In the Academy of Finland, funding decisions are made by the decision-making bodies:
- research councils
- Finnish Research infrastructure Committee
- Strategic Research Council (SRC)
The decision-making bodies attend to their tasks within their respective domains, as is laid down in the Act on the Academy of Finland.
The Academy’s funding decisions are made after a presentation in the decision meetings. The presentation process is a decision-making method used in public administration, where the presenting official collects the material used in decision-making, assesses the facts and forms their own opinion as the basis for their presentation, prepares the decision documents and presents the decision proposals to the competent decision-makers. The presenting official also sees to that the decision is implemented. The presenting official is usually a science adviser or programme manager.
Decision preparation is based on the review reports and panel rankings. Additionally the preparation considers the document that presents the Academy of Finland’s criteria for research funding decisions and other policies that guide the Academy’s activities.
The decisions on applications for Academy Project, Academy Research Fellow, Postdoctoral Researcher and Clinical Researcher funding submitted in the September 2019 call will be made in two stages. In the first stage, applications that have received rating 1–4 in the review will receive a negative decision at the discretion of the research council concerned. The decision on applications for Clinical Researcher funding with the rating 1–3 is made in the first stage. The decision notification is emailed to the applicant immediately after the decision is made. Therefore these applicants receive the information on the decision faster than before. The rest of the applications will be processed at the second stage. The second-stage funding decisions may be either positive or negative.
Thematic programmes, such as Academy programmes and strategic research programmes, usually have two-stage calls. In the first stage, the applicants submit a letter of intent including a short plan of intent. The decision-making body decides on which applicants are included in the second call stage based on the letter of intent and the potential review. Others will receive a negative funding decision. The applicants selected to the second stage are requested full applications which are then reviewed. The decision-making body makes the funding decisions, that may be either positive or negative, based on the full applications.
In accordance with its strategy, the Academy of Finland’s research funding stresses the importance of the quality and impact of research and the renewal of science. The Strategic Research Council funds solution-oriented and phenomenon-driven research. The projects to be funded 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 a document approved annually by the Board of the Academy of Finland presenting the Academy’s criteria for research funding decisions. The Strategic Research Council has decided to apply the same decision criteria as those applied by the Academy, except to the extent that they differ from the funding principles of the Strategic Research Council.
Additionally, the decision-making bodies have their own criteria and policies on funding decision-making (e.g. different emphases between funding instruments considered in preparing funding decisions). These criteria and policies will be published on the Academy’s website before each call opens.
The Academy decision-making bodies made the funding decisions based on international peer-review reports, application ranking (excluding SRC decision-making), the Academy’s science policy objectives and the decision-making bodies’ own policies. The decision-making bodies have the right to make positive or negative funding decisions regardless of the panels’ application ranking. The justifications for the funding decision are included in the decision notification.
Academy’s science policy objectives
Science policy objectives for funding decision-making accepted by the Academy include
- promoting the internationality of research
- renewal of science and research
- promoting multi- and interdisciplinary research
- observing the special objectives of Academy Programmes
- advancing the research careers of early-career researchers and women
- promoting gender equality in research
- good scientific practice
- promoting open science
- treating research-ethical issues appropriately
- considering principles of sustainable development
- considering principles related to IPRs
- impact beyond academia
- 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
- PI’s and research team’s ability to manage funds granted
- how the project’s researchers are connected to the Finnish scientific community
- potential for undermining trust in the impartiality and independence of the Academy’s operations.
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, the aim is to open up opportunities for scientific breakthroughs and to enhance the renewal of science and research.
In addition to the Academy’s science policy objectives, the decision-making bodies have their own criteria and policies on funding decision-making (e.g. different emphases between funding instruments considered in preparing funding decisions). These criteria and policies will be published on the Academy’s website before each call opens.
Policies of Research Council for Biosciences, Health and the Environment
Policies of the Research Council for Culture and Society
Policies of the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering
Funding Principles of the Strategic Research Council
- Criteria for funding decisions 2018–2019 (11 Apr 2019, in Finnish) (PDF)
- Criteria for funding decisions 2018–2019 (20 Sep 2018, in Finnish) (PDF)
- Criteria for funding decisions 2018–2019 (18 Apr 2018, in Finnish) (PDF)
- Criteria for funding decisions 2017–2018 (24 Aug 2017, in Finnish) (PDF)
- Criteria for funding decisions 2017–2018 (20 Apr 2017, in Finnish) (PDF)
- Criteria for funding decisions 2016–2017 (23 Feb 2017, in Finnish) (PDF)
- Criteria for funding decisions 2015–2016 (14 Dec 2015, in Finnish) (PDF)
You can find the previous funding criteria for the Strategic Research Council on the Strategic Research Council’s website.