FIRI 2023: non-roadmap research infrastructures
- recommended minimum amount for Academy contribution to individual application is €200,000; to a consortium subproject €100,000 and to entire consortium €600,000
- applied for by individual research organisation or consortium of research organisations
The Academy of Finland provides funding for the acquisition, establishment, strengthening and upgrading of nationally significant research infrastructures that advance scientific research. The funding, known as FIRI funding, is intended to cover investment costs in the construction phase of the research infrastructure, such as the acquisition of equipment and systems and the formation of services. The funding may also be applied for to significantly upgrade an existing research infrastructure.
Two calls will open in April 2023: a call for roadmap research infrastructures 2021–2024 and projects affiliated with international research infrastructures where Finland is a member (FIRI 2023: roadmap research infrastructures 2021–2024 and international memberships) and a call for research infrastructures not included in the roadmap (FIRI 2023: non-roadmap research infrastructures).
The Academy’s total funding budget for these two FIRI 2023 calls comes to at least 40 million euros.
Before you fill in your application in the online services (SARA), carefully read the call text and the funding terms and conditions.
If the call text and the funding terms and conditions 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. Also read all the FIRI guidelines that are available on the Academy’s website.
Background and objectives
The vision stated in the Strategy for National Research Infrastructures in Finland 2020–2030 (PDF) is that high-class research infrastructure services increase the impact and international attraction of the Finnish research, education and innovation system. The objective the FIRI call is to promote the quality, renewal and competitiveness of research, to strengthen the versatile impact of research environments and to increase national and international cooperation.
The Academy of Finland provides funding for the acquisition, establishment, strengthening and upgrading of nationally significant research infrastructures that promote scientific research. By funding research infrastructures, the Academy and other relevant actors also support researcher training and help generate and utilise scientific knowledge and know-how. The call is aimed at advancing the strategic objectives outlined in the strategy for 2020–2030.
Research infrastructures refer to a reserve of research instruments, data and related services that strengthens the impact and increases the international attraction of the Finnish research, education and innovation system. Research infrastructure services enable R&D activity, support researcher training, and maintain and develop research and innovation capacity, thus promoting the quality, renewal and competitiveness of research, strengthening the versatile impact of research environments and enhancing national and international cooperation.
Research infrastructures are research-relevant equipment, information networks, databases, multidisciplinary research centres, research stations, collections, libraries and other memory organisations, as well as services related to their use. Large scientific research infrastructures are often shared and international, offering opportunities for cooperation for both domestic and foreign researchers and other actors.
Research infrastructures may be based at a single location (single-sited), scattered across several sites (distributed), or provided via a virtual platform (virtual). They can also form mutually complementary wholes and networks.
National research infrastructure
A national research infrastructure is a nationally and internationally significant research infrastructure that reinforces the quality of research and education. It also has impact on business and industry and the wider society. The ownership and organisational structure of a national research infrastructure is clear, and the key skills needs of management and personnel are known. A national research infrastructure must have a long-term plan for maintaining and developing its services. The services and data it produces must be as openly available as possible. It must take into account the needs for change created by digitalisation and data-intensive activities. A national research infrastructure must also consider the green transition and sustainable development in its operations. Its funding base must be sustainable and cannot rely too heavily on competitive funding from the Academy of Finland.
A research organisation refers to an organisation whose primary goal is to conduct independent basic research, industrial research or experimental development or to disseminate its results widely by means of education, publication or knowledge transfer. Research organisations are, for example, higher education institutes, research institutes, technology transfer organisations, innovation intermediaries, and research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative entities, regardless of their legal status (organised under public or private law) or financing source.
When such an entity is also engaged in economic activities, separate accounts must be kept of the funding and costs of and the revenue generated by such activities. The enterprises exercising a controlling interest in such an entity (as shareholders, members, etc.) may not enjoy any preferential access to the results generated by the entity.
Characteristics of national research infrastructure
Scientific and educational significance
The research infrastructure must advance high-quality science and education.
Wide and versatile impact
The research infrastructure must have wide and versatile impact in the scientific community and in society at large
Services and users
The research infrastructure offers services and has a distinct user base. It has identified a need for the services and determined a potential user base.
Ownership, organisational structure, and competence and know-how
The staff of the research infrastructure must have sufficient expertise for the successful implementation of the infrastructure.
Digitalisation and data
The research infrastructure must offer feasible guidelines, practices or incentives/demands for researchers in order to support open access to research data. Also, the research infrastructure must take into account the necessary changes brought about by the growth in digitalisation and data intensity.
In its activities, the research infrastructure must take into account research ethics, equality and nondiscrimination, open science and sustainable development, including the green transition. The project must follow these same principles.
Budget and funding
The research infrastructure must have a long-term funding plan for maintenance and development of services. The funding base of the research infrastructure must be stable.
The research infrastructure must have a risk management plan.
A project refers to a time-limited action that contributes to the development of the research infrastructure and to the services, the expansion of the user base and the impact of the infrastructure.
