The Academy of Finland's Research Council for Biosciences, Health, and the Environment has announced the allocation of nearly 41 million euros in funding for 73 research projects, comprising a total of 91 subprojects. With an application success rate of 18.5 percent, the Academy Project funding aims to stimulate the advancement and diversity of Finnish science while enhancing the quality, impact, and international collaboration of research.
The funding provided through the Academy Project is intended for the establishment of research teams and covers various research expenses. It is granted to Finnish universities or research organizations that manage the utilization of the funding on behalf of the Academy Project. The duration of the funding is set at four years, during which the Academy of Finland monitors the impact of the research being conducted.
During the evaluation process, the Research Council for Biosciences, Health, and the Environment assesses applications based on scheme-specific criteria and guidelines. The primary criterion for Academy Project funding is the scientific excellence of the proposed research, with funding decisions being determined by the outcomes of international peer review.
In the recent application round of autumn 2022, the Research Council received a substantial number of high-quality and well-written applications from various disciplines. Among the applications, 43 percent received an excellent rating of 5 or 6, but due to limited resources, only 41 percent of those outstanding applications could be funded. Professor Jussi Kukkonen, the Chair of the Research Council, highlighted the rigorous competition and emphasized the importance of attention to detail in securing funding. He noted that many excellent applications were not funded this year, often due to minor weaknesses in the implementation plan or insufficiently defined research hypotheses.
The allocated funding was evenly distributed across the disciplines represented by the Research Council. Kukkonen expressed satisfaction with the diverse range of projects that received funding, encompassing both fundamental and applied research, as well as highly interdisciplinary research endeavors.
While the Research Council does not mandate direct applicability or impact for Academy Projects, it supports both high-quality fundamental research and the potential applied research stemming from it. The Council found that all funded projects contained a significant element of basic research. Kukkonen also encouraged applicants to consider the future implications of their research, even in basic research projects, as it helps to identify potential directions and outcomes.
The Research Council received a substantial number of consortium applications (68), of which 16 were granted funding. In evaluating consortium applications, particular attention was given to the added value that could be gained from collaboration between subprojects. Kukkonen praised the consortium applications that emphasized the importance of seeking new perspectives and partners in research, as it reflects a desire to expand beyond individual comfort zones and fosters the development of researchers' skills and collaborative networks.
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