Call for research proposals: International business based on top research on health and wellbeing

Much more effective use should be made of Finland's strong expertise in health and wellbeing, in order to bolster growth, new business opportunities and competitiveness and to improve health and wellbeing on a consumer-oriented basis.
Application period: Mon 29.06.2015 - Wed 18.11.2015

Through the research to be funded in this instance, Tekes will contribute to e.g. achieving the goals of the National Growth Strategy for Research and Innovation Activities in the Health Sector and Tekes' own Bits of Health programme. The aim is to transform Finland into a pioneer in research into health and wellbeing, and in new business creation and investment – a country which activates and creates a framework for the self-motivated improvement of citizens' own capabilities, health and wellbeing.

What kind of research will we fund?

We fund internationally high-level, challenging research projects in the area of health and wellbeing. Such projects should involve the renewal of Finnish expertise and break traditional boundaries. Key elements will include the broad-minded combination of various competencies and deep understanding and regard for the needs of consumers and professionals. We recommend that the research plans take account of the opportunities afforded by digitalisation. Research projects should seek holistic solutions to the promotion of health and wellbeing. They can also anticipate future business opportunities in the changing field of health and wellbeing services.

Any research perspective can be taken on health and wellbeing. Applications should be in a key area of national benefit to Finland, such as:

  • Promoting healthy lifestyles, preventative medicine, exercise and nutrition
  • The transformation from patient to consumer
  • User-oriented approach to the digitalisation of wellbeing services
  • Making use of top health research as a basis for new business: cardiovascular system; the brain, neural research and the mind; cancer
  • Research-based use of major data registers and data warehouses

For whom?

1.     For research organisations

Research projects by research organisations, involving the creation of new competencies and solutions meeting the identified needs of companies and in which the competencies developed can be quickly leveraged as a source of renewal and international growth.

2.     Joint projects with companies and research organisations

Companies and research organisations can create a joint project together. The starting point must be companies' research needs and interests.

How to apply?

The application process will begin when you send a free-form 1–2 page research project summary to the address TekesTerveys2016@tekes.fi. Summaries should be sent by 4 September 2015 at the latest. Tekes will agree sparring sessions with the applicants. These will be scheduled between 11 September and 16 October 2015.

Send the final application to Tekes via the online service by Wed. 18 November 2015. Select "Terveys2016" from the menu item "Is the application related to a Tekes programme or theme?" located in the basic information section of the application form. Funding decisions will be made in February 2016.  Where deemed necessary, Tekes may request statements on the applications from experts within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Academy of Finland.

Main criteria

We fund projects that are challenging and inventive in terms of research – ones that create entirely new innovations in the market – within the field of the call for proposals. Funded research projects must fulfil the following minimum criteria.

  • The project results must have potential for the creation of new, international business.
  • The research plans must be multi-disciplinary, combine various competencies and the research must be implemented through cooperation between key Finnish actors within the research area.
  • The project must involve international cooperation.
  • At least 10 percent of the project's overall funding costs must be provided by the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the research. At least 3 beneficiary companies must commit to the project. The research project can also be a genuine joint project alongside a parallel project by companies.

In addition, the project must comply with Tekes' general research funding criteria. The funding cannot be used for the development of public sector operations.

See the FAQs section for further information and more detailed specifications. These will be updated during the application period.

Further information and new partners

Workshops and networking events related to the application round will be held during the autumn.These events will include brainstorming on key research ideas, and the basis will be provided for the creation of joint research activities between companies and research institutes. All senders of project summaries will be notified of these events by email. The events will also be announced via the website, newsletters and Twitter page (#TekesTerveys2016) of Tekes and the Bits of Health programme.

We will be delighted to answer any questions you may have!

Contact persons

Mirja Kaarlela (available 7.-21.7. and from 27.7.)
p. 050 5577 643

Ella Kylmäaho,  (available 29.6.-7.7. and from 13.8.)
p. 050 5577 685

Kirsi Armanto, (available 29.6.-10.7. and from 10.8.)
p. 050 396 2846

Helena Viita, (available 30.6.-3.7. and from3.8.)
p. 040 149 0520

Harri Ojansuu, (available 29.6.-3.7. and from 3.8.)
p. 040 837 4322

Mervi Pulkkanen,  (available 29.6.-8.7. and from 19.8.)
p. 050 5577 880

Maarit Lahtonen, (available 29.6.-3.7. and from 10.8.)
p. 050 5577 944

Auli Pere, (available from 17.8.)
p. 050 5577 799

Hanna Vuorinen,  (available 29.6.-7.7. and from 10.8.)
p. 050 5577 649

Eija-Riitta Hämäläinen, (available from 27.7.)
p. 040 672 4294

Raimo Pakkanen,  (available 20.-22.7. and from 29.7.)
p. 050 5577 829

Katriina Kippo, EU, Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) (available from 3.8.)
p. 050 5577 683

Outi Tuovila, biobanks, biotechnology (available from 10.8.)
p. 050 339 2542

Jussi Toivonen, biotechnology, research funding (available from 3.8.)
p. 050 5577 826

Teppo Tuomikoski, bioIT, biotechnology, EU funding (available 17.7.-5.8. and from 17.8.)
p. 050 5577 749

Frequently asked questions and answers

What does a multidisciplinary approach mean?

Commercially important innovations are increasingly based on combinations of expertise, technologies and services. Research should fulfil its aims while taking account of the required disciplines, of user groups and of the open-minded combination of various competencies.

