New momentum for the Finnish RDI system – parliamentary working group sets objectives for the allocation of R&D funding
In its final report, the Parliamentary Working Group on Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) sets objectives for the allocation of research and development funding. In addition to its proposals on funding, the working group makes recommendations related to strengthening the management of the RDI system, increasing the availability of R&D skills and labour force, advancing cooperation, making strategic choices at the national level, assessing the effectiveness of R&D funding and developing a favourable operating environment for research and innovation.
The working group’s work is based on the Act on Research and Development Funding, which entered into force on 1 January 2023 and which will lead to a significant increase in the State’s R&D funding in 2024–2030.
In its report, the working group emphasises that the RDI system and R&D funding must be developed in a comprehensive and balanced manner over the long term. Predictable long-term funding would ensure high-quality, effective research and development work and encourage all actors in the system to remain committed and keep up their investments.
“The Parliamentary RDI Working Group has shown strong commitment in its work, and the outcome of that work is now visible in this report. The Act on Research and Development Funding and the tax deduction for R&D activities entered into force at the beginning of this year, and the funding plan now submitted to the Prime Minister outlines the parties’ shared views on how to develop the RDI system as funding increases. The objective is to ensure that public R&D funding is used effectively, as this will lead to stronger productivity growth and sustainable economic growth while bringing new knowledge and education to Finland. In the midst of crises, this unanimity on the importance of research, development and innovation gives us hope that Finland will emerge even stronger than before as we move towards the future,” says Matias Mäkynen, Member of Parliament and Chair of the working group.
In its report, the working group highlights the importance of strengthening the high-level leadership and coordination of research and innovation policy in Finland to enable the comprehensive development of the RDI system. With this in mind, the working group proposes measures to strengthen the structures, resourcing and position of the Research and Innovation Council. At the same time, RDI knowhow and policy should play a more important role in Finland’s international country brand work.
A shortage of skilled labour and the availability of R&D workforce pose a significant challenge to the Finnish RDI system. The targeted growth in the volume and ambition of RDI activities will require a significant increase in the level of skills and education. Against this background, more investments should be made in the highest levels of education, and efforts should be made to increase the overall number of R&D staff and the share of PhD-level experts working in R&D. Achieving the desired growth in the volume and ambition of RDI activities will not be possible without increasing skills-based immigration and developing the immigration services needed to support it.
The working group’s assessment stresses the importance of strengthening cooperation between the various stakeholders in the RDI system. Finland’s RDI activities should renew their focus on cooperation between actors in the RDI system as a key strength.
The working group also proposes launching a process to determine Finland’s national R&D priorities and make strategic choices around RDI activities. These strategic choices will ensure that the conditions are in place for proactive, long-term and goal-oriented measures at the national level and for effective cooperation between businesses and the public sector. Strategic choices lay an important foundation for effective targeting of limited public RDI funding. The strategic priorities will be prepared and selected under the leadership of the restructured Research and Innovation Council.
The Parliamentary Working Group on Research, Development and Innovation for 2022 was appointed by the Government in April 2022 to continue the work of the previous working group, which operated in 2021. The task of the 2022 working group was to draw up a plan for R&D funding that extends beyond the spending limits period, to serve as a monitoring group for the preparation of the Act on Research and Development Funding and to monitor the implementation of the decisions and policy outlines made by the previous RDI working group.
Inquiries: Matias Mäkynen, Member of Parliament and Chair of the working group, tel. +358 9 432 3059 and Antti Pelkonen, Science Specialist and Secretary-General of the working group, Prime Minister’s Office, tel. +358 295 160 533