Academy Programme: Molecular Regulatory Networks of Life (R’Life), call for Academy-funded researchers
- Total funding budget no more than 2 million euros
- Applicant is an individual research team
The additional call will be accompanied by a call for consortia for new innovations in the field.
The aim of the Molecular Regulatory Networks of Life Academy Programme (R’Life) is to broaden our understanding of the function and structure of the genome. The programme provides more information on how various mechanisms create links between different parts of the genome and gene networks and how these connections regulate the functions of life. This call is designed to promote the adoption of the latest scientific methods in ongoing research projects. The funded projects will be incorporated into the R’Life programme. The programme memorandum contains more details on the programme’s background, aims, thematic areas and review criteria. The full call text and the review criteria are available below.
PI of the project must be a researcher with a doctoral degree or at the professor or docent level. The funding may be applied for by researchers who have ongoing Academy of Finland research project funding at the closing date of the call, 24 April 2019. The call is open to individual projects, not consortia.
The call’s funding budget has been set at a maximum of 2 million euros. Each applicant may apply for no more than 250,000 euros in Academy funding.
Before you log in to the online services (SARA) to fill in the application, make sure to carefully read the call text below as well as the Read more section (top right), especially the terms and conditions. In the event of inconsistencies between the call text and the terms and conditions (general conditions and guidelines for use of the funding), the text contained in the terms and conditions takes precedence.
Read the full call text below. Click on the link below to print the text or save it in PDF format.
Background and objectives
The aim of the Molecular Regulatory Networks of Life Academy Programme (R’Life) is to broaden our understanding of the function and structure of the genome. The programme provides more information on how various mechanisms create links between different parts of the genome and gene networks and how these connections regulate the functions of life. How do individual differences in genomes, for example, affect the ability of the body to adapt to acute and chronic stress? And what then happens inside the organism in terms of its internal molecular mechanisms? How do the mechanisms that regulate the interaction between the genome and environmental factors affect the phenotype?
There will be two separate calls for applications under the programme. The main call is limited to research consortia in order to enable new kinds of approaches and interdisciplinary cooperation. The call for consortia is accompanied by an additional call targeted at researchers who already have funding from the Academy of Finland. This additional call is targeted at researchers who have ongoing funding from the Academy of Finland. The additional call is designed to promote the adoption of the latest scientific methods in ongoing projects. More information about the call for consortia is available in a separate call text.
- The programme seeks to broaden our understanding of the regulatory networks of organisms instead of individual molecular changes.
- The programme aims to generate new information on the key regulatory mechanisms of cells, individuals and/or populations through the latest advances in molecular biology.
- The programme promotes the adoption of the latest scientific methods, more efficient use of existing research infrastructures and interdisciplinary cooperation.
The programme memorandum contains more details on the programme’s background, aims, thematic areas and review criteria.
Who can apply?
The funding may be applied for by researchers who have ongoing Academy of Finland research project funding at the closing date of the call, 24 April 2019. The call is open to individual projects, not consortia. This may be a person who has received personal funding from the Academy for a research post as Postdoctoral Researcher, Academy Research Fellow, clinical researcher or Academy Professor. The funding may also be applied for by a project PI or consortium subproject PI with funding from one of the following Academy-funded or Academy-reviewed funding schemes:
- Academy Project, targeted Academy Project or project within Academy Programme
- Centre of Excellence funding
- Flagship Programme
- strategic research programmes
- international project funding (excl. mobility grants).
Applications for funding cannot be submitted under both R’Life calls simultaneously. If an applicant applies for funding from both calls, the Academy will only review the first application submitted. Applications that are not reviewed will not be eligible for funding.
PI of the project must be a researcher with a doctoral degree or at the professor or docent level. In addition, the applicant must have a close connection with Finland to support the implementation of a multi-year project. This connection must be described in the application.
Academy Programme funding cannot be granted to a person who has participated in the planning of the programme to an extent likely to give them a comparative advantage over other applicants. This applies to, for example, members and permanent experts of preparatory and steering committees.
Funding to be applied for and funding period
The additional call’s funding budget has been set at a maximum of 2 million euros. Each applicant may apply for no more than 250,000 euros in Academy funding.
The funding period is three years: 1 January 2020–31 December 2022.
The funding is paid via a site of research (usually a university or research institute) based in Finland. Academy funding can be granted to foreign sites only in exceptional cases. Academy-funded researchers may, however, spend time working abroad during their funding period.