What does sparring mean and is it mandatory?

Tekes wants to engage all applicants in discussions of their research ideas before the actual application is submitted. In the sparring session, the customer receives feedback from Tekes' experts on the suitability of the research for the application round. Sparring proved effective in the earlier Health and wellbeing application round and is under further development based on previous feedback. Applicants prepare for sparring by sending Tekes a short (max. 2*A4) summary of their proposed research. Sparring is usually based on a meeting lasting around 30 minutes, but tele/videoconferences are also possible. During sparring we also provide targeted advice on forthcoming EU Horizon 2020 application rounds relevant to each research area.

What do you mean when you say that the results must have international business potential?

The goal of the research should be world-class expertise enabling the creation of exports in the health and wellbeing sector. The potential for internationalisation will be far greater if the product or service benefiting from the research is scalable and not aimed at too limited a market or customer segment in geographical terms.

Are the 10 percent funding contribution by the beneficiaries of the research and the participation of three beneficiary companies mandatory?

The call for applications is aimed at public research with a commercial focus, based on which new expertise and solutions will be created that meet the identified needs of companies. One of the requirements for funding is a commitment by companies to the project content and exploiting the results. One of the application criteria is a minimum 10 percent funding contribution from at least three beneficiary companies. As a minimum requirement, this must be met in all funded projects. However, the 10 percent requirement does not necessarily apply if a genuine joint project between companies and research units is in question.

Beneficiary funding should not be confused with commissioned research carried out for a fee. By public research we mean R&D by a research organisation aimed at raising the general level of scientific knowledge while promoting the creation, development and broad-based leveraging of competencies and whose results are widely disseminated. In return for funding, the beneficiary companies have the opportunity to follow the progress of the research and to negotiate first on possible IPR licensing or acquisition.

When must the company commitments be signed?

Applications and all of their attachments must be submitted to Tekes by midnight on 18 November. In principle, further information or applications which arrive late will not be considered. Each company's notification of participation in a project must be submitted as an attachment to the actual application.

What is a joint project?

Joint projects are related to the same research area and boost the impact of the work. All joint projects should have the same title and a joint high-level project plan, but their funding decisions and follow-up will be separate.

To whom can research funding be granted? What is a research organisation?           

A research organisation means an organisation (such as higher education institutions, research institutions, technology transfer bodies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual cooperation entities) conducting research and disseminating knowledge, irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or method of financing, whose primary goal is to conduct independent basic research, industrial research or experimental development and to disseminate its results by means of teaching, publication or technology transfer. When such an organisation is also engaged in economic activities, separate accounts must be kept of the funding and costs of and the revenue generated by such activities. The enterprises (such as shareholders, members etc.) exercising a controlling interest in such an organisation may not have preferential access to the results generated by it.  In addition, the profits generated by the activities carried out in accordance with the primary goal must be reinvested in the activities

Joint projects by organisations other than research organisations are considered on the basis of Tekes' principles on funding for companies.

What does world-class research mean?

In its application, the applicant must describe the international competitive situation in its research area and its own position within such competition. International networks created during the research could also have a fundamental impact on the internationalisation of the new business enabled by the research.

What does international cooperation mean and how will it impact on funding?

During consideration of the applications, projects which involve the creation of new collaborative networks between international centres of excellence will be favoured. Tekes' normal share of funding for research projects is 60 percent of the approved costs. In projects involving broad-based and genuine international cooperation, Tekes' share is 70 percent. To be eligible for the 70 percent funding level, a project must include a joint project plan alongside an international research partner and/or at least 2.0 person-years of researcher mobility for the purpose of research work and at least 5.0 person-years of multi-disciplinary research in the home country.

Applicants are encouraged to make use of the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme. In this – the world's largest research and innovation programme – solutions are being sought to the challenges facing Europe and grants can be obtained for far more market-oriented activities than those funded by national sources. Tekes can also fund preparations for a Horizon project as part of another Tekes-funded project, if the objective is e.g. to extend or continue a national project into an international, collaborative one.

Cross-cutting themes for 2016–2017 include personalised medicine and healthcare, clinical research, ageing and ICT solutions promoting health and wellbeing. The preliminary focus areas of individual calls for applications are as follows:

  • Understanding the background factors affecting health, wellbeing and diseases
  • Preventative healthcare
  • New and more-efficient care methods and health technology
  • Healthy ageing and the supporting ICT solutions
  • The production and utilisation of health information
  • Development of healthcare

Please contact horisontti2020@tekes.fi to find out more about the themes of the 2016–2017 calls for applications!

When will the workshops and networking events occur and who can participate?

Workshops and networking events related to the call for applications will be arranged in August–October and announced via the websites, bulletins and Twitter (#TekesTerveys2016) pages of Tekes and the Bits of Health programme. These events are open to anyone interested in the themes in question. Places will filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

How and when should the purchasing method be taken into account in the application and research plan?

Applicants must abide by the Act on Public Contracts when seeking public funds. In practice, account should be taken of this in the planning stage if the value of individual goods or service purchases for the project exceeds EUR 30,000.

What are the key dates for the call for applications?

4.9. deadline for research summary
11.9.–16.10. sparring sessions based on the summaries
18.11. application deadline
19.11.–17.2. processing and evaluation of applications within Tekes
February 2016 funding decisions

When will the research application round after this one begin?

The next health and wellbeing research funding application round will kick off by the summer of 2016. At that point, research funding for 2017 will be announced.