INSTRUCTIONS FOR GRANT APPLICANTS
Next general call will be open in August 2020
In the general call, you can apply for a grant for 1) doctoral thesis research, 2) postdoc research or 3) the communication and implementation of scientific environmental information.
Each applicant can submit only one application in one category. Funding will not be awarded for a new project if the applicant already has a Nessling project in progress.
Please carefully read through the instructions below and the grant criteria before submitting your application (keep scrolling even though the colour scheme changes). Each year we have to reject applications that are inadequate or do not comply with our instructions.
The research grant can be awarded for several years at a time for the same project: a maximum of four years for doctoral thesis research and a maximum of two years for postdoc research. Grants are awarded for the entire grant period, but we require annual reports on the project.
Grants are not awarded for finalising doctoral theses or other research projects.
THE E-NESSI GRANT SYSTEM
Grant applications are always made using the electronic E-Nessi system, which you can register for as a user on the first time of use. Through E-Nessi, you can also submit payment requests for funded projects, track the payment information of your projects, update your contact information and report project results.
To make a new application, click on Make an application. Please note that E-Nessi considers the person making the application to be the project leader, so the project leader must register as a user first. On the “Make an application” screen you are to select the General call option.
Each application always gets a new project number, and you can modify an unfinished application through the main page. When making an application, fill in or select the information required in the fields on all screens and save the information each screen at a time. Saving each screen is important to avoid losing information in case the session is interrupted, for example.
Text can also be copy/pasted into the fields. You can print the application by clicking on View printable form (PDF icon).
You can delete an unsent application on the main page by clicking the trash can icon on the right-hand side of the application.
Who can apply?
- Research grants are awarded only to researchers who have completed a graduate or doctoral degree.
- The applicant of the research grant is the project’s researcher, i.e. the grant recipient him/herself.
- Doctoral students doing doctoral thesis projects must have graduated and their acceptance into a doctoral programme must have been confirmed before the commencement of the grant payment.
- Postdoc researchers must have their doctoral degree certificate by the time payment for their research project commences. Applicant must have completed their doctoral thesis no more than 5 years ago, excluding possible parental leave, extended sick leave or military service. The Foundation will only fund a postdoc researcher for one period, i.e. a maximum of two years.
- The research grant can also be used at a non-Finnish institution. At the Nessling Foundation, the mobility of researchers is a plus.
- If applying for a grant for purposes other than a research project (communication or implementation of research findings), a private person, community or organisation can act as the applicant.
The supervisors of doctoral thesis projects must be mentioned in the application. Supervisors will receive an email requesting them to send a letter of recommendation. The recommendation of doctoral thesis supervisors is mandatory. The recommendation must be submitted by the latest two weeks after the application deadline.
In projects other than doctoral thesis projects it is not necessary to name the project supervisor.
The project title should be formulated in an easily understandable manner and it should incorporate all possible subprojects. The title must be presented in both English and Finnish.
- doctoral thesis project
- postdoc research
- the communication and implementation of research knowledge (also includes organising conferences and other events)
ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE THAT THE PROJECT IS SOLVING
- Climate change
- Biodiversity loss
- Sustainability of the use of natural resources
- Water risks
- Chemicalization and pollution
- The project is systemic and solves more than one of the challenges mentioned above
ESTIMATED DURATION OF THE PROJECT
Maximum 4 years for doctoral thesis projects, maximum 2 years for postdoc projects. In non-research projects, funding is mainly awarded for projects that last no longer than one year.
The objectives are to be described in a concise manner using nontechnical language, in both Finnish and English. The Nessling Foundation uses the description in announcements about funded projects.
SOLUTION-ORIENTATION, SOCIETAL RELEVANCE AND SCALABILITY OF THE PROJECT
In this section, you are to describe how the project furthers the solving of the chosen environmental challenge, as well as what the societal relevance and scalability of the project’s results are.
NB! The Nessling Foundation pays special attention to this section when making funding decisions.
PROJECT COMMUNICATION AND INTERACTION PLAN
The impact of environmental research improves when researchers actively communicate about their topics and collaborate closely with knowledge users throughout the entire research process.
Transmitting research findings to society is part of the job of researchers who conduct research promoting environmental protection.
