employment relationship with, for example, a university or research institute for the duration of the funding period, they must explain how their salary will be covered during the funding period on the tab ‘Salary of principal investigator’ in the online services.
Retired researchers can be granted funding on the same grounds as other researchers.
Mobility aid in research projects
The mobility aid is applied for as research costs related to the implementation of the research plan. The aid is applied for in accordance with the practices of the site of research. In order to obtain further information, you should contact the personnel and financial administration of the site of research.
In the online services, the aid is applied for on the tab ‘Funding for the project’ under ‘Travel expenses’. The mobility aid must be justified. Read more about the mobility aid in the funding terms and conditions.
How applications are submitted and become pending, publicity of applications
How to submit and supplement the application
The non-negotiable call deadline also applies to consortia. The deadline for applications is 5 April 2023 at 16.15 Finnish time.
Make sure to submit the application in good time before the deadline. The system will only accept applications that contain all obligatory information. The joint consortium application is submitted by the consortium PI. The PI can submit the consortium application only after all subprojects have tagged their applications as complete.
You can edit and supplement the application until the deadline. You can make changes to a submitted application (e.g. change appendices), but you must make them before the deadline. If you notice that your application lacks important information after the deadline, immediately get in touch with the call’s contact person, so that they can reopen the application for you. Make sure to re-submit the application after you have supplemented it. We will consider the supplemented information insofar as it is possible in view of the review and decision-making process.
We may ask you to supplement the application. If you do not supplement the application by the given deadline, we may decide not to process it. You must make sure that your contact details (email address) are up to date.
How the application becomes pending
According to section 17 of the Finnish Administrative Procedure Act and section 8 of the Act on Electronic Services and Communication in the Public Sector, the sender is responsible for the application arriving by the set deadline. An application becomes pending when the online application and the obligatory appendices have been submitted in the online services. The system will confirm a successful submission by sending an email to the address you have provided.
If you have not submitted a final report on a completed or ongoing Academy-funded project by the set deadline, we may decide not to process your application.
Publicity and data protection
Except for the research plan, plan of intent, abstract and progress report, which are primarily confidential, the application and its appendices are public documents. For example, the CV is a public document and as such must not include any confidential information. This publicity is based on the Finnish Act on the Openness of Government Activities. The Academy of Finland is committed to following regulations on data protection. The applicant is responsible for the disclosure of the personal data contained in the application and, where appropriate, for requesting the consent of the parties concerned. The GDPR-compliant privacy statement concerning the research funding process is available on the Academy website under Data protection.
Application parts and guidelines
The application consists of forms completed in the online services and PDF appendices. As an applicant, you have the right to submit your application in Finnish or Swedish, but we ask that you to submit it in English to facilitate the international review.
Most of the links below take you to the A–Z index of application guidelines.
The online application contains the following parts
- Personal details
- Degrees (most recent one first); parental leaves etc. may be filled in under ‘Additional information’
- Titles of docent and professorships
- Maximum length 3 pages
- CV following the template
Consortium parties (if applicable)
- Details on each party (name, email address, organisation and country)
- Read the guidelines for consortium applications.
- Details on the site of research
- Title of research project in English and Finnish/Swedish
- Research fields (at least one, no more than five). See the research field classification.
- Keywords in English and Finnish/Swedish
- Maximum length 2,500 characters including spaces
- Brief overview of scientific and societal objectives, research methods and data as well as expected research results and impact
- See guidelines on the abstract.
- Maximum length 12 pages, 15 pages for consortium projects
- Submit the research plan as a PDF appendix on a separate tab in the online services.
- See the guidelines on the structure of the research plan. You must follow the given structure. Please use the headings provided.
- The application cannot be submitted if the system detects an error in the page configuration or the structure.
- See the how-to guides for the online services.
Most relevant publications and other key outputs
- The PI/consortium PI enters up to ten of their own/the consortium’s own most important project-relevant publications and up to ten of their own/the consortium’s own research outputs, with justifications.
- You can retrieve publication details from the VIRTA publication information service. Also see our how-to guide for the online services.
- There are separate fields for selected publications and other research outputs. If the desired output type is not listed, select ‘Other, what?’ and enter the name of the output.
- Details on publications may also be entered manually. Obligatory information: author(s), title, year of publication, name of series/journal, type of publication (the type will not show in the PDF version of the application).
