Strategic research programme: Pandemics as a Challenge for Society (PANDEMICS), invited applicants

10 March 2021
5 May 2021 at 16.15 Finnish time (invited applicants)
10–12 million euros
1 Sep 2021–31 December 2024
  • NB! The call text was supplemented on 30 March: The heading 'Mobility' was added under the section 'Full application parts and guidelines'.

The Finnish Government decided the 2021 themes and priorities for strategic research in its plenary session on 1 October 2020. Welfare is the cross-cutting priority in all themes.

This strategic research programme focuses on the crises caused by pandemics and their wide-ranging social impacts. Anticipation and prevention of pandemic crises, safeguarding the functioning of society, decision-making on measures to be taken and post-crisis reconstruction require comprehensive research-based solutions. As the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shows, the prevention of pandemic threats and securing the carrying capacity of healthcare may require not only medical and public health measures but also extensive societal measures and restrictions. Such measures may require decision-making with insufficient information and making tough choices between potentially incommensurable factors. The consequences are far-reaching, for example in social, health and economic terms, both for individuals and for the wider society. How do we safeguard the Finnish welfare society from pandemics and support the post-crisis recovery? Research in this programme will create research-based solutions and multidisciplinary expertise to solve the societal challenges posed by pandemics, promoting the core tasks, operational security and citizen security of the welfare state.

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 activity. Programme activities include joint events, compilation of data and participation in the drafting of newsletters.

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 subprojects, two organisations and three research fields. An SRC consortium must also have an interaction coordinator qualified in their own field.

In this call, the project duration is 40 months. The SRC is preliminarily prepared to fund three consortia in the programme, each with a budget of 3–4 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. Also familiarise yourself with 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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