The Finnish Research Impact Foundation is piloting a new funding scheme that will give professors the chance to spend one year doing joint research in a business and industry environment. The purpose of the scheme is to support research collaborations between industry and research organizations and to give the academic world first-hand knowledge about relevant areas of research interest for business companies.
FRIF will announce the new Tandem Industry Academia Professor (TIA Professor) call in autumn 2022. TIA professors will receive funding for a one-year joint research project with an industry partner. During the funding term they will spend a period equivalent to one full year working in facilities provided by the business company. The funding may be spread out over a maximum of three years.
The purpose of TIA Professor funding is to support collaborations between industry and research organizations and to give professors first-hand knowledge about relevant areas of research interest for business companies. Projects may involve precompetitive research and other supportive activities.
“We already have professors of practice who move from businesses to work in academia, but as yet there is no system to support mobility in the opposite direction. Based on our discussions with stakeholder groups and a questionnaire we conducted, there is strong demand for this kind of funding that gives professors from the academic world the opportunity to work more closely with business and industry,” says Leena Otsomaa, FRIF Board member who contributed to the working group that prepared the new funding scheme.
“This funding instrument is aimed at the very highest levels of academia. We’re keen to offer a competitive salary and to provide the opportunity for professors to do independent research with an industry partner and to gain first-hand insights into the business world,” Leena Otsomaa continues.
TIA Professor funding is intended for professor-level academics at universities and research institutes. The grant ensures a competitive salary and covers other possible costs, such as travel, equipment and publishing expenses. The business partner contributes by providing in-kind resources, including the physical working facilities and environment for the TIA professor. Applications are submitted by the professor together with the business partner and the academic organization. The funding is paid out to the academic organization, with which the professor remains in an employment relationship.
The idea for professor exchange came about in stakeholder discussions hosted by FRIF in spring 2022, which were followed up and evaluated in an extensive stakeholder questionnaire. The crowdsourcing outcomes lent support to developing the idea into a new funding pilot. FRIF has earmarked around one million euros for the pilot. Further information on the call as well as application dates and guidelines will be published in autumn 2022.
In line with its strategy adopted in 2021, the Finnish Research Impact Foundation is committed to piloting funding instruments that support and promote collaboration between cutting-edge research and industry. The new TIA Professor pilot is the second novel funding experiment launched by FRIF. Under the Tandem Industry Academia programme for postdoc researchers, first announced in 2020 and opening its third call in spring 2022, the foundation has to date provided funding for 22 joint projects between research organizations and business companies.