Basis for funding decisions

The Research Council of Finland is committed through its strategy to promoting excellent, responsible and high-impact research across all scientific disciplines. Our aim is to ensure that society can make the best possible use of the results of the research we fund.

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) is an independent body established within the Research Council of Finland that funds solution-oriented and phenomenon-driven research. The projects to be funded by the SRC must have societal relevance and impact and be of a high scientific standard. Interaction with society is of key importance throughout the projects’ funding periods.

The preparation of funding decisions follows the criteria for research funding decisions approved annually by the Research Council of Finland Board. The SRC has decided to apply the same decision criteria as those applied by the Research Council of Finland, except to the extent that they differ from SRC funding principles.

Our decision-making bodies also have their own criteria and policies for funding decisions (e.g. different emphases between funding instruments). These criteria and policies are published on our website before each call opens.

The decision-making bodies make the funding decisions based on international peer-review reports, application rankings (excl. SRC decision-making), the Research Council’s science policy objectives and the decision-making bodies’ own policies. The bodies have the power to decide whether or not to fund applications, regardless of the ranking of applications made by the panels. The justifications for the funding decision are included in the decision notice.

In principle, the projects we fund must benefit Finnish research, Finnish society and international collaboration. Ambitious research projects that aim at achieving new breakthroughs always carry a risk of failure. Such a risk is not however an obstacle to being granted funding. While being aware of the risks involved, our aim is to open up opportunities for scientific breakthroughs and to advance the regeneration of science and research.

Our science policy objectives

Our science policy objectives that are taken into account in decision-making include the following:

  • promoting the internationality of research
  • advancing scientific renewal
  • promoting multi- and interdisciplinary research
  • supporting special objectives of Academy Programmes (applies to funding decisions on Academy Programmes)
  • advancing the research careers of early-career researchers and women
  • promoting responsible conduct of science
    • supporting good scientific practice (e.g. treating research ethics appropriately)
    • considering principles related to IPRs
    • promoting gender equality and nondiscrimination
    • implementing and advancing open science
    • considering objectives of sustainable development
    • considering the principles of responsible researcher evaluation
  • broader impact of research
    • promoting the utilisation of scientific research
    • promoting research that is connected to innovation activities
  • implementing more comprehensive research programmes
  • supporting Centres of Excellence.

Other factors that are considered include the following:

  • principal investigator’s ability and experience in terms of project management
  • demonstrated ability of the PI and research team to manage research funds
  • how the project’s researchers are connected to the Finnish scientific community
  • potential for undermining trust in the impartiality and independence of the Research Council’s operations.

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