In the application, present a funding plan drafted in line with the full cost model (see guidelines in the general conditions and guidelines, section 2), including the funding to be applied for from the Academy (no more than 70% of the total project costs).
You can apply for Academy funding to cover, for example, the following direct research costs:
- research team salaries
- salary costs of principal investigator (under certain limitations)
- salaries of researchers returning to Finland
- essential implementation costs
- collaboration and mobility in Finland
- international collaboration and mobility
- mobility allowance for spells abroad
- preparation of international projects
- publishing (e.g. costs of open-access publishing).
Research team salaries
As a rule, staff hired with Academy of Finland 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, study or other assignments may also be carried out in the form of outsourced services, if it is determined to be necessary for the project.
We require that the site of research (e.g. university) 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, etc.
What is required from the site of research?
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 Guidelines about value added tax and read more in the general conditions and guidelines, section 5.3).
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 is, all funding granted for the project as well as funding that will be provided by the site of research if the project is launched. The cost estimate must be realistic. All research costs are justified in the free-text field on the tab Funding plan in the online services.
Salary costs of principal investigator
Academy funding for research projects (Academy Projects, targeted projects and Academy Programme projects) is primarily intended for the salaries of full-time researchers working on the projects and for other research costs.
The salary costs of the PI may, under certain limitations, be incorporated into the total project costs. The PI’s salary is entered under Salary of principal investigator on the online application form.
1. Including PI’s salary (for project management) in total project costs
The salary costs of the PI 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.
2. Applying for funding for PI’s salary (for research)
The Academy can grant a maximum of twelve months of funding towards the salary of a PI for conducting research.
The funding is intended to support project implementation and granted only for well-substantiated research-related reasons (e.g. work abroad, return to Finland or transfer to another research organisation or a company in Finland). Possible business collaboration must fulfil the terms set out in the Academy’s general conditions and guidelines for funding (section 10.1).
The research-related reasons and the PI’s tasks must be clearly presented on the tab Salary of principal investigator. The funding cannot be used for this purpose unless it is mentioned in the terms and conditions included in the funding decision.
3. Granting salary funding to PI with no employment relationship
If the PI does not have an employment relationship with, for example, a university or research institute, they must give an account (under the tab Salary of principal investigator) of how their salary will be covered during the funding period.
Retired researchers can be granted funding on the same grounds as other researchers.
Mobility allowance in research projects
The mobility allowance in research projects depends neither on the target country nor on the duration of the stay. It is a taxable benefit and indirect employee costs will be deducted from it:
- researchers without dependants: €1,050/month
- researchers with dependants: €1,500/month.
The mobility allowance is applied for as a research cost for implementing the research plan and as part of the original application of the project (e.g. Academy Projects, Academy Programmes and research posts). The recommended amount should be enough to cover the costs of higher living expenses from living abroad.
The mobility allowance is applied for on the tab Cost estimate under Other costs. If researchers and their families stay abroad for at least six months, funding can also be applied for to cover family travel costs.
How applications are submitted and become pending, publicity of applications
How to submit and supplement the application
The deadline is non-negotiable.
Make sure to submit the application in good time before the deadline. The system will only accept applications that contain all obligatory information. You can edit and supplement the application until the deadline expires. You can make changes (e.g. change appendices) in an application you have submitted to the Academy, but you must make them before the deadline expires. If you notice that your application lacks important information after the deadline has expired, immediately get in touch with the call’s contact person, who can open the application so that you can add the missing information. Make sure to re-submit the application after you have supplemented it. We will take into account the additions insofar as it is possible in view of the review and decision-making process. An important addition is, for instance, an invitation by a foreign university.
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 at the Academy 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 provided by the applicant.
Publicity and data protection
Under the Finnish Act on the Openness of Government Activities, as a rule, an application and its appendices are public information; research plans, plans of intent, abstracts and progress reports, however, are not. For example, the CV is a public document and as such must not include any confidential information. The Academy is committed to following regulations on data protection. The GDPR-compliant privacy statement concerning the research funding process is available on our 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 you to submit it in English to facilitate the international review.
The online application consists of 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
- CV appendix following the template structure, no more than two pages
- Details on the site of research
- Title of research project in English and Finnish/Swedish
- Research fields (at least one, no more than five)
- Keywords in English and Finnish/Swedish
- Maximum length 2,500 characters
- Brief overview of scientific and societal objectives, research methods and data as well as expected results and impact of the research
- Maximum length six pages; see our guidelines on the structure of the research plan
- In the research plan, the applicant must describe the research to be carried out with the additional funding, such as the method or resource and how it will benefit the ongoing project, its objectives and research questions. The applicant must also justify the novelty value of the research and its significance for the R’Life programme. To be successful in the call, the application will need to meet the programme objectives.