Who can apply?
The applicant is a research organisation. The research organisation selects the person who will be responsible for submitting the application.
This person may be the director of the research infrastructure or some other person approved by the research organisation. Typically, the person is the principal investigator of the consortium. The responsible person shall be responsible for the application in its entirety. The application is filled in and submitted in the Academy of Finland’s online services.
Persons authorised by the responsible person, such as the deputy PI of the consortium, may also participate in drafting the application. The authorisation is given on the tab ‘Authorisation’ in the online services. The duration of the authorisation may be determined case-by-case. However, the authorisation will expire with the call’s deadline. Responsible persons must not authorise themselves.
The commitment by the site of research is issued by the senior management of the research organisation. The commitment is issued in the online services after the call has closed. NB! Only the senior management (rectors, etc.) can issue the commitment of the site of research.
If the application includes cooperation with Russia or Belarus, you must take into account the Academy’s policies on the matter.
If the research infrastructure has ongoing infrastructure funding granted by the Academy, it may be awarded additional funding for justified reasons. The need for the funding applied for must be justified in the action plan. The action plan must also describe the connection to previously granted funding. Discretionary government grants cannot, however, be awarded twice for the same purpose.
We will not process an application if the responsible person has been found guilty of research misconduct in the three years preceding the year of the call.
If the research infrastructure is hosted by more than one research organisation, the organisations may form a consortium. Read more in the guidelines for consortium applications. The consortium application is drafted by the consortium PI (the person responsible for the application). The PI may be the director of the research infrastructure or some other person approved by the research organisation. All research organisations acting as consortium parties must demonstrate their commitment to the application in the Academy’s online services. NB! Only the senior management (rectors, etc.) can issue the commitment of the site of research.
The director of the consortium (the person responsible for the application) must fill in the basic information of the consortium in the online services for the other parties. NB! The consortium parties will not be able to examine the entire consortium application without authorisation (described above). However, the application can be viewed in the online services by clicking on ‘Application in PDF format’.
Funding to be applied for and funding period
The Academy of Finland’s total funding budget for research infrastructures funded under the two FIRI 2023 calls is approximately 40 million euros.
The first call is targeted at roadmap research infrastructures 2021–2024 and projects affiliated with international research infrastructures where Finland is a member (FIRI 2023: roadmap research infrastructures and international memberships). The second call is targeted at research infrastructures not included in the roadmap (FIRI 2023: non-roadmap research infrastructures).
The recommended minimum amount for the Academy’s contribution to an individual application is 200,000 euros. The recommended minimum amount for the Academy’s contribution to a consortium subproject is 100,000 euros and 600,000 euros for the whole consortium.
The funding is intended to cover planning and investment costs in the construction phase of the research infrastructure, such as the acquisition of equipment and systems and the formation of services. Funding may also be granted for the construction or significant upgrading of an existing research infrastructure. The acquisitions must be incorporated into an existing or upcoming national or international research infrastructure that is open to use by the scientific community.
The funding may also be granted to cover salary costs, if the tasks of the person to be hired are linked to the functions described above.
The funding is not intended for operating costs or permanent operating expenses. The funding base for research infrastructures to be funded must be sustainable and cannot rely too heavily on competitive funding from the Academy of Finland.
In the action plan and the application, applicants shall provide a detailed description of what the funding is applied for and how the funding would support the main objectives set out in the national research infrastructure strategy. Also read the policies of the Finnish Research Infrastructure Committee regarding the characteristics of FIRI funding and administrative ownership (PDF). The funding information in the action plan will also be used to assess the sustainability of the research infrastructure’s funding base.
The funding to be distributed through this call depends on the Finnish Parliament’s decision to allocate the necessary funds to the Academy.
What is required from the site of research?
The costs associated with storing and sharing research data are regarded as overheads for the infrastructure project’s site of research, but they may also be legitimately accepted as costs to be covered with Academy funding. If the construction or significant upgrading of the research infrastructure and the formation of services are focused on the processing of large amounts of data, or if the processing of the project’s data requires exceptionally much work or time, the project may apply for funding for salary costs related to the data processing. In this case, a person whose working hours are spent on data management and processing may be hired to the project. However, the funding is not intended for operating costs or permanent operating expenses.
Any supplies, equipment and literature acquired with Academy funding will remain in the ownership and possession of the site of research. The parties can agree in writing on other procedures in the case of research infrastructures. In multi-site joint projects, the parties must conclude a written agreement on the use, ownership and location of the research infrastructure, even for the time after the funding period. The agreement is kept as part of the procurement documents. The agreement need not be delivered to the Academy.
How applications are submitted and become pending, publicity of applications
How to submit and supplement the application
The person responsible for the application shall submit it in the Academy of Finland’s online services. The deadline is non-negotiable. The call opens on 5 April 2023 and closes on 26 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 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 schedule.
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. If you have not submitted a final report on a completed, Academy-funded project, we may decide not to process your application.
