How applications are reviewed

The Research Council of Finland grants funding based on open competition and international peer review. The reviewers are esteemed international researchers in their fields or otherwise regarded as peers in terms of the applications being reviewed.

As a rule, all applications are peer reviewed by international panels. In concrete terms, the review panels are discipline- or topic-specific meetings of international experts. As a rule, the experts are selected based on the concerned call or the topic of the panel.

At least two reviewers will be asked to review the applications before the panel review. If there is a two-stage review, some applications will be rejected at this stage and will not proceed to the panel stage. In a single-stage review, all applications are panel-reviewed.

Review panels assemble to discuss the applications and the applicants’ scientific merits. They draft a panel review report for each application. Additionally, the panels will rank the applications that have received the best ratings.

Applications that cannot be reviewed by any of the panels are reviewed by at least two independent experts.

Thematic programme calls, such as Academy Programme funding and strategic research funding, are typically two-stage calls. Therefore their review processes may differ from the aforementioned. In thematic programme calls, applications will also be reviewed as regards their suitability for the programme and, in some cases, their societal impact.

Applications for strategic research funding are reviewed in separate panels for societal relevance and impact as well as scientific quality. The members in strategic research panels include both national and international experts in science and societal relevance.

Additionally, the Research Council of Finland offers funding that cannot be applied for annually or that can be applied for by a research organisation. These include Centre Of Excellence funding, Academy Professor funding, funding to strengthen university research profiles, Finnish Flagship funding, research infrastructure funding and international co-funded programmes. In these, the review process is adapted to the objectives of each call.

The review processes for different funding instruments are described in the call text, in the review guidelines or on the funding instrument’s dedicated web page.

In international calls, such as ERA-NET joint calls, the review process may be carried out outside the Research Council of Finland in accordance with the agreement for the international network of research funders.

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