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SCAR - National Research Systems - Finland
Organization of Finnish Research

The organisation of the Finnish innovation system is described thoroughly in

The overall science and innovation policy is prepared by the Research and Innnovation Council of Finland reporting directly to the Government and headed by the Prime Minister. The mainstream of Finnish science and technology policy is implemented through Ministry of Education and Culture and Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

Science policy, basic research and education is under the responsibility of Ministry of Education and Culture controlling Finnish Universities , and the Academy of Finland , a research council supporting basic research of all kind.

Technology policy and the related goal-oriented industrial research is under the responsibility of Ministry of Employment and the Economy controlling Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation , a research council supporting applied research and technology development, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland , and National Consumer Research Center.

Strategic Centres boost innovations

The Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation established in Finland are new public-private partnerships for speeding up innovation processes. Their main goal is to thoroughly renew industry clusters and to create radical innovations. They create a long-term cooperation between industry and the academia: centres (SHOK in Finnish) develop and apply new methods for cooperation, co-creation and interaction. International cooperation also plays a key role in the operation of the Strategic Centres. Testing and piloting environments and ecosystems constitute an essential part of the Strategic Centres' operations. In Strategic Centres, companies and research units work in close cooperation, carrying out research that has been jointly defined in the strategic research agenda of each Centre. The research aims to meet the needs of Finnish industry and society within a five-to-ten-year period.

Six centres are in operation

Energy and the environment: CLEEN Ltd
Metal products and mechanical engineering: FIMECC Ltd
Forestcluster Ltd
Built environment innovations: RYM Ltd
Health and well-being: SalWe Ltd 
Information and communication industry and services (Tieto- ja viestintäteollisuuden tutkimus TIVIT Oy)

Sectoral issues are dealt with relevant ministries, which have own state research institutes and competitive research funding to commission policy oriented research: State Research Institutes

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry steers the policy on sustainable use of natural resources (agriculture, forestry, fisheries and game, aquatic resources and rural affairs and food safety and food policy). Five research institutes are reporting to the ministry:
MTT Agrifood Research Finland
Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla
Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Insitute, RKTL
Finnish Geodetic Institute FGI
Finnish food Safety Authority Evira

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) primarily operates under the Ministry of Environment, but the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry guides SYKE’s work related to water management issues. (

MTT, Metla, RKTL, SYKE, FGI and Evira have all recently joined forces in forming the LYNET research consortium. LYNET coordinates research work and the provision of expert services, research infrastructure and support services as well as management of information databases related to renewable resources and environment. LYNET is not a conventional organisation or institution, but represents a new way of organising work collaboratively. (


Public RTD-expenditure:
Government budget appropriations or outlays on research and development (GBAORD) for 2012 amount to EUR 2.010 billion euros. Government R&D expenditure as a proportion of overall government spending exclusive of debt servicing stands at 4.0 per cent - one of the highest figure in the world. The share of public R&D funding of GDP is 1.0 per cent. That is about 25% of the total RTD-expenditure in Finland. The bulk is carried out by private companies. It is also notable, that 50% of the public RTD-efforts is based on free competition organised mainly by Tekes and Academy of Finland.

In agricultural research, the The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry plays a significant role with its governmental research institutes, and with its competitive research budget. The ministry directs its competitive funding to projects providing science-based evidence to political decision making, as well as providing innovative technologies to help improve competitive and environmentally and ethically sustainable production technologies and to ensure food quality and safety. With its competitive research budget, the ministry also co-operates with other research funding bodies in relevant themes and ERA-NET-schemes.

Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation is a research council supporting applied research and technology development. The Tekes programmes target strategically important areas of R&D that Tekes has identified together with the business sector and researchers.

Examples of food and agriculture related programmes:
BioRefine – New Biomass Products 2007–2012
Green Growth – Towards a Sustainable Future 2011–2015
Sapuska – Added Value for International Food Markets 2008–2012
SymBio – Industrial Biotechnology 2006–2011
Water 2008–2012

Research Programmes of the Academy of Finland are more basic research oriented: The programmes are designed to advance a certain field of research, raise its scientific standards and create new scientific knowledge and know-how. A major emphasis in Academy research programmes is on multi- and transdisciplinarity as well as international cooperation. Examples of food and agriculture related programmes:
FICCA: Climate Change (2011-2014)
KETJU: Sustainable Production and Products (2006–2013)
SALVE: Responding to Public Health Challenges (2009–2012)
SusEn: Sustainable Energy (2008–2012)
ELVIRA: Nutrition, Food and Health (2007–2011)
Sustainable Governance of Aquatic Resources (AKVA)
Synthetic biology  (in preparation)

Research performers
The following sites link to selected agri-food research performers:

Agricultural Research
MTT Agrifood Research Finland
MTT Agrifood Research Finland is Finland's leading research institute in the field of agricultural and food research and agricultural environment research. The products include innovations and solutions relating to renewable natural resources. MTT Agrifood Research conduct research within eight research programmes permeating the entire organisation. The programme-based approach enables genuine multidisciplinary research, which is a requirement for efficient problem-solving. Operating under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, MTT employs around 750 people at 15 locations across Finland.

Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Insitute, RKTL

The Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute produces high-quality scientific information about fisheries, game and reindeer for sustainable use of natural resources and helps maintain biodiversity through research and aquaculture. The institute has a total budget of EUR 24 million and a staff of 321. The main tasks of the institute include assessing, compiling statistics and predicting fishery and game resources and maintaining the diversity of fish populations. We monitor and record fish and game resources and the economic activities connected with them. The information produced helps to promote sustainable harvesting of Finland's fishery and game resources.