- The information is used to assess the competence of the applicant or consortium to carry out the project.
- Describe planned national and international mobility within the project, itemised by person.
- See more information on mobility.
- Append a letter of collaboration to the application. Read more about the letter.
- As applications are reviewed by international experts, you should write the letters of collaboration in English.
- Project collaborators, itemised by collaborator (name, organisation, country)
- Describe the collaborators’ roles and project-relevant key merits and provide justifications for choosing them in section 3 of the research plan.
- We require that you append a letter of collaboration to the application. Read more about the letter.
- As applications are reviewed by international experts, you should write the letters of collaboration in English.
- Use of research infrastructure: Indicate what kinds of equipment, resources or data reserves provided by national or international research infrastructures the project plans to use. The menu includes infrastructures included in Finland’s national roadmap and/or ESFRI’s roadmap. Other possible infrastructures are entered in a free-text field. Learn more about research infrastructures.
- Part of a Finnish Centre of Excellence. Select from the options provided if the application is affiliated with an ongoing Centre of Excellence programme funded by the Academy of Finland. Read more about Centres of Excellence.
- Part of the Finnish Flagship Programme. Select from the options provided if the application is affiliated with the Academy of Finland’s Finnish Flagship Programme. Read more about the Finnish Flagship Programme.
- Preliminary ethical review for project and/or animal testing permit (yes/no)
- Found guilty of research misconduct (yes/no). We will not process a funding application if the applicant has been found guilty of research misconduct in the three years preceding the year of the call.
- Guilty of illegal employment within the meaning referred to in section 7(2) of the Act on Discretionary Government Transfers (yes/no)
- The research ethics description is entered under section 4 of the research plan.
- See the ethical guidelines.
Funding for the project
- The project’s funding follows the full cost model. The Academy’s funding contribution to the research costs comes to no more than 70%.
- Before you can fill in the cost estimate, you must first select the site of research on the tab ‘General information’.
- The site of research maintains the following percentages: effective working hours, indirect employee costs, overheads percentage and VAT. The information is provided as percentages.
- Enter the funding period.
- Enter salaries and other costs.
- Enter other funding sources and their funding contributions. You must immediately notify us if you receive funding from other sources for the same purpose after your application to the Academy has been submitted.
- Justify the funding to be applied for. The cost estimate must be realistic.
- Only under certain limitations and on justifiable grounds may the project PI’s salary for project management and/or research included in the application. The justifications are entered on the tab ‘Salary of principal investigator’ in the online services. Read more in the call text under ‘Funding to be applied for and funding period’.
- Consult the administration at your site of research when filling in budget details. Read more about the funding in the call text under ‘Funding to be applied for and funding period’.
- The commitment of the site of research is a requirement for the granting of funding. The commitment may only be issued by a person designated by the organisation receiving the funding. Make sure you have a commitment from your site of research (usually a university or research institute) to supporting the project. Read more in the guidelines on the commitment by the site of research.
Salary of principal investigator
- Justifications, if salary costs for PI are included in the funding plan
- The PI’s salary costs may, under certain limitations, be incorporated into the total project costs: for project management and/or research.
- If the PI does not have a permanent employment relationship for the duration of the funding period, include a salary plan for the PI covering the entire funding period
- Read more in the call text under ‘Funding to be applied for and funding period’.
Public project description
- Maximum length 1,000 characters including spaces
- Popular and reader-friendly description of the research project in English and Finnish/Swedish.
- We will use the project description in our communications on the funded research project. It is important that the public description is written for a general audience. The project description is also stored at fi, a service that makes available information on research conducted in Finland.
- Read the guidelines on the public project description.
- If you have ongoing Academy funding or completed projects for which no final report has yet been submitted, the projects to be reported are available on a separate tab in the online services. This does not apply to applicants acting as the responsible person in funding schemes where the funding recipient is an organisation or to applicants who are subproject PIs in consortia.
- Maximum length 1,500 characters including spaces
- Describe the progress and/or key achievements of the project and how the project is related to the funding being applied for.
- Read more about drafting the report.
- Also see the How-to guides for the online services.
- Appendices must be PDF files.
- Complete list of publications. Read the guidelines on the structure of the list of publications.
