Co-Research projects and joint projects for research organizations promote the building of significant new expertise for business needs and accelerate the renewal of Finnish companies’ business and international growth.
The funding is only available through specific funding calls. You cannot apply for the funding unless the call for applications expressly mentions the possibility of Co-Research funding.
The funding is granted to Finnish research organizations such as universities, research institutes, and universities of applied sciences.
The participants of a Co-Research joint project collaborate to generate new knowledge and expertise that is expected to develop the long-term competitiveness of Finnish industry. The funding is aimed at disruptive and strategic projects and projects developing strategic competence. The results of the research projects will serve as a basis for the companies’ own development projects and potential Co-Innovation projects.
The aim of the funding is to accelerate the utilization of research data in companies’ R&D activities and the development of new export industries. Co-Research joint projects strengthen the expertise of research organizations in research fields relevant to business, strengthen Finnish and international research networks, and disseminate information about new business opportunities created by research to companies.
Co-Research is particularly suitable for situations in which Finnish or international research has revealed significant new business potential, but companies still lack the capacity or vision to directly apply this knowledge to their product development or business. Co-Research projects may be used to build bridges between basic research and companies’ industrial research and to focus research on topics that are relevant to Finnish export businesses. In addition, the projects may aim to transfer technology or expertise to Finland. The funding may be used to build the international research cooperation, exchange of information, and researcher mobility required for the project.
Co-Research joint project funding is available to directly prepared projects and joint projects.
A joint project may be formed by at least two cooperating research organizations. The project must be related to a special funding call by Business Finland that mentions Co-Research funding (e.g., the Partnership model funding call for leading companies). The call may also provide more specific instructions and other restrictions on the use of the funding. The project cannot include subcontracting of research from other Finnish research organizations outside the consortium. In other words, the research organizations must be part of the consortium. In addition, the funding cannot cover the costs of research carried out by a non-Finnish research organization.
The project should usually involve at least three companies that could utilize the research results. These companies must contribute to the financing of the project or its sub-projects, and their financial contribution to the total budget is an important assessment criterion. The research problem and the basic research premise should be discussed with the companies. The companies that finance the research organizations’ research projects or make other contributions that reduce the costs of a research organization’s research project take priority in negotiating the use of the research project’s results.
The project may also include companies or other participants such as trade associations that invest in the project through other means. These contributions such as work results, materials, and equipment are referred to as in-kind investments. Their role and contribution must be described, and they must complement and further the goals of the project.
The contribution of companies that could utilize the results may be lower in future-oriented, disruptive Co-Research joint projects that develop strategic competence and have a high novelty value. The greater the emphasis on applied research, the greater the required participation of companies in the project. In these cases, we recommend that you check your eligibility for Co-Innovation funding.
The results of the public research project must also have broad applicability outside the Co-Research consortium. The assessment also takes into account the project’s indirect impacts such as the spillover effects the research might have on Finnish expertise and research. The research project must have a high-quality dissemination plan for the research results.
The funding from Business Finland is competed funding. The assessment takes into account possible other funding applications.
You can apply for Co-Research funding when:
As a rule, the funded research projects should always engage in international cooperation. Funding is granted for national cooperation only in exceptional cases. The international cooperation must be based on the project goals. It is often helpful when you want to introduce significant expertise developed elsewhere to Finland. The minimum level required of international cooperation is an organized exchange of information that aims to systematically obtain knowledge useful for the project during the project. This requirement applies to all the projects in the consortium. It is considered beneficial for the project if the minimum level is exceeded through researcher exchange, a joint international research plan, or other international cooperation, for example.
The normal level of funding for a Co-Research research project is 60%. For a research project involving close international cooperation, Business Finland’s contribution is 70%. The level of funding is determined on a project-by-project basis. In other words, projects under the same joint project may have a different level of funding.
The project involves close international cooperation if at least one of the following criteria is met:
It is possible to link the Co-Research project to an ecosystem of leading companies if this is mentioned in the call for applications. Research organizations may set up a Co-Research joint project if it is related to the themes of a roadmap, and if it focuses on a strategic research area for which it is still impossible to find business partners.
Research organizations can also form Co-Creation projects in some special funding calls that are related to new programs, for example. In these cases, this is mentioned in the call for applications. The call may also provide more specific instructions and other restrictions on the use of the funding.
A Co-Research project is a research project conducted by a public research organization. Co-Research projects may form a joint project that involves close cooperation between the participants. Each party must describe how their project is linked to the joint project in their own application. The consortium must have a joint research plan, which sets out the common goals and adequately explains the role of each participant in the project. Sub-project applications may also contain more detailed plans specific to the sub-project.
Typically, the project should also involve at least three companies that could utilize the results. These companies must contribute to the project’s financing. The financing is provided as gratuitous, and the companies cannot demand consultation or other services in exchange for it. The appropriate consortium size is often significantly larger. The financing shares may vary in size depending on, for example, the size of the company. The project may also involve companies or other participants, such as trade associations, that contribute to it by other means. Their role and contribution must be described, and they must complement and further the goals of the project.
To meet the requirement of international cooperation, you may include organized information exchange, researcher exchange, and the costs of the Finnish participant in the joint research project. Usually, the project cannot include subcontracting of research from other Finnish research organizations outside the consortium. In other words, the research organizations must be part of the consortium. In addition, the funding cannot cover the costs of research carried out by a non-Finnish research organization. By contrast, costs related to researcher exchange, such as the obligatory fees of a non-Finnish research institute, may be eligible. You may procure services related to conducting the research from companies and other research institutes, as long as the procurements are small in relation to the overall budget.