Most relevant publications
- No more than ten of the most important publications for the project
- You can import publication data from the VIRTA publication information service. VIRTA guidelines
- Details on publications may also be entered manually. Obligatory information: author(s), title, year of publication, name of series/journal, type of publication (will not show in the PDF version of the application)
- Append a complete list of publications to the application under Appendices
- Enter information on planned national and international mobility within the project, itemised by person
- Guidelines on the mobility allowance are available in the call text under Funding to be applied for and funding period.
- ESFRI roadmap research infrastructures
- Other research environments
- Centres of Excellence
- Projects funded under the Flagship Programme
- Ethical permission for project (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.
- The research ethics description is entered under section 4.1 of the research plan.
Funding for the project
- Funding period, effective working hours, indirect employee costs, overheads percentage and VAT
- Salaries and other costs
- 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.
- Justifications for the funding to be applied for. The cost estimate must be realistic.
- 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.
- Commitment by site of research. Make sure you have a commitment from your site of research (usually a university or research institute) to supporting the project.
Salary of principal investigator
- The salary costs of the PI 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, include a salary plan for the PI covering the entire funding period.
- Read more about the PI’s salary in the call text under Funding to be applied for and funding period.
Public project description
- Maximum length 1,000 characters
- Reader-friendly and popular description of the research project in English and Finnish/Swedish
- the topic of the research and the rationale
- the data and research methods to be used (interviews, statistical data, archive materials, etc.)
- the site of research
- the significance and objectives of the research from the perspective of society and science
- any other interesting aspects
- if relevant, a link to the researcher’s website, if it contains more information on the topic
- if relevant, references to previous publications that are readily available at public libraries or on the internet.
- The public description helps the Academy to disseminate information on the research project.
- You can authorise other people to edit parts of the application for you. Start by entering the person’s name in the field.
- The person must have set up 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.
- Technical instructions on the authorisation process are available in the how-to guides for the online services.
Submit the application
- You can submit the application when you have filled in or attached all the necessary information.
- A red warning triangle on the tab tells you that information is missing.
- You can supplement the application until the deadline expires. Resaving will replace the earlier version.
- If you want to supplement the application after the deadline has expired, please get in touch with the call’s contact person.
Appendices to application
All appendices are submitted in PDF format.
- CV appendix following the template structure, no more than two pages
- list of publications; clearly indicate the ten most important publications for the project
- progress report on all Academy-funded research projects headed by the applicant that have not submitted final reports; the progress report should apply to the project for which additional funding is sought
- data management plan
- invitation by foreign university or research institute, if the research or part of it will be conducted abroad; please do not append any letters of recommendation
- statement by ethics committee or animal care committee
- research plan following the template structure, no more than six pages; only if the research plan has not been filled in on the tab Research plan
How the application will be reviewed
Academy of Finland funding is granted based on peer review. We mainly use foreign experts as reviewers.
The review of applications follows a single-stage process. The applications will be reviewed by an international panel of experts.
The review is based on the following criteria:
- how the project supports the objectives of the programme, how the research to be carried out with the additional funding will benefit the project, its objectives and research questions
- scientific quality, innovativeness and novelty value of the research as well as its impact within the scientific community
- competence of applicant/research team in terms of project implementation
- feasibility of research plan (incl. research ethics)
- quality of research environment and collaborative networks
- researcher mobility and researcher training.
Read the review questions that form the basis of the review: review form for Academy Programmes.
The programme subcommittee will make the funding decisions in November 2019.
Applicants will receive an automatic email message after the decision has been made. After receiving this message, you can log in to the online services with your user ID to view the decision and its justifications. You can also read the funding conditions, if the decision has been favourable. In addition, you will have access to read the expert reviews on your application.
How to receive the funding
After being granted funding, you must check and accept it in the online services without delay. Make sure to check and, if necessary, update the public project description before you accept the funding. The system will then send a notification to the commitment issuer at the site of research. That person must also accept the granted funding.
The funds can be paid only after both the applicant and the representative of the site of research have accepted them as received. The system will then notify the funding to the finance administration of the site of research, whereupon the funds will be ready to use.