Strategic Research Council invites applications under programmes focusing on water and democracy

18 Jan 2024

The Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Research Council of Finland is launching two new strategic research programmes. The six-year programmes start in late 2024.

The programmes are:

  • Water for Welfare, Security and Peace
  • Democracy for the Future.

In the two programmes combined, the SRC is prepared to fund 9–10 projects with a total of some 28 million euros during the first three-year period. The progress of the projects will be reviewed at midterm, after which the SRC will decide on the continuation of funding.

The calls for applications have two stages. The first stage (letters of intent) opens on 18 January 2024 and closes on 21 March 2024. The first stage is open to all eligible applicants. The projects invited to the second stage will be selected in May 2024, according to a preliminary schedule. The SRC will take decisions on the projects to be invited to the second stage based on the first-stage international peer review.

Strategic research funding is intended for extensive, multidisciplinary research consortia composed of several organisations that carry out research with an emphasis on active interaction and engagement with knowledge users. Strategic research strengthens societal problem-solving capacity and improves the knowledge base of decision-making.

From the projects to be funded, the SRC expects not only excellent research but also active interaction between knowledge producers and knowledge users, covering the entire life cycle of the research, in order to disseminate high-quality research to knowledge users across society. Guidelines and terms on consortium structure, composition and activity as well as more detailed application instructions are available in the call texts.

Unlike in previous years, funding will no longer be granted for projects to be carried out at sites of research outside Finland. However, Finnish sites can apply for funding for international cooperation and mobility in SRC projects, in accordance with the funding terms and conditions of the Research Council of Finland (PDF).The SRC encourages applicants to plan international cooperation to promote understanding and societal solutions based on the best scientific knowledge in Finland.

Two societally relevant research themes

The SRC programme Water for Welfare, Security and Peace (WaWe) focuses on water and water resources as a societal issue. Water is an essential element in welfare, security of supply and sustainable development.

According to Anu Kaukovirta, Chair of the Strategic Research Council, water is a basic necessity for life and potentially a major instrument of power in the future: The theme opens up a possibility to explore the importance of water in a variety of contexts, global and national, under both different types of disturbances and stable conditions. The SRC looks forward to hearing the perspectives of the research community on this topic.”

A key objective of the SRC programme Democracy for the Future (DEMOC) is to strengthen democracy, inclusion and trust in society. Kaukovirta added: “We will fund projects that can help in building the knowledge base to strengthen democracy and address the challenges it faces.”

The democracy theme was only finalised in the Finnish Government’s decision in late 2023. Kaukovirta said: “The Council understands that the situation is challenging for applicants, and that consortia have limited time to prepare for the application. However, we believe that the topicality and significance of the topic will appeal to the research community and inspire them to apply for funding for societally significant research.”

The call texts are available in English, Finnish and Swedish.

A call info webinar will be held on Tuesday 30 January 2024 at 10.00–11.30. The webinar will be held in Finnish, but questions can also be asked in English.

Sign up for the webinar

Inquiries and more information

Call text: SRC programme Water for Welfare, Security and Peace (WaWe)

Call text: SRC programme Democracy for the Future (DEMOC)

Questions about the call:

Research Council of Finland Communications
Tiina Salo, Communications Coordinator
+358 295 335 084

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