The costs of disseminating the research results may be part of the funded project. On a case-by-case basis, the preparation of a new research project as part of the funded project may be eligible.
All measures for which you apply funding must be presented in the project plan. You can apply for changes to the financing plan during the project for well-founded reasons.
If the research conducted in the project takes advantage of case examples or research problems received from companies, the results must be freely available for publication. This use must directly address the research hypothesis and cannot aim at case-specific, consultative solutions targeted at only one company.
Research organizations: Before applying for funding, discuss the planned project and application with the research support services of your own organization.
If discussions with your organization’s research support services lead to further preparation of the idea, the research support services will direct your idea to Business Finland, which will appoint a contact person for your Co-Research project. Prepare to present the project plan to your contact person at Business Finland before submitting your funding application. It is useful for the participants in the Co-Research joint project to designate a lead coordinator for the project from among their members.
We cannot grant the funding if:
The funding terms and conditions describe the costs that Business Finland can fund, how we monitor your project costs, and how you should report on the progress of your project.
We will evaluate your joint project as a whole and take into account the other applications competing for funding.
Key evaluation areas are:
In the projects of research organizations, we assess how the public research lays the foundations for innovations and expertise, and how the economy can utilize the results. R&D activities for companies cannot be conducted in a public research project. The results of the research project serve as a basis for the companies’ own development projects.
Funding for a Co-Research project is only available when this is expressly mentioned in the call for applications.
The funding applications are completed in Business Finland's online service. All participants applying for the funding use the Co-Research application form. Please also read the instructions for filling out the applications.
The participants in a joint project submits their own applications
Each participant applying for funding for its own sub-project in a joint project submits its own participant application. It is an advantage for the project if the parties use the same title for their projects.
Please see the project plan guide. The plans of each research participant may be described in the joint project plan, but the applicants may also attach their own detailed project plans to their application.
The participants of a joint project cannot see the content of each other’s funding applications or funding decisions.
Financing companies and other organizations, as well as entities participating in the joint project with in-kind contributions, submit their notification of participation as a separate attachment without completing their own funding application. The notifications of participation are attached to the application of the party responsible for the relevant project. Some of the notifications of participation may be shared by more than one project. The breakdown must be presented in conjunction with the financing plan.
Each applicant may send its application with the attachments to Business Finland either before the end of the application period or when all the applications have been completed. All applications associated with the main application are then transferred to Business Finland for processing. At the earliest, the allocation of costs to the projects of the research institutes involved in the project can begin when the applicant has sent the application and the attachments to Business Finland, and Business Finland has all the information necessary for evaluating the project.
After the applications have been submitted for the first time, it is still possible to supplement the participant applications and attach documents to them. Business Finland may request the parties to supplement the applications. The request for supplementation is sent by email to the person in charge of the application, and the content of the request for supplementation appears on each page of the application. The supplement is made by using the application form, which is finally submitted back to Business Finland.
New participants may join the Co-Research project after the first submission of the application with its attachments during the application processing phase. Permission to join the project afterwards is granted by the project’s main processor, a financial advisor at Business Finland. When joining the project later, use the Co-Research participant application. You should also use the joint project title when joining the project later.
The joint project must have a joint project plan describing the entire project.
In the joint project plan, describe the concrete implementation and resourcing:
The parties to the joint projects should conclude a mutual cooperation agreement on matters such as
The contract templates have been drawn up in cooperation between certain universities, universities of applied sciences, and research institutes. Business Finland is not responsible for the content of the templates, their suitability for the intended purpose, or their updating, and is not a contracting party to the cooperation contracts.
The coordination of large joint projects is a demanding task, and participants in joint projects must demonstrate that they have enough time and expertise to manage the project.
As a rule, the participants in the joint project submit reports on their own project and the cooperation simultaneously in accordance with the reporting schedule mentioned in the funding decisions. Simultaneous reporting facilitates the monitoring of the joint project and its goals.
Eligible costs for public research projects (for research organizations)
All costs incurred must be related to the implementation of the project. We accept costs in accordance with the Funding Agency's general terms and conditions for public research. Eligible costs may include:
The following costs are not eligible in the project:
Eligible cost types for research projects may include:
If the beneficiary receives income from a prototype, demonstration project, or production testing created in the project during or immediately after the project, the beneficiary must report this to Business Finland immediately or no later than during the final report. If the income is significant, we may refuse to accept any costs related to commercial activities.
Plan a project and define its goals. Ensure the sufficiency of self-financing.
Submit your application through online services. Submit the additional information requested.
Business Finland will assess your application and notify you of its decision. Read the decision and its terms and conditions, and approve the decision in online services.
Arrange project accounting. Notify Business Finland of any changes.
Report your project's implementation and costs. Attach the additional information requested with your report.
Research and knowledge-dissemination organisation means an entity (such as universities or research institutes, technology transfer agencies, innovation intermediaries, research-oriented physical or virtual collaborative entities), irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or way of financing, whose primary goal is to independently conduct fundamental research, industrial research or experimental development or to widely disseminate the results of such activities by way of teaching, publication or knowledge transfer.
Where such entity also pursues economic activities the financing, the costs and the revenues of those economic activities must be accounted for separately. Undertakings that can exert a decisive influence upon such an entity, in the quality of, for example, shareholders or members, may not enjoy preferential access to the results generated by it.