| 19.08.2021

Funding to a record number of demanding Hanken research projects

Research funding is increasingly granted to large, multidisciplinary consortia in which researchers from several universities, but also other societal actors participate. Researchers at Hanken have actively applied for funding for such projects, and in the spring of 2021, a record number of researchers at the university received highly welcomed news from the funders.

“The projects that have been granted funding are mainly so called research, development and innovation projects financed by big donours. These projects also have a remarkable impact on the society at large both in Europe and globally,” Jaana Kokkonen, research liaison officer at Hanken tells.

Several of the projects that received funding are in the field of humanitarian and social logistics. Assistant professor Anna Aminoff (Norwegian Research Council), associate professor and director of HUMLOG Institute Wojciech Piotrowicz (Norwegian Research Council and Horizon2020), and assistant professor and deputy director of HUMLOG Diego Vega (Danish Red Cross) were all granted funding.

Funding was also granted to two large projects by Business Finland. One of them is led by associate professor of accounting Hanna Silvola and the other by associate professor in management and organization Martin Fougère and assistant professor at the same department Emma Nordbäck.

Ari Hyytinen
Ari Hyytinen

Other researchers who, together with their research groups, received funding are associate professor in accounting Henrik Höglund (Peter Wallenberg Foundation), professor in economics Ari Hyytinen (Academy of Finland), project leader in management and organization Charlotta Niemistö (JPI MYBL), and PhD in Management and Organization Kaisa Penttilä (ERDF).

Research on innovation competitions 

The project led by Martin Fougère and Emma Nordbäck starts in September. They will investigate how the results of various innovation competitions that have become increasingly popular can be implemented. The research group also includes Ville Takala, currently a researcher at UCL in London, and postdoctoral researcher Caroline Sundgren.

“Business Finland, that funds our project, has increasingly started to follow a challenge driven strategy. Innovation competitions are also arranged by various ministries and Sitra. Hackathons have been organised at Hanken. However, no research has yet been conducted about how innovation competitions should be run and what kind of support is needed for these innovations to be implemented," Nordbäck says.

Emma Nordbäck och Caroline Sundgren
Emma Nordbäck and Caroline Sundgren

The project will not only focus on those who organise competitions, but also on the companies and teams that participate in them. 

In order to obtain the funding, the teams that submitted the best proposals were invited to Business Finland to pitch their projects. Thereafter, the teams got suggestions from experts on how they could further improve their applications.

Academic ambition and concrete benefit in the same project

The expert evaluation was more traditional when Ari Hyytinen applied for funding from the Academy of Finland for a project examining the efficiency of public investments. The researchers were not expected to answer guided thematic questions in the application – something that is increasingly the case.

Hyytinen thinks that it is a positive thing if research manages to be academically ambitious at the same time as proposing something that is of real benefit to society. Furthermore, he welcomes that both researchers and funding agencies participate in formulating the research questions.

“Many different actors in society have information about important social and economic challenges. In some cases the researchers who apply for funding define the research questions, but sometimes it is a good solution to let non-academics define the questions that the researchers should answer in order to solve societal problems," Hyytinen states.

The project also includes the researchers Kirsi-Maria Halonen, University of Lapland, Otto Toivanen, Aalto University and Janne Tukiainen, University of Turku.

Clear guidelines when the autumn starts

Jaana Kokkonen and her colleague, research liaison officer Malin Wikstedt who support the researchers in preparing applications, continuously inform the researchers about various funding opportunities.

“New calls are opened all the time, among others within the framework of Horizon Europe. Now it is also a good time to plan projects for the long run, since Horizon Europe has published the guidelines and calls for their research programmes for the coming two years," Kokkonen brings to the fore.

Text and photo: Maria Svanström