Responsible science at the Research Council of Finland

Accountability is an integral part of our activities. We fund high-quality, high-impact and innovative research in a responsible manner.

In the context of responsible science, we take into account the following aspects: research ethics, equality and nondiscrimination, open science, sustainable development objectives, and principles of responsible researcher evaluation. By considering these, we aim to strengthen the quality and impact of research.

Responsible research funding

At the heart of the Research Council of Finland’s work is to fund high-quality, innovative, responsible and high-impact research in all fields of science and research and to ensure that society can make the best possible use of the results of the research. Our work to promote sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is realised through our research funding and our research knowledge and expertise.

Our funding decisions are based on the results of international peer review. By offering competitive research funding and science policy expertise, we promote the quality and impact of research and support scientific renewal. Our funding is granted for a fixed term, usually for 4–5 years. Most of the funding we grant supports research at universities.

We work closely with the scientific community, other research funders and various actors in society to strengthen the conditions for science and research, promote the use of research knowledge and identify topical research themes and topics.

We are also an expert on domestic and international science policy issues and collect and analyse data on science and research. The production of high-quality data and analyses supports the use of research-based knowledge in decision-making. By gathering data and making it available, we also support the competence-based reform of Finnish society.

Expert-level research funding creates conditions for the development of Finnish knowledge and know-how in understanding phenomena related to sustainability and accountability.

In addition to facilitating new research knowledge, research funding from the Research Council of Finland has supported the research community in producing new knowledge, nurtured new generations of researchers and created robust international research expertise and cooperation networks in Finland. Since the late 1990s, through national and international cooperation, we have funded large-scale research projects on issues such as climate change, energy systems, biodiversity and sustainable development. Through our own activities and indirectly through the research teams we fund, we have had a global impact on how, for example, the understanding of the different dimensions of climate change has deepened, and how research has helped to find solutions to manage and mitigate it. The research we have funded has also increased Finland’s capacity to take advantage of international research.

We monitor the accountability of funded research through data from scientific reports

From the research projects we fund, we require responsible conduct of research and consideration of the SDGs. We have no role in measuring the footprint of the research or research infrastructures we fund; this is the responsibility of the research organisation, such as a university or research institute.

There is a need to make the monitoring of the impact of research funding more systematic, in particular as regards the monitoring of the SDGs. In our renewed commitment to sustainable development, our stated objective is to put more emphasis on this monitoring.

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