Helsinki University
Helsinki University, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry promotes sustainable use ofnatural resources and human wellbeing through scientific research and teaching. Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is situated on Viikki campus, together with three other Faculties of University of Helsinki: Faculty of Bioscienses, Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The Viikki Science Park is, with more than 6,000 students, one of the largest concentrations of biosciences in the world.
The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry has four departments:
  • Department of Agricultural Sciences
  • Department of Forest Sciences
  • Department of Food and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Economics and Management
Helsinki University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine safeguards the health and wellbeing of animals and people. The Faculty is responsible for the basic education of veterinary surgeons in Finland and research as well as for scientific postgraduate studies and vocational further and extension studies. The Faculty’s operations are located at the Viikki Campus and Saari in Mäntsälä.

Finnish Environmental Institute SYKE
The Finnish Environment Institute is both a research institute, and a centre for environmental expertise. SYKE's research focuses on changes in the environment, and seeks ways to control these changes. The expertise is based on long-term environmental monitoring, wide-ranging research results, and the Institute's highly-qualified staff.

University of Eastern Finland

Faculty of Health Sciences:
The Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine focuses especially on gene therapy and gene transfer technology, and on animal biotechnology.

Food Research

Food research is much more diversified field than the above mentioned agricultural and veterinary research: MTT-Agrifood Research Finland and University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry are active in the fields of various economical analysis along the total food chain, as well as consumer and sensory research, food chemistry and technology and functional food development. (see Agricultural Research)

Finnish food Safety Authority Evira
Activities at Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira aim at ensuring food safety, promoting animal health and welfare, and developing the prerequisites for plant and animal production, and plant health.

In addition, the following institutes are active in some fields of food research:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is a globally networked multitechnological contract research organization. VTT provides high-end technology solutions and innovation services. We enhance our customers’ competitiveness, thereby creating prerequisites for society’s sustainable development, employment, and wellbeing. In bio- and chemical processes ( research focuses on sustainable chemistry and sustainable processing as well as biotechnologies and ICT for health and well-being. The research covers the whole chain from molecular level research (discovery and production of enzymes, development of new microbial strains, development of chemical reaction routes, discovery of drug targets and biomarkers), analysis of the reaction mechanisms with advanced analytical methods as well as development of process applications at the laboratory and pilot scale.

National Consumer Research Centre
The mission of the National Consumer Research Centre (NCRC) is to investigate, anticipate and identify change and risk factors within the consumer society, in consumer behaviour and in the market, and to be a communicator of consumer research knowledge. NCRC carries out research in the following areas of expertise: 1) household activity and changes in consumption, 2) quality of products and services, and 3) market functionality and price structures.

National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL
The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is a research and development institute under the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. THL seeks to serve the broader society in addition to the scientific community, actors in the field and decision-makers in central government and municipalities. The aim is to promote health and welfare in Finland. The Institute is reporting to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

University of Turku
Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry

The Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry is an academic teaching and research facility of over 300 students and 100 researchers. The Department is organized into five parallel units which form a diverse entity in the field of modern biosciences: Biochemistry, Molecular Biotechnology and Diagnostics, Food Chemistry, Food Development, and Molecular Plant Biology

Functional Foods Forum (fff)
Functional Foods Forum, as an independent special unit of the University of Turku, brings together the multidisciplinary expertise for the research and development of high-quality safe goods to promote human health and well-being. fff combines leading-edge research expertise in natural, health and medical sciences with technological, legal and business know-how in order to develop and commercialise functional foods for human needs.

University of Eastern Finland
Faculty of Health Sciences:
The Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition: the mission is health promotion both locally and globally. Research is carried out on multiple levels and approach public health issues from different perspectives. The scope of the expertise extends from molecular biology to the environment, from genes to culture and from the individual to society. Also trials and research for outside customers especially in the field of pharmaceutical therapy and nutrition are conducted.

Forest research

Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla
The Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla) is a specialist research organisation which develops solutions to the challenges and questions posed by the care, utilisation, products, services and intangible value of forests. Metla is the main forest research institution in Finland and one of the biggest forest research institutes in the whole Europe. Metla’s duties are defined by the law and statute to promote, through research, the economical, ecological, and socially sustainable management and use of forests. The activities have the following areas of strategic influence:
entrepreneurial and business activity based on forests, forests and the community, sustainable silvicultural chains, and a forest economy- and forest environment -based knowledge pool.

Helsinki University

Helsinki University, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

University of Eastern
Faculty of Science and Forestry: School of Forest Sciences

European Forest Institute EFI
EFI is an international organisation, established by European States. 23 European States have ratified the Convention on EFI. It has over 120 Associate and Affiliate Member organisations in more than 30 countries, five Regional Offices and one Project Centre. The Headquarters is in Joensuu, Finland and the Policy Advice office is located in Barcelona, Spain.

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  SCAR meetings.

The SCAR plenary meetings are normally organised twice a year. Thirteen meetings have been held so far since February 2005.

The next meeting is scheduled on: [read more]
  Contact info.

The SCAR committee is supported by a Secretariat with staff from the Commission's Directorate-General for Research and staff made available to SCAR from Member States (‘virtual secretariat’). The Secretariat is in charge of the preparation and follow-up of forum meetings (e.g. coordination of the agenda, invitation, documents for the meeting, minutes) and provides assistance to the working groups.
Contact person: François Constantin.