Project monitoring and reporting
Monitoring funded projects and evaluating their impact are part of the statutory duties of the Strategic Research Council (Act on the Research Council of Finland, section 5 b). Monitoring and evaluation of SRC-funded projects is done in accordance with SRC funding principles. The projects must report regularly on their activities both during and after the funding period. A consortium reports on its activities as a whole, not separately for each subproject.
Three objectives have been set for the monitoring:
- encourage projects to regularly review their activities in relation to the joint objectives of the SRC programme and the project’s own impact goals
- compile information on the activities and progress of the projects to support programme activity, cross-programme activities for social impact and communications
- gather information on the research and interaction work of the projects for the mid-term review and the programme evaluation.
The monitoring has four stages:
- state-of-play report at start of project
- annual reporting
- interim report in connection with application for the second period of funding (applies to programmes divided into two funding periods)
- final report upon project completion.
The purpose and contents of these reports are described briefly below.
With the exception of the state-of-play report, the reporting shall be made on a form in the online services (SARA) of the Research Council of Finland. The projects should familiarise themselves with the content of the report form and start compiling the necessary information as soon as the project starts. The reported data will be collected cumulatively on the form throughout the project’s lifetime. The right to report lies with the principal investigator of the consortium, and they may also authorise other persons to report, if necessary. The reporting form is in Finnish and English, but the reporting language may be Finnish, Swedish or English.
The data will be processed by Research Council's officials, members of the SRC, programme directors of SRC programmes and, at the end of the programmes, by Finnish and foreign reviewers who carry out programme evaluations.
SRC-funded research projects will initially produce a state-of-play report. The consortium will draw up the situational picture based on the research and interaction plan submitted at the application stage, and it will serve as a basis for further descriptions and monitoring of activities. The reports will be published on the SRC website.
The purpose of the report is to present the concrete research and social impact objectives of the project. The consortium can use these objectives later to compile contents for impact stories and other information on its activities.
The state-of-play report is written in Finnish and its length is 5–10 pages.
The annual monitoring of projects is primarily carried out through impact stories. A project shall produce 1–5 impact stories, which are supplemented annually throughout the project’s run. The impact stories are reports that describe and discuss the research and interaction carried out in the project in relation to the joint impact objectives of the programme and the project’s own impact targets. The impact stories continue on the descriptions given in the state-of-play reports and serve as a tool for the project to compile and reflect on its activities. We encourage that projects prepare the stories in cooperation between work packages and reflect on the added value of multidisciplinary cooperation in the pursuit of impact.
In addition to impact reports, the information requested in connection with annual reporting includes information on the most important events or other activities related to the impact stories as well as on expert work carried out by project researchers.
Annual reporting shall be completed by 30 November each year. An exception to this is the start-up year of the programme and the years preceding interim reporting and final reporting, in which case projects do not need to submit annual reports.
The SRC encourages SRC-funded consortia to post the impact stories on their own websites. At the end of the programme, the stories or some of them will also be published on the SRC website. The versions to be published will be agreed with the projects.
Most SRC programmes last six years and are divided into two funding periods. In these programmes, the projects can be granted continued funding based on an application submitted at the end of the first funding period and based on an interim review. Projects shall submit an interim report for the interim review.
If the funding of projects operating under a programme is divided into only one funding period, an interim report is not necessary.
The interim report includes information collected and updated in the annual reporting of the project, as well as other information on the project’s resources, activities, results and outputs. The content of the interim report corresponds to the final report (see below), but is functionally different: the interim report facilitates further reporting at a later date.
The approval of the final report marks the end of the project and any related obligations.
The final report focuses on the project for which the SRC has granted funding. The Finnish Act on Discretionary Government Transfers obliges the Research Council of Finland as a government agency to monitor that the research funding it has granted is used for the purpose originally applied for. In selecting and outlining the information to be reported, a suitable guideline is whether the funding granted by the SRC has been an essential prerequisite for the creation of the outputs or results, etc., in question and whether they have emerged as a result of the implementation of the project’s research and interaction plan.
The information provided in the final report will be used in the programme evaluation to be carried out after the end of the programme. If the information is incomplete, the project may be requested to correct or supplement it.