The funding criteria and policies of the Research Council for Culture and Society are rooted in the Academy of Finland’s strategy to support the quality and impact of research and promote the renewal of science. The policies are also based on the Academy’s general criteria for funding decisions.
The high scientific quality of the application is the most important factor influencing the Research Council’s funding decisions. Above all, the Research Council grants funding to applications that have received rating 6 or 5 in the peer review. The Research Council is not able to fund all highly rated applications. The aim of the Research Council is to fund excellent research in the fields it represents.
The renewal of science refers to significant breakthroughs, new theories and concepts, critical assessment and sometimes challenging of previous studies, methodologically innovative approaches as well as using and analysing new kinds of data.
The impact of research comprises both scientific and societal impact.
In preparing and making funding decisions, the Research Council for Culture and Society follows the Academy of Finland’s Equality Plan with a view to promoting equality and non-discrimination.
The Research Council is also committed to promoting the principles of open science and research. The goal is to make research publications, data and material, metadata and methods widely available for reuse.
The Academy Project funding scheme is the most important funding instrument of the Research Council for Culture and Society for promoting the impact and renewal of research. As per its policy, the Research Council spends about half of its available funds on the Academy Projects.
The high scientific quality of the research plan is the most important funding criterion. The Research Council pays special attention to projects that combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or science renewal.
Other factors that are considered include the project’s feasibility, the competence of the principal investigator and the research team, national and international contacts and international mobility.
The PI of an Academy Project must be an advanced researcher who is qualified to head a research team. The Research Council’s policy is that Academy Projects include researchers who are at different stages of the research career, but the focus is on promoting postdoctoral careers. The projects may hire researchers at the doctoral candidate level, but the funding for that career stage should primarily come from the universities.
In recent years, the Research Council has granted 480,000 euros per individual Academy Project for four years. Consortium subprojects have received 280,000 euros for four years.
Academy Research Fellows
In the case of funding for research posts as Academy Research Fellow, the Research Council’s most important funding criteria are the scientific quality of the research plan and the competence of the applicant. The funding is intended to support talented, mid-career researchers. The Research Council pays special attention to applicants who in their research plans combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or science renewal.
The Research Council stresses the importance of mobility, especially international mobility, as part of career-building at the Academy Research Fellow stage. The applicant’s mobility plan should support the implementation of the research plan as well as their professional competence as a researcher.
The Research Council may grant funding to cover the Academy Research Fellow’s research costs during the funding period. The funding is applied for separately for the first three years and the last two years of the Academy Research Fellow funding period. The funding need for the remaining period will be considered case-by-case. The amounts vary depending on the field and the research to be conducted. The Research Council may grant research cost funding to hire support staff, if it the hiring is justified in terms of the implementation of the research plan.
During their funding period, Academy Research Fellows may apply for Academy Project funding, if they are seeking funding for a research team. In such cases, the applications are treated as normal applications for Academy Project funding.
The Research Council considers it to be important to fund scientifically talented and independent early-career researchers at the postdoctoral level, because of the nature and scope of the Research Council's research fields. In the case of funding for research posts as Postdoctoral Researcher, the Research Council’s most important funding criteria are the scientific quality of the research plan and the competence of the applicant.
The Research Council pays special attention to applicants who in their research plans combine high quality with strong academic and societal impact and/or science renewal.
The Research Council stresses the importance of mobility, especially international mobility, already at the postdoctoral stage. The applicant’s mobility plan should support the implementation of the research plan. The Postdoctoral Researcher term is designed to advance the researcher’s professional competence as a researcher.
A favourable funding decision includes funds for salary, justified research costs and mobility funding.