There are many ways of collaborating with stakeholders: workshops, trainings, school visits, bilateral meetings (e.g. with landowners, NGOs, companies, decision makers or officials), or perhaps campaigning at a street event. There are as many means as there are research topics. The most important thing is that you identify the key stakeholders of your research.
The communication and interaction plan section of the application should describe which parties or stakeholders are central to the project and what means will be used to interact with them. How is the project communicated about during the project and as the results come through, and what kind of means are used for communication? If desired, the communication and interaction plan can also be made as a separate attachment, which is described in the attachments section.
Useful advice for identifying stakeholders and making the interaction plan can be found in the Biodiversa stakeholder engagement handbook. You may also find the following graphs helpful in identifying stakeholders and choosing communication methods:
Collaboration with stakeholders is close and continuous. Workshops, collaborative writing, regular discussions.
Involving is similar to collaboration, but stakeholders have less time to be involved in it, so cooperation is less regular.
Consulting means that knowledge and views are exchanged in bilateral meetings, for example, on a point-by-point basis.
Informing means unidirectional interaction through newsletters or traditional media, for example.
Also take a look at a great summary on science communication written by Kaskas Media: “5 tips for making knowledge have an impact” (in Finnish).
The Foundation may ask grant recipients to communicate the progress and results of their research in collaboration with the Nessling Foundation.
Personal grants are meant for full-time work. The grantee may work max 20% of the worktime (eg. teaching or other work that supports the research).
A personal grant can only be paid to the project’s main applicant, not to auxiliary staff. The grant is awarded to the applicant personally and it cannot be transferred to another person.
A personal grant will not be paid to a researcher who simultaneously earns a salary from a full-time position or duty, nor during parental leave or military service. The grant will also not be paid simultaneously with sickness allowance.
The size of a personal grant in the 2019 call is 26,000 euros for doctoral theses, or 2,166.67 euros a month, and 30,000 euros for postdoctoral researchers, or 2,500 euros a month.
The grant recipient’s statutory insurance premiums must be paid from the grant sum.
Auxiliary staff mainly means research assistants. When calculating the wage costs of auxiliary staff, statutory social security, pension and insurance premiums must be taken into account.
The Foundation grants funding for hiring auxiliary staff only for specifically justified reasons and only alongside a personal grant.
The purpose and object of funds sought for travel, consumables, analytical services, equipment as well as communication and interaction must always be precisely clarified. Daily travel allowance cannot be paid from travel expense funds. Funding for research expenses is only awarded alongside a personal grant. When drafting a budget for a multi-year project, annual variations and moderation must be considered.
NB! Without a detailed breakdown of costs, other expenses will not be taken into account when awarding the grant.
The applicant is required to get familiar with the Foundations's travel guidance:
- Consider carefully which meetings or conferences are necessary to travel to in person. Could you attend the meeting or conference virtually?
- There are also other ways to travel apart from flying. Opt for traveling by land, especially on domestic trips. The Foundation’s travel allowance also lets you travel abroad by land (or sea).
- When flying, opt for direct flights and airlines that use new equipment. Takeoff and landing produce the most climate emissions in air travel. Also remember that the distance of air travel is directly proportional to the climate emissions: if you are traveling east, do not choose a connecting flight through the west.
- When flying to a few day meeting or conference in a long-haul destination, consider whether you could combine working at the destination with your meeting of conference trip.
- The Foundation’s travel allowance can and should be budgeted to compensating for the flight’s climate emissions.
The Foundation can pay a portion of the overhead costs if the research site so requires. The portion must be calculated in its own section, and it must not be more than 15 percent of the other expenses of the project than the personal grant.
For example: If you are applying for 26,000 euros for a personal grant and 5,000 euros for other expenses (such as travel and materials), the maximum portion of overhead costs could be 750 euros (15% of 5,000 euros).
All research funding received from elsewhere for the same research topic and all pending applications must be reported, as well as any other noteworthy research funding received in recent years.
FUNDING FOR OTHER THAN A RESEARCH PROJECT (communication and implementation of research knowledge)
If applying for a grant for the communication or implementation of research knowledge, the budget must be drafted using the previous guidelines as appropriate.
REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR SEEKING FUNDING FOR THE ORGANISATION OR ATTENDANCE OF A MEETING OR CONFERENCE
If funding is sought for the organisation of the scientific programme of a conference or meeting, the following information must be provided in the project plan:
The name, subject, purpose and target group of the event, the event location, time and organiser, the composition of the organising committee, the estimated number of foreign and domestic participants, the draft programme, an estimate of revenue and expenditure, and the details of other possible funders.
