The University of Helsinki is the leading Finnish recipient of the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding
The University of Helsinki has received more funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme than any other Finnish university. More than 40 projects have been funded. In terms of its population size, Finland is the sixth largest recipient of Horizon 2020 funding among EU countries.

In the FlyHigh researcher exchange programme, entomologists, botanists as well as engineers in companies that produce fly protein have combined their knowledge. The programme participants come from Spain, South Africa, Serbia and Finland.

The purpose is to increase information about the diversity of flies and host plants as well as the life cycle of larvae. New species can also be found for the mass production of flies and for replacing soy as feed for poultry and fish.

FlyHigh is one example of University of Helsinki research that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. And it’s not the only one.

In the EPoS project, coordinated by the Newcastle University, nine European universities, including the University of Helsinki, have joined forces to establish why a fatty liver causes fatty liver disease in some individuals but not in everyone. The aim is to find means to diagnose the illness and develop a biological model.

The OpenAIRE2020 project develops open access to research results. Coordinated by the University of Athens, this project initially aims to build a Europe-wide network of digital archives and later to create an infrastructure suitable for sharing research knowledge.

The average amount of project funding totals just under 500,000 euros

In total, the University of Helsinki secured 17.85 million euros of funding from the beginning of 2014 to October 2015 according to the Horizon 2020 report published by Tekes (only available in FInnish) the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

This means that the University of Helsinki is the leading Finnish recipient of Horizon 2020 funding. Aalto University comes second, only slightly behind with 17.23 million euros.

Intended for basic research, the European Research Council’s funding was granted from the Horizon programme to eight projects in February 2016. The University of Helsinki again tops Finnish rankings.

The University of Helsinki’s funding is divided among 40 different projects, which means that the average funding granted to a project is about 450,000 euros. Compared to funding decisions on average, the amount is fairly small, says Floora Ruokonen, head of research funding services at the University.

“This is partly due to the nature of the projects. But we do encourage researchers to apply for larger amounts,” Ruokonen says.

Towards better success rate

Ruokonen is also concerned about the success rate of applications. While Horizon funding was on average granted to 13.8% of applicants, the success rate of Finnish universities is considerably lower at 8.7%. The University of Helsinki is again the leading Finnish university, with a success rate of 11.6%.

“A low success rate is a bad thing because it means a lot of time is wasted on applications,” Ruokonen points out.

The EU’s Horizon 2020 is the largest source of international research funding for the University of Helsinki. However, its total value is clearly below that of funding received from the Academy of Finland and other Finnish sources. All in all, the European Union accounts for approximately 10% of the University of Helsinki’s external research funding. The University aims to increase the amount of international research funding in the future.

Finland receives four euros for every three euros it invests

Finnish universities, research institutes and companies received a total of more than 200 million euros of research funding from the Horizon 2020 programme for 479 different projects. Of this total amount, the share for universities was 69.5 million euros.

The amount granted to Finnish recipients exceeds Finland’s share of Horizon 2020 funding by a rate of 1.33. In other words, Finland received four euros for every three euros it invested in Horizon. In relation to the population size of EU countries, Finland was the sixth largest recipient of Horizon 2020 funding. Denmark was the only Nordic country to fare better.