Future Challenges in the Nordics receives 449 applications

Head of Research Christer Kuvaja was pleasantly surprised by the amount of applications to Future Challenges in the Nordics. (Emma Tuominen/SLS)

The first stage of the application process to the research programme Future Challenges in the Nordics – People, Culture and Society ended on February 15th. A total of 449 applications were submitted.

Of the applications, 262 came from Sweden and 187 from Finland, since the project leader must have an affiliation to a university, Higher Education Institution or a research institute in Sweden or Finland. However, all the Nordic countries were represented among the project group participants.

“We expected to receive 100–200 applications. It came as a pleasant surprise, both for me and for all the participating financiers, that as many as 449 applications were submitted,” said Christer Kuvaja, Head of Research.

According to Kuvaja, the large amount of applications indicates that future societal challenges in the Nordic region is a theme that engages many researchers and is important to study.

“Based on a quick review of all applications, questions about covid-19 and pandemics as well as the climate, AI, the elderly, children and young people, are the ones that dominate.”

Evaluation process

The programme’s steering group is currently reviewing the applications, in order to make sure that they fall within the purpose of the research programme. The approved applications will then be evaluated by a panel, which consists of external experts with a wide knowledge in culture and society.

“The key criteria for the assessment of the applications are the academic quality of the research content, the feasibility of the project, the potential benefit for society and the leadership-qualifications of the project leader,” explained Kuvaja.

The steering group will make the final decision on which 30 projects will continue to stage two, where they will submit a full application. The project leaders will be informed about the decisions by the end of April.

Stage two runs from May 5th to June 18th 2021.