Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the Academy’s new winter call, which is replacing the autumn/September call.
You can send us more questions via our helpdesk at www.aka.fi/feedback (recipient: Division of Research Funding Development).
Why the change from autumn call to winter call?
The Academy is aiming for quicker application processing times. The Academy has also received requests from applicants to ease the start of the academic year at universities.
When will the call texts be published?
The call texts will be published on 26 October 2023. This will allow applicants enough time to prepare and draft their applications and research plans.
How does changed call schedule affect the eligibility of Academy Research Fellowship applicants?
We will take into account the changed schedule in the winter 2024 call. To be eligible in the winter 2024 call, Academy Research Fellowship applicants must have received their first doctoral degree certificate between 30 September 2016 and 31 January 2022. In future, the eligibility (2–7 since first doctoral degree) will be determined based on the call date.
When will the funding decisions be made, and when can I start using the funding?
The decisions on the winter 2024 call will be made in June 2024. The funding period starts on 1 September 2024.
Will the structure of the research plan change?
The structure of the research plan will not change. The subheadings of the section on responsible science have been combined, but the content remains unchanged.
Last autumn, there were some problems in attaching the research plan to the online application. Have the issues been fixed?
Last autumn, we introduced Word and LaTex templates, and the templates have now been improved. As of the winter 2024 call, applicants must use the templates we provide for the research plan, the CV and the Academy Research Fellow applicant’s ‘Merits and increased competencies’ appendix.
The templates will be published with the call texts, on 26 October 2023.
The press release of 9 March 2023 mentioned changes to the review. What will it mean in practice that applicants choose the review panel?
Starting with the winter 2024 call, Academy Research Fellow, Academy Project and Clinical Researcher applications will be reviewed in panels that have been named and described in advance. The applicant selects the most appropriate panel for the application from among the panels provided. The possibility to choose the panel means that applicants have more influence on the review process, and it also increases the transparency of the review. The names and descriptions of the panels will be published in the autumn, before the call for applications is published, to give applicants plenty of time to familiarise themselves with them. The draft panel structure was open for comments in May 2023, and we collected feedback through a survey. More information was provided in early May.
Will there be other changes in the review? What kind of review feedback will applicants receive?
There will be some changes in review as regards the way applications are processed and the feedback given to applicants – we are aiming for increased transparency. The review will have two stages. For each application, at least two statements will be invited from panel members or, where appropriate, from supporting members outside the panel before the panel meeting. Only applications with a rating of 5 (excellent) or 6 (outstanding) at any stage of the preliminary review stage will proceed to the panel stage. All applicants will receive feedback in the form of the preliminary reviews, and those who progress to the panel stage will also receive the panel review report.
How was the panel structure decided?/How were the panels selected?
In configuring the panel structure, we analysed previous years’ applications for Academy Project Funding and Academy Research Fellowships and how they were distributed across scientific disciplines and themes. We also examined the panel structures adopted by other countries and international research funding organisations and compared their compatibility and differences with the Research Council of Finland’s funding activities. In spring 2023, the draft panel structure was opened for public consultation, and we received over 500 responses. The draft structure was finalised based on the responses. Discussions have also been held with our scientific councils.
My research field is X – why is it missing from the panel structure?
The panel structure, the panel descriptions and the keywords are not an exhaustive list of the topics that will be covered in the panels. They are intended to help applicants choose the most appropriate panel. The application may therefore address a topic that is not necessarily specifically mentioned in the panel description. The panels are also typically multidisciplinary, and thus do not contain a detailed description of a particular field.