The Research Programs of the Academic Medical Center Helsinki (covering all academic research at the Meilahti Campus) will be selected in this call for the period of 2019-2024. Research Programs provide the critical mass to combine basic, translational and clinical research with dynamic use of space, equipment and resources. Thus, they form a synergistic platform for topclass scientific discoveries.

The call is open for the researchers to whom the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki has granted the status of a Principal Investigator as well as for clinical researchers within the Helsinki University Hospital. Also postdoctoral researchers, who do not yet have the status of Principal Investigator but are in the process of applying for funding to start their own research groups, are eligible to apply. Overall, the forthcoming evaluation will put a special focus on the career progress of junior scientists in the Research Programs. The Research Programs will be selected with the help of an external evaluation by an international Scientific Advisory Board. The new Research Programs will start in January 2019 (for a maximum period of 6 years) and operate in the premises of the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital.

The call will have the following steps:

  1. Principal Investigators/associated clinical researchers/postdoctoral researchers are invited to express their interest in joining a Research Program and to propose themes for the new Programs starting in 2019. The call will be open from September 1 to October 1, 2017. Researchers are requested to fill in an electronic ‘Expression of interest’ form (the form will open on September 1 at 6 am and close on October 1 at midnight). The form includes basic information of the current position, CV, funding, and research interests.
  2. Each Research Program will have a Program Leader, who is responsible for the scientific direction of the program and for creating a productive research environment together with the other Principal Investigators of the Program. Those Principal Investigators who are interested in becoming Program Leaders are requested to indicate so in the e-form, and describe their vision for a new Research Program.
  3. The Program Leaders should form Programs with typically 5 to 10 Principal Investigators. These numbers are not binding, but the translational nature of all programs is essential, basic science programs should have clinical investigators and vice versa.
  4. After the call period, the data collected through the first stage of the call will be distributed to those who have expressed an interest in joining the Research Programs. The potential Program Leaders then start forming consortia with the researchers with similar scientific goals. To facilitate the organization of the Programs, the Faculty of Medicine will organize a “Research Programs day” on October 25, 2017. Once the final structure of the Research Program has been agreed upon, the Program Leader with its researchers prepare the Research Program Proposal including the scientific goals, vision, tentative budget, infrastructure and group descriptions. Also, support for career development of junior scientists and plan for participation in both basic and doctoral training should be described. The deadline for the Research Program proposal is December 15, 2017. The details of the guidelines will be published later. All Research Program proposals together with the names of potential Program Leaders will be published by the end of the year.
  5. Applications will be evaluated by an international Scientific Advisory Board, and a site visit will be conducted in Spring 2018. In addition to the Programs, the Principal Investigators will be evaluated individually in the context of the particular program proposal. Career stage will be taken into account in the evaluation, and a balanced combination of basic, translational and clinical scientists will be considered in the selection of Research Programs. The results are expected to be announced in May-June 2018.
  6. After the approval of the new Research Programs, space allocations will be negotiated with the Faculty of Medicine and Helsinki University Hospital. The aim is to allocate the space for the entire Research Program in one physical unit, whenever possible.

SUMMARY AND TIMELINE

 

2017
September 1 to October 1: ‘Expression of interest’ by the Principal Investigators/clinical researchers/postdoctoral researchers to join a Research Program.
October 1 to December 15: Organisation of the Research Programs and formulation of their
themes, scopes, and structure.
December 15: Deadline for program applications

2018
January: International Scientific Advisory Board receives the application documents
May: Site visit
Summer: Results and space negotiations

2019
January: Start of new Research Programs
Contact: Hannu Sariola, Vice Dean of Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki (hannu.sariola@helsinki.fi), and Riikka Palonkorpi, Senior Advisor in Research Administration (riikka.palonkorpi@helsinki.fi)