Themes of strategic research programmes are built together in anticipation of the future

10 Oct 2023

Strategic research is concerned with major challenges in Finnish society. How do we solve the wicked problems of our time and build a better future through multidisciplinary research?

Strategic research is carried out in extensive research programmes working in close collaboration with knowledge users. Each programme focuses on a specific societal challenge, or theme.

More effective research programmes through many-voiced theme preparation

Selecting a good theme is central to the relevance of strategic research. SRC programmes typically run for up to six years, which emphasises the importance of the selection. The preparation of the themes is focused not only on a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of science and Finnish society, but also on foresight.

Open interaction and feedback from stakeholders are an essential part of a fruitful preparation of themes. Topical research, changes in Finnish society and open-minded stakeholders that envision different possible futures play a key role here. These support the nine members of the SRC in the critical stages of the preparation. The many-voiced and interactive nature of the preparation process can also be defended on democratic grounds. Building on diverse expertise and different perspectives, the themes of the programmes can be formulated more appropriate for both science and Finnish society.

Seen through many eyes, the picture of the issues that are important for the future of Finnish society becomes more realistic and nuanced. In its preparatory work, the SRC makes use of the most topical foresight reports, but the most recent ideas and observations based on the latest scientific research are not always included in such reports. Scientists and experts from different sectors of society and the business community can provide the most valuable up-to-date understanding of the topics at hand.

Join the theme preparation now

The preparation of themes for the six-year programmes to be launched in 2025 is now beginning with an online survey to gather theme suggestions. After the brainstorming phase, the preparation process moves forward thanks to interactive co-creation, towards a public consultation where the SRC will present the draft themes for consideration and comments. Based on the feedback received at the consultation, the SRC will produce a final theme proposal to be submitted to the Finnish Government in early summer. The research programme calls will be opened after the Government decision, likely in autumn 2024.

What are the challenges facing Finnish society that are worth addressing through long-term, multidisciplinary and interactive research? What themes would carry us through to 2030? Which themes of key importance for the future wellbeing of Finnish citizens are not yet examined in the ongoing SRC programmes?

Take the survey and propose a theme for SRC programmes in 2025.

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