Definitions of FIRI concepts

Research infrastructure

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 research infrastructure of national or international importance that provides a basis for a high level of research, development and innovation. It contributes to advancing cooperation and knowledge development, supports scientific renewal and strengthens Finland’s scientific competitiveness.

A national research infrastructure provides user-driven, dynamic and open services. It has a clear ownership and organisational structure and a long-term, multi-channel and transparent funding base. A national research infrastructure aims to generate new knowledge, attract talent and promote responsible and secure data management. A national research infrastructure must also consider the green transition and sustainable development in its operations.

National research infrastructures facilitate active collaboration with different RDI actors, highlighting their impact and role in driving innovation.

International research infrastructure membership

Memberships in international research infrastructures are a means to promote the quality of research and education. The memberships create platforms for cooperation in international RDI. The memberships also contribute to strengthening the diverse impact of research environments on society. In the present call, an international research infrastructure refers to international research infrastructures where Finland is a member through a state treaty or research infrastructures whose membership fee is paid by the Research Council of Finland.

Research organisation

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.


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.

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