SRC proposes just green transition as theme for strategic research in 2023

14 Jun 2022

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland proposes that the Finnish Government adopt a single strategic research theme for strategic research programmes to be launched in 2023 (pdf). The SRC has also prepared a cross-cutting priority, which will apply to both programmes that will be opened based on the theme.

The SRC’s proposal for the 2023 theme of strategic research programmes is just green transition.

The proposed cross-cutting priority is resilience.

Strategic research focuses on complex societal challenges

Strategic research contributes to reforming and developing Finnish society in the long term, and supports evidence-informed decision-making in line with society’s changing information needs. Complex challenges require cooperation. A key feature of strategic research is interaction between researchers, policymakers and other societal actors in different sectors throughout the project lifecycle, starting from research design.

Each strategic research programme focuses on a specific theme. In preparing the theme proposal to be submitted annually to the Finnish Government, the SRC identifies and anticipates societal challenges that are important for Finland's future and that require new research data produced across disciplinary boundaries.

Seeking research-based solutions to support a just green transition

In the SRC’s theme proposal, the green transition refers to comprehensive, long-term solutions to ecological sustainability crises. The theme is premised on the societal solutions necessary to break current unsustainable trends and respond to major crises. The SRC emphasises that the transition is not only about the environment and technology, but above all about major societal and cultural changes, both locally and globally.

During the work to prepare a new theme, just green transition clearly emerged as a potential theme in discussions between the SRC and stakeholders. The theme is both important for the future of Finnish society and, at the same time, highly topical. The green transition will require quite comprehensive changes, which emphasises the importance of a just transition. The theme also incorporates key elements of other topics raised during the preparatory phase. The SRC considered it appropriate and relevant content-wise to propose a single theme in order to form a strong and coherent programme package.

The goal is to launch to parallel SRC programmes based on the theme. A similar one theme, two programmes solution was also applied in 2018 with the theme Reform or Wither– Resources and Solutions, under which the SRC opened the soon-to-be-completed programmes Adaptation and Resilience for Sustainable Growth (ADAPT) and Keys to Sustainable Growth (GROWTH).

Resilience needed to ensure stability and functional capacity of society

The proposed cross-cutting priority, resilience, refers to an ability to adapt to changes and crises affecting society in a humane and socially, economically, technologically and ecologically sustainable manner. Reinforcing the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions and society to adapt to changes, to recover from adversity and to discover new opportunities is essential in safeguarding the stability and functional capacity of society in changing circumstances.

Theme preparation puts emphasis on interaction

The scientific community and knowledge users both play a key role in developing new themes for strategic research. Feedback has played an essential role in preparing this theme as well. Topical themes were explored with an open online survey in October–November 2021. The most promising ideas were then further developed in February 2022 in workshops with stakeholders. Stakeholder feedback also supported the SRC’s theme selection and further preparation. Before finalising and submitting the proposal to the Government, the draft theme and priority prepared by the SRC were discussed at a public consultation in late May 2022. The theme preparation also involved foresighting.

The Government will discuss the SRC’s theme proposal and decide the final theme, after which the SRC will be responsible for launching research programmes and opening funding calls based on the theme. The calls are typically opened in late autumn. It is then up to researchers to assess together with knowledge users how best to respond to the challenge presented by the theme by means of multidisciplinary research, and to create new solutions tailored to Finnish society.

Inquiries and more information

  • SRC theme proposal (pdf)
  • Anu Kaukovirta, SRC Chair, tel. +358 40 525 7492, firstname.lastname(at)
  • Pilvi Toppinen, Senior Science Adviser, Division of Strategic Research, Academy of Finland, tel. +358 295 335 064, firstname.lastname(at)

Academy of Finland Communications
Tiina Salo, Communications Coordinator
tel. +358 295 335 084

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