The University of Helsinki receives the largest amount of competitive research funding of all Finnish universities. Its research funding consists of basic funding from the government, competitive external funding and the University’s own funds. University researchers have successfully acquired external research funding, which reflects the high quality of research. For example, the University receives approximately a third of all research funding granted by the Academy of Finland. The most significant external research funders for the University are the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes), the European Union and various foundations. NordForsk is one of the most important Nordic funders.
University of Helsinki researchers submit approximately one thousand research funding applications to the Academy of Finland every year. In 2013 the Academy granted 116 million euros, or 35% of all its funding, to the University.
The most prestigious funding instrument of the Academy of Finland is centre of excellence funding. A centre of excellence is a research community at the top of its field which reinvents research, develops creative research environments and trains new talented researchers for the Finnish academic and business sectors. Such units are expected to produce scientific breakthroughs.
Other important forms of funding include Academy professorships and the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro).
Academy professors and FiDiPro professors
The Academy professor funding granted by the Academy of Finland is intended to provide a scholar at the international top of his or her field with the opportunity to focus on full-time scientific research.
The Academy professor is expected to significantly further research and to develop a creative research environment. The duties of the Academy professor also include supervision of theses and dissertations in the professor's field as well as teaching related to his or her research. More than twenty Academy professors are currently working at the University of Helsinki. A list of Academy professors is available on the Academy of Finland website.
The Finland Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro) is a funding programme launched jointly by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) that seeks to recruit international top researchers or Finnish researchers based abroad to Finland for a fixed term. The University of Helsinki hosts approximately ten such FiDiPro professors at a time. A list of the professors is available on the website of the FiDiPro programme.
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, granted approximately 9–16 million euros in funding for research, development and innovation at the University of Helsinki every year in 2010–2013.
University of Helsinki researchers submit an average of 50–60 applications to Tekes every year, of which approximately 30% receive funding. In addition to research and commercialisation projects, Tekes funds strategic research openings as well as, in cooperation with the Academy of Finland, professors and researchers through the FiDiPro programme.
The European Union, and the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation in particular, is the most important international funder of research for the University.
The Horizon 2020 programme was launched in 2014. Its predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), granted a total of about 123 million euros to the University of Helsinki in 2007–2013. More than half of this funding was allocated through funding instruments of the European Research Council (ERC). University of Helsinki researchers submit an average of 200 applications to the European Commission every year, of which approximately 20% receive funding.
Foundations grant approximately 20 million euros to the University's researchers and research projects every year. In addition, foundations provide personal grants, often to support junior researchers and doctoral students.
During the past few years, two NordForsk-funded centres of excellence have operated at the University of Helsinki:
The Nordic Centre of Excellence: Justice through education in the Nordic countries (2013-2018)
Nordic Centre of Excellence: The Nordic Welfare State – Historical Foundations and Future Challenges (NordWel) (2007-2012)
The University allocates its own research funding to researchers using several different financial instruments.
The University’s own research funding totalled approximately 40 million euros. This sum consists of both basic government funding and profits from the University’s assets.
In terms of euros, the largest types of funding are three-year research grants, starting packages for new professors and travel grants for researchers. In addition, research is supported through strategic funding, funding allocated based on research evaluations as well as University funding for research infrastructures. The University of Helsinki Funds provides discipline-specific grants for research projects and research work in addition to other forms of funding.
The University allocates its own funding with the aim of increasing future competitiveness and to support individuals and projects not funded by other sources.