In addition, it is necessary to indicate what expenses the funding sought from the Nessling Foundation will be used for. The project plans of regularly organised events are to include new and innovative elements compared to previous occasions.
If funding is sought for attending a conference or meeting, an explanation of the applicant’s own attendance must be included in addition to the conference information, for example, by presenting the title and abstract of a presentation or poster. Participation in conferences is supported mainly in such cases where the work presented is related to research previously funded by the Nessling Foundation.
Attachments are to be submitted in PDF format. Large attachments should be avoided, for example, colour photographs or other images should be used with consideration.
Research/ Project plan
The information provided in the plan is used as the main basis for funding decisions. The plan can be a maximum of two pages long, excluding references (line spacing 1 and font size at least 10). It is to demonstrate the background, aims, methods and execution of the research/project, as well as links to other projects. If the project applied for is part of a larger whole, the project’s total funding, which includes other possible funders, must be presented.
If you are applying for some other project than for a research project please explain in two pages the background, aims, methods and execution of the project as well as the financial plan.
In the financial plan, you are to justify the sums sought for different purposes and present the total funding of the project, which includes other potential funders.
The research/project plan can be written in either English or Finnish.
CV and list of publications
These can be included either as a single document or separate ones. The CV and list of publications can be in either English or Finnish.
PLAN FOR A DOCTORAL THESIS PROJECT
If applying for funding for a PhD project, a separate progress plan of the PhD work must be attached to the application. The maximum length of the plan is two pages and it is to describe the content and structure of the thesis, the progress of studies, a publication plan, work schedule and a realistic estimated completion time. We will commit to funding a thesis for a maximum of 4 years (a new commencing project) or a minimum of 2 years (the project is less than halfway). We do not fund the finalization of theses. The thesis plan must correspond to the duration of the grant that is sought.
NB! In conjunction with annual reporting (a precondition for the continuation of funding), you are to describe the progress of the thesis and studies compared to the previous year, accompanied with a statement by the supervisor.
If you wish, you may attach up to two of the research group’s publications related to the subject. They are titled using the title of the publication.
Commitment of foreign research partner
A written commitment from foreign partners mentioned in the application should be attached to the application.
COMMITMENT OF THE PROJECT LEADER AND RESEARCH SITE
The commitment is mandatory. The commitment can be printed from the Print commitment button in the attachments tab.
In addition to the applicant’s signature, in research projects the commitment must include the signature of the head of the research site (e.g. a university department). The signed commitment must be scanned and attached electronically to the application.
SENDING THE APPLICATION
Electronic applications, along with their attachments, must be sent to the Nessling Foundation by clicking the Send button by 16:00 on the deadline, which in 2019 is Friday 13.9. The application can no longer be edited after it is submitted. You will receive a confirmation that the application has been successfully received immediately after it has been sent.
We will only process applications submitted by the deadline. Please do not set your deadline to be at 15:59.
EVALUATION AND FUNDING DECISIONS
The Nessling Foundation will send the applications to a multidisciplinary committee of experts for evaluation, whose members represent the themes emphasised by the Foundation.
Main funding criteria for research projects:
- Solution orientation, societal relevance and scalability of the results
- Scientific quality of the research, researcher and research group (if the applicant is doing research as part of a group)
- Innovativeness of the research
- Collaboration between the researchers/research groups/organisations
- Communicating about the research and interacting with stakeholders (especially knowledge users)
- Educational environment (if applying for a doctoral thesis grant)
Main funding criteria for other than research projects:
- The solution orientation, societal relevance and scalability of the project
- Know-how and operating environment related to the implementation of the applicant’s (individual or group) project
- Innovativeness of the project
- Collaboration and interaction done in the project with the project’s key stakeholders
The Foundation’s governing board will make the decision over the distribution of grants based on the expert committee’s statement. The funding decisions of the autumn application process are always announced in November on the Nessling Foundation’s website, and the grant recipients will also be informed of the decision by mail. In 2019 the decisions will be made public on 13.11.
The foundation does not provide written feedback on applications, but justifications for decisions can be inquired by telephone from the head of research at the specified times in the end of November.
Read how funded projects are selected on our blog.