Researchers are invited to apply for the research grants offered by the new research fund of the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service. The grants are intended for scientific projects that help to promote assessment and development of the quality, safety, adequate supply and effective use of the Blood Service’s current and future products and services, including the impact of the blood supply chain. The deadline for applications is 5 April 2021.
The Blood Service research fund is set up by the Finnish Red Cross (FRC), the amount is decided annually by the FRC Board as part of its budget. Grants are now being awarded for the first time.
Research grants may be awarded for scientific projects that help to promote assessment and development of the quality, safety, adequate supply and effective use of the Blood Service’s current and future products and services, including the impact of the blood supply chain.
Funding can be applied for to cover research costs, salaries, personal grants or research visits.
The funding available for 2021 will be €500,000 in total, and each grant may be awarded for 1 to 3 years at a time. Grants covering more than one year will be awarded as a single sum on the first application, but recipients must be able to demonstrate sufficient progress in their annual reports.
Applications will be processed by the Review Committee. The Board of the Blood Service will announce its decisions to the applicants in autumn 2021. The grants awarded will be published on this website.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING FOR A GRANT FROM THE BLOOD SERVICE RESEARCH GRANT
The grant application may be written in Finnish or in English and should be submitted to kirjaamo(at)veripalvelu.fi using the title “Grant application”. The email must contain a research plan, the CVs of the applicant in charge and those researchers who would receive a personal grant and the application form found on the Blood Service website.
The application form should be filled in as completely as possible and titled “Applicationform2021_applicant’s name”. It must contain the following information:
- The researcher in charge and their personal details;
- Research site, research organisation and its director;
- Other members in the research group as well as partners;
- A short summary of the project concerned and the research results from the past two years;
- The sum of research funding applied for, broken down into cost items (personal grants; salaries; travel expenses; research costs; subcontracting; overhead) and in the case of grants covering more than one year, broken down for each year of funding;
The application form must be accompanied by a research plan and the relevant CVs as PDF files (font: Calibri, font size: at least 11, spacing: 1 line).
The applicant in charge must give their background as follows:
- doctoral researcher (the sum applied for cannot exceed €20,000), or
- postdoctoral researcher, doctoral dissertation within past 5 years (the sum applied for cannot exceed €50,000), or
- independent, docent-level researcher (“principal investigator”) (the sum applied for cannot exceed €100,000).
The research plan must not exceed 5 pages in PDF format. The file should be titled ”Researchplan2021_applicant’s name”.
The plan should cover the following (as applicable):
- Summary (with 3 to 5 keywords);
- Name of the applicant;
- Introduction and research group’s research results so far;
- Research hypothesis or question; aim and how to measure it;
- Material and methods;
- Ethical approvals required for the study (decision reference numbers);
- Data protection arrangements required for the study;
- Publication plan for the research results;
- More specific grounds for the funding applied for (if necessary);
- Schedule and, in the case of grants covering more than one year, the primary aims for year of funding.
Short CV (up to 2 pages, PDF file titled ”CV2021_applicant’s name). The applicant and those researchers who would receive a personal grant must submit a short CV that lists up to 10 key scientific publications from the past 5 years.
Under the rules, research grants may be awarded for scientific research compliant with the research and development strategy; for publishing the results; and for international cooperation in the field concerned, including researcher visits abroad.
A grant may be used to fund:
1. Personal grants for full-time research work (at least 80% of working time) for persons named in the application. Research work may also take the form of long-term research visits. The annual amount of a personal grant must not exceed the tax-free allowance set by the tax administration. The monthly amount will be determined on the basis of the recipient’s qualifications:
a. Professor: €3,400/3,900 monthly
b. Docent: €3,100/3,300 monthly
c. D.Med.Sc., Ph.D.: €2,400/2,700 monthly
d. Lic. Med., MA: €2,000/2,200 monthly
e. Bachelor of Medicine, secondary school graduate: €1,700/1,900 monthly
The higher amount will be paid in the case of grants awarded for at least four months during the same calendar year. In this case, the recipient must obtain employment pension insurance for those receiving grants. The insurance will be provided by the Farmers’ Social Insurance Institution Mela.
2. Salaries for the persons listed in the application (including the employer’s contributions in the applicant organisation);
3. Research costs, such as reagents, laboratory equipment and publication costs;
4. Subcontracting necessary for research work (e.g. special analytical services or animal studies);
5. Travel expenses: travel expenses incurred due to planned meetings of the research group members; congresses where results of the funded project are presented; and research visits directly related to the funded project;
6. Overhead that may cover up to 15% of the costs processed by the organisation.
The person applying for a grant must be a Finnish citizen or a foreigner living in Finland. Usually funding is awarded for work carried out in Finland; an exception is funding of research visits made from Finland to another country.
Grants may be applied for by individual researchers or research groups who must have a researcher in charge and a background organisation to guarantee the infrastructure required by the research and who will receive the grant and record it in its bookkeeping system. The grant must be traceable in the organisation’s bookkeeping system, and the terms and conditions, good organisational practices and law must be complied with when using the grant money.
Based on the more specific grounds given in the application, personal grants may also be paid direct to the applicants.
Employees of the Finnish Red Cross or the Blood Service are not allowed to apply for personal grants for their research projects or for salary payments to any members of their research group.
The applicant and the research group must adhere to the good research practices published by the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity.
Applications will be processed by the Review Committee. The committee comprises five experts, no more than two of whom may be employees of the Blood Service. The Review Committee will put forward its proposal regarding the grant recipients and the research funding to be awarded to the Board, which will then decide whether or not to award a grant. The Board’s decisions are not subject to appeal.
Neither the members of the Review Committee nor the research groups they lead may apply for funding. The members of the Committee are not allowed to participate in such processing of applications or decision-making regarding which they consider themselves disqualified (FRC instructions for disqualification).
The following criteria are used when processing applications:
The project must be suitable for the research field concerned and comply with the Blood Service’s research strategy.
The project must be sufficiently ambitious scientifically, and have reasonable chances of success.
The applicant must have a clear vision of the overall aim of the project as a whole and of the aim of the particular project specified in the application.
The project plan and the budget must be realistic relative to the aim.
In the case of applications for grants covering more than one year, a report for the previous term must have been completed and there must be enough progress in relation to the aims.
The Review Committee will decide about the processing criteria in more detail. The processing criteria used will be recorded in the proposal put to the Board.
THE GRANTS AWARDED
When a grant is awarded, a letter to this effect will be sent to the researcher in charge containing further instructions about receiving the grant as well as the reporting practices.