SRC programme: Security and Trust in the Age of Algorithms (SHIELD)

15 March 2022
10 May 2022 at 16.15 Finnish time (Invited applicants only)
approx. €28 million in total for first three-year period (distributed between the two programmes open for application)
1 Oct 2022–30 Sep 2025 (1st funding period) and 1 Oct 2025–30 Sep 2028 (2nd funding period)

The Finnish Government decided the 2022 themes and priorities for strategic research in its plenary session on 23 September 2021. The Government also adopted equality as the cross-cutting priority of both themes.

  • Update 18 November 2021: change of terminology. The term for the cross-cutting priority, "equity", was replaced by "equality" to preserve the originally intended meaning.

This SRC programme focuses on security and trust in the age of information technology and hybrid influencing. In addition to more traditional security threats, threats and opportunities created by digitalisation and technological development as well as different crises from biodiversity loss to climate change, financial crises and power-political conflicts are shaping our operating environment in unpredictable ways. People’s trust in each other, in public authorities and the welfare state with their safety nets and in the functioning of the processes are key strengths of a democratic society that are being challenged by these change factors. The better we understand the changes and their dynamics, the better we can both block the security threats they pose and discern the spectrum of new opportunities. Through multidisciplinary and interactive research, the programme seeks to build a wide-ranging knowledge base and expertise to identify and block security threats that undermine trust and to strengthen crisis management and resilience. A comprehensive understanding of the operating logic and interdependencies of the change factors supports risk management and enables new types of research-based, sustainable solutions to improve preparedness.

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland provides funding for long-term, solution-oriented research of a high scientific standard that is aimed at finding solutions to major societal problems and challenges. SRC funding has the following characteristics:

  • The funding is only granted to consortia. The consortia must follow the consortium structure required by the SRC.
  • Solving societal challenges requires not only research but also interaction aimed at societal impact between researchers and knowledge users throughout the project’s lifecycle.
  • The funding follows the full cost model, and the SRC’s funding contribution comes to 100%.
  • Funding can be used to cover the salary of the consortium PI for the duration of the funding period. The SRC requires that consortium PIs commit themselves with a sufficient level of input to heading the consortium.
  • The consortia should work towards a balanced gender composition.
  • The funded projects shall commit to following the principles of responsible science.
  • The funded consortia form a thematic programme that is coordinated by a programme director separately hired by the SRC.

The SRC programme structure is such that each programme also has a part-time programme director, who is employed at their own host organisation, such as a university of research institute. Programme directors are selected through a separate call. The key tasks of the programme director are to be responsible for cross-programme cooperation with other programme directors and to promote the societal impact of research together with the Division of Strategic Research. Funded consortia shall actively participate in programme activities and cross-programme activities for social impact.

The present SRC call has two stages. The first stage is open to all eligible applicants. SRC consortia shortlisted in the first call stage will be invited to submit full applications. The SRC decides which consortia are invited.

SRC consortium PIs must have a doctoral degree and hold the title of docent or have research experience at the docent level. To be eligible, a consortium must include at least three organisations and at least three research fields. An SRC consortium must also have an interaction coordinator qualified in their own field.

The project duration is 3 + 3 years. In the two programmes open for application (YOUNG and SHIELD) , the SRC is prepared to fund 8–10 projects with 3–3.5 million euros each during the first funding period. The programmes’ funding budgets for the first three years has been set at a total of some 28 million euros. The cost estimates of the projects must be realistic.

Before you fill in your application in the online services (SARA), carefully read the call text and the ‘Read more’ section, especially the funding terms and conditions and the SRC’s funding principles. Also read the section on responsible science available on the Academy of Finland’s website. 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.

Any changes in the call guidelines between the first and the second call stage will be notified on this page.

Read the full call text on this page.

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