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. (Learn more on the Academy’s website under Review and decision-making).
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.
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: Review and decision-making
Publicity and data protection
Except for the action plan, abstract and progress report, which are primarily subject to professional secrecy, 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 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 a form completed in the online services and its 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.
The online application contains the following parts
Most of the links below take you to the A–Z index of application guidelines.
- Personal details of the person responsible for the application
- Degrees (most recent one first)
- Titles of docent and professorships
Consortium parties (if applicable)
- Name and abbreviation of consortium
- Details on each party (name, email address, organisation and country of the person responsible for the application)
- Read the guidelines for consortium applications.
- Details on the site of research
- Information on the research infrastructure (select from the list or enter under ‘Other’)
- 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 description of the project and how it supports the overall operations of the research infrastructure and the call’s objectives
Most relevant publications and other key outputs
- In total up to ten key publications produced with the research infrastructure and up to ten other key outputs, with justifications
- You can retrieve publication details from the VIRTA publication information service. Also see the How-to guides for the online services.
- 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)
- List the collaborators of the research infrastructure (name, organisation, country).
- 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.
- Found guilty of research misconduct (yes/no). We will not process a funding application if the person responsible for the application (the consortium PI) or a consortium party 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)
- See the ethical guidelines.
Funding for the project
- The project’s funding follows the full cost model. The Academy’s funding contribution 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.
- Enter the funding period. The funding period starts on 1 January 2024 and ends on 31 December 2026 at the latest.
- 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.
- Describe and justify the purpose for which you are applying for funding. 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 to supporting the project. NB! Only the senior management (rectors, etc.) can issue the commitment of the site of research. Read more in the guidelines on the commitment by the site of research.
Public project description
- Maximum length 1,000 characters including spaces
- Popular and reader-friendly description of the project in English and Finnish/Swedish, including how it supports the overall functioning of the research infrastructure and the call’s objectives
- You may add a link to the research infrastructure’s website.
- We use the public description to disseminate information on the research infrastructure. 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.
- The action plan may be no longer than 22 pages.
- In order to streamline the review, the action plan and the review form have the same structure. That is why it is important that the action plan follows the guidelines and structure provided. Be as concise as you can. See the guidelines on the structure of the action plan. Write the action plan on the Academy’s template and append it as a PDF appendix on the dedicated tab in the online services.
- Appendices must be PDF files.
- Data management policy: write the plan with the DMPTuuli tool or following the Academy’s DMP guidelines.
- Applicant organisation’s prioritisation list: Prioritisation list from the research organisation that hosts the research infrastructure. Submit the appendix to the Academy’s Registrar’s Office only after the call has closed (but no later than Tuesday 3 October 2023 at 16.15 Finnish time). See the guidelines and template for the prioritisation list.
- Progress report: Research infrastructures with ongoing FIRI funding must submit an account to the Academy of Finland of the progress of the project. This is done in the form of a progress report appended to the application. See the guidelines on the progress report.
- 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 some information is missing. NB! The consortium PI’s application will not show a red warning triangle if consortium parties have not tagged their applications as complete. The PI can submit the consortium application only after all subprojects have tagged their applications as complete.)
- You can supplement 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.
- You can authorise another person to supplement or view your application.
- The person must have an account in the Academy’s online services (SARA).
- Start by entering the person’s name in the field. Then select the correct person in the drop-down menu.
- You cannot authorise more than one person at a time to edit a field. 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.
How the application is reviewed
Applications submitted to the FIRI 2023 call ‘Non-roadmap research infrastructures’ will be reviewed by an international expert panel in September 2023.
On the basis of the application set, the international reviewers will assess the scientific significance, diverse impact and operational level of the research infrastructure. These three review items will be given ratings from 1 to 6. The review panel will also give an overall rating (1–6) to the whole application.
Read the review questions that will be used in the review: review form for FIRI 2023 call for non-roadmap research infrastructures. The review guidelines and forms are only available in English.
The panel will rank the applications that have received a rating of 5 or 6.
The Finnish Research Infrastructure Committee will make the funding decisions in late 2023 and early 2024. The funding decisions are prepared based on the review reports and possibly the panel rankings. The decisions are prepared considering the Academy of Finland’s criteria for research funding decisions and other policies that guide the Academy’s activities. Learn more about the Academy’s decision-making process.
The FIRI Committee will also consider the following aspects:
- expected effects on national and international research infrastructure activity
- strategic significance of the research infrastructure for the research organisation (prioritisation)
- opinions of the Academy of Finland’s research councils.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Contacts primarily by email firstname.lastname@example.org and via the Academy’s helpdesk (Division of Research Environments)
- Paula Leskinen, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 145
- Marjut Kaukolehto, Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 169
- Merja Särkioja, Senior Science Adviser, tel. +358 295 335 111
- Tiina Ilo, Coordinator, tel. +358 295 335 150
Follow on Twitter: #FIRI2023 and @aka_firi