Strategic research is solution-oriented research. This means that it is aimed at finding solutions to the grand challenges and issues faced by society. The research also supports societal policy-making as well as societal functions and services.
Each year, the SRC prepares a proposal on key strategic research themes and priorities to be approved by the Finnish Government. In deciding on the final themes, the Government effectively identifies the most important societal challenges and steers high-quality and long-term research to solve them. The SRC then formulates the final themes into research programmes and funding calls. New themes are discussed and surveyed each year to form a basis for one or several research programmes.
The theme preparation process involves an online survey, thematic workshops, foresight workshops and an open consultation. At the open consultation, researchers and end-users get a chance to comment on and discuss the theme proposals.
After the open consultation, the SRC analyses the feedback. The feedback helps the SRC prepare its theme proposal (each year in June) to be submitted to the Government. The goal is that the Government decides the final themes by autumn, so that the SRC can formulate the research programmes later in the year.
The premise for the SRC is to sift out the following types of themes:
- sufficiently horizontal
- concern several administrative branches
- sufficiently distinct from each other
- key challenges for the future of Finland
- require new knowledge produced by multidisciplinary research.