Call for proposals: Smart, Green and Sustainable Growth

Application period: Mon 03.10.2016 - Thu 16.02.2017

Tekes's "Smart, Green and Sustainable Growth" call for applications is directed at joint projects between companies and research organisations, as well as research organisations' multidisciplinary public research projects networked with companies, grouped around the themes of the bio- and circular economy, energy and cleantech. The aim is to speed up the efficient utilisation of new knowledge and thereby boost the competitiveness of Finnish industry.

For whom?

  1. for joint projects between companies and research institutions

    Business-driven combined projects with a common goal, which may be accompanied by parallel projects involving several companies. A project by a research organisation can be run in parallel with enterprise projects if it supports the enterprises' research topics and its results are applicable on a broad basis. Read more about general research funding criteria, terms and conditions here.

  2. for research organisations

    Interdisciplinary research projects by research organisations, involving the creation of new competencies and solutions meeting the identified research and innovation needs of companies. The aim is to conduct public-sector research projects whose results broadly benefit the private sector.

What kind of research will we fund?

We fund research projects that create significant new, global business advantage in the bioenergy, circular economy, energy and cleantech sectors. The projects must be based on recognised business models, promote renewal in the area in question and create innovations.

Projects must be planned in close cooperation with businesses, taking account of the research needs they have recognised. The research question must address the following aspects in particular:

  • What academic, innovation-based, market-led or procedure-related challenges identified by the applicant will the research renew radically?
  • How will societal changes be taken into account in the research (e.g. climate agreements, demand for material and resource efficiency, demographic changes, the opportunities presented by big data)?

The call for applications has three main themes:

Energy revolution

Under the energy revolution theme, Tekes allocates research funding for the following international joint calls for applications:

We are looking for new joint projects between businesses and research organisations, aimed at creating competitive solutions and international business, under the following temes:

  • New business models that meet the flexible energy system of the future, demand-side management and consumers.

In the areas of joint projects between research organisations and businesses, and public research projects networked with companies, we are seeking projects under the following themes:

  • Integrated solutions for increasing the use of renewable energy (production, storage [electricity, heat, cold], electricity, smart grids, smart control)

In the case of public research projects networked with companies, the applicant must justify the research centeredness of the topic. The companies funding the project must also submit a participation notice where they describe the way in which they will harness the results in their business.

Digital revolution in cleantech

The cleantech theme aims to produce research-based information that will open unforeseen, open-minded options in terms of cleantech businesses' competitive and renewal abilities and growth prospects, while bringing various sectors together. The research should take account of the need for rapid scalability.

Cleantech-themed research topics should be particularly centred around digital solutions that will drive radical changes. The research project should generate new information about consumer-oriented cleantech solutions, particularly in the areas of the sharing economy, platform economy and blockchains as far as they are linked to cleantech.

This theme may include research on monitoring and measurement, producing solutions that meet the needs of various collaborative cleantech needs or maintenance services.

The research projects may be joint projects between companies and research organisations or public research networked with companies.

Solutions renewing bioeconomy and circular economy business

Within the bioeconomy and circular economy, we are looking for solutions to meet emerging global needs and create new business opportunities. Meeting such needs often requires cross-sectoral cooperation and the creation of new networks among researchers and businesses – including internationally. Research should seek to solve the following challenges in particular:

  • Traceability of secondary flows of raw materials used in the bioeconomy and circular economy
  • The consumer of the future as a renewer of food production and business
  • Emerging changes in the regulatory environment that affect the business environment, and new solutions enabled by such changes
  • Enhancing blue growth through new cross-sectoral cooperation
  • Research needs linked to the roadmaps of the ecosystems included in the "Business spearheads and ecosystems in the bioeconomy" call under the BioNets programme.

Research funding may also be applied for with respect to other topics, but the strong need for and relevance of the topics must be carefully argued from the viewpoints of the global need for the expected solution and the renewal of the participating companies' business.

Project planning

Projects should be planned in close cooperation with enterprises, while taking account of their views and needs. When planning the beneficiary of a project, you should take note of the entire value network required. Participation notices by businesses will be an important element in the project evaluation process. Tekes will assess the impact of the research project in applying expertise to the creation of new solutions and evaluate companies' potential to make use of such innovations.

All businesses participating in projects must answer the following questions in their participation notices:

  • What are the most important expertise needs identified by the business that will ensure its ability to reinvent itself and make it competitive internationally in the field?
  • How will the outcomes of the research project increase the business's expertise?
  • How will the business make use of the outcomes of the research project in practice?

If necessary, Tekes will hold a meeting about project participation, based on the participation notice submitted by the company. Businesses' participation notices must be submitted to Tekes by 16 February 2017 by 11.59 pm at the latest.

In the case of cross-scientific public research projects, the financial contribution by businesses must amount to at least 10% of the project's approved budget.

International co-operation on the projects is important. Strong international cooperation fosters the capacity to expand the expertise and insights involved in research and international business activities.

Tekes requires open-access scientific publishing

Tekes is committed to the objectives and approaches of open access science and research. We aim to make publications and the non-confidential information resulting from public research readily available for further use. Open-access publishing promotes the wider use of research results for research and commercial purposes.

Publications produced through research projects funded by Tekes must be published as open-access documents available to all, if necessary. The project research plan must include a publication plan which takes account of open-access publishing. We recommend that you consult your own organisation's guidelines on open-access publishing.

Meetings at the project planning stage and applications for funding

We will be delighted to discuss projects at the planning stage during the application period. In particular, applicants planning industry-driven, joint projects should contact a Tekes expert at the earliest possible stage.

Tekes will provide research organisations with opportunities to discuss their projects. We will also be delighted to discuss topical research needs and views, for example at the briefing event on the call for applications to be held in Helsinki on 2 November 2016 (Team Finland building, Porkkalankatu 1; videoconferencing is also possible) and in other Tekes events.

Please email a free-form, 1–2 page summary of the goals and realisation methods of the research project to kestavaa(at) by 30 November 2016. Tekes will contact everyone who submitted a summary to set up the meetings that will take place in December 2016 or January 2017.

Submit your full application to Tekes via the online service by 11.59 p.m. on Thursday 16 February 2017. Select "Kestävää 2017" from the menu item, "Is the application related to a Tekes programme or theme?" located in the basic information section of the application form.

Your application must be sufficiently detailed to enable us to assess it. To guarantee an impartial and effective evaluation process, applications lodged after the deadline will not be included in the joint evaluation process and will not be granted funding under this call for applications.

Funding decisions will be made in April 2017.

Further details and events

Tekes will hold a briefing on the "Sustainable business" call for application on 2 November 2016 in the Team Finland building (Porkkalankatu 1, Helsinki). Tekes also welcomes remote participation in the event. Further information about this and other related Tekes events is available in Tekes's event calendar.

Further information

Kimmo Kanto
Director, Large companies and public organisations
Tel. +358 (0)29 50 55852
kimmo.kanto (at)

Heikki Aro, Senior Adviser
Tel. +358 (0)29 50 36150
heikki.aro (at)

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