- Letter of collaboration. Read more about the letter. As applications are reviewed by international experts, you should write the letters of collaboration in English.
- Interaction plan
- You can authorise another person to supplement or view your application.
- Start by entering the person’s name in the field. If the person has an account in the online services (SARA), they can be selected from the list.
- The person must have an account in the Academy’s online services (SARA).
- You cannot authorise more than one person at a time to edit a field in your application, and you cannot edit that same field while the authorisation is active.
- Do not authorise yourself.
- See technical instructions on the authorisation process in the how-to guides for the online services.
- You can submit the application when you have filled in or attached all the necessary information.
- The joint consortium application is submitted by the consortium PI. The PI can submit the consortium application only after all subprojects have tagged their applications as complete.
- A red warning triangle on the tab tells you that some information is missing.
- You can supplement and edit the application until the deadline. Resaving will replace the earlier version.
- If you want to supplement the application after the deadline, please get in touch with the Academy’s contact persons listed in the call text.
How the application is reviewed
Academy of Finland funding is granted based on peer review. We mainly use foreign experts as reviewers.
The applications will be reviewed by an international panel. At least two individual reviews are requested for applications with a subject that does not fit into the panel.
The fundamental principles of the review are transparency, integrity, equity, competence and diversity. Read more about responsible researcher evaluation.
- How the research project supports the goals of the Academy Programme (incl. societal impact)
- Scientific quality, innovativeness, novelty value and impact of the research described in the research plan (incl. phenomenon-driven and problem-based approach)
- Feasibility of research plan (incl. responsible science)
- Added value of collaboration between consortium parties
- Competence of applicant/research team in terms of project implementation, possible researcher training
- Quality of research environment and collaboration networks (incl. researcher mobility).
Read the rating scale and the review questions that will be used in the review: review form and review guidelines. The review guidelines and forms are only available in English. The panel drafts one review report on each application. The review report is subject to professional secrecy. Applications that receive a final rating below 5 receive a brief panel summary on the application. The review panel will also rank the highest-rated applications.
After the scientific review, the steering group of the DEVELOP2 Academy Programme will examine the results of the review and prepare a proposal on projects to be funded. The final funding decisions are made separately by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Academy’s Subcommittee for Development Research, which consists of representatives from the Academy’s Research Councils and the Strategic Research Council who serve on the programme’s steering group. The funding decisions will be made by August 2023.
The decisions are prepared considering the Academy of Finland’s criteria for research funding decisions and other policies that guide the Academy’s activities. Read about how funding decisions are made.
Research projects must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for the DEVELOP2 Academy Programme. They shall:
- address one or several themes of the programme
- meet the objectives of the programme
- support one or several Agenda 2030 targets
- support the management of changes that benefit equality and the poor
- cooperate on an equal basis with researchers, universities and research institutes in developing countries in project planning and implementation
- engage in mutually beneficial research collaboration
- demonstrate the wider impact of research and cooperation in the partner country
- take into account the human-rights-based approach to development and the cross-cutting objectives of the programme: gender equality, nondiscrimination and climate resilience.
You will receive an email notification after the funding decision has been made. After receiving the email, you can log in to the online services with your user ID to view the decision and its justifications. In the online services, you will also have access to the review report(s), which may include the panel ranking (panels rank the best applications).
How to receive the funding
A positive funding decision is accompanied by the funding terms and conditions. Make sure to check the decision and accept the funding and its terms in the online services without delay. This must be done within eight weeks of the decision date, unless otherwise stated in the special conditions of the decision notification. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will inform the funding recipients of its own procedures.
If necessary, update the popular project description before you accept the funding. It is important that the public description is written for a general audience. Make changes to the annual instalments, if necessary (see the instructions in the Academy’s funding terms and conditions), and append the full data management plan (in consortium applications only consortium PIs do this). Once you have accepted the funding, the system will send a notification to the commitment issuer at the site of research. That person must also accept the granted funding. See the how-to guide: Decision notification, review reports and accepting funding.
The funds can be paid only after the applicant and the representative of the site of research have accepted them. The system will then notify the funding to the finance administration of the site of research, whereupon the funds will be ready to use.
- Mikko Ylikangas, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 143
- Sara Illman, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 119
Our email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi.
Please contact us primarily by email or via our helpdesk.