Mr Antti Kurvinen, Finnish Minister of Science and Culture, attended the reception for the latest FRIF funding recipients and gave a speech which stressed the impacts of science and research in society: the scientific discoveries that are being made today will in time translate into better future technologies.
The Finnish Research Impact Foundation awarded more than two million euros through its Tandem Industry Academia programme to support 11 new cutting-edge research projects in 2021. The reception for funding recipients was a hybrid event hosted by FRIF on 22 September.
Discussing the short-term and long-term time frame of the impacts of science, Minister of Science and Culture Antti Kurvinen referred to the new knowledge accumulated during the global COVID-19 pandemic about the virus, its spread and treatment and about rapid vaccination development.
“Valuable knowledge was obtained within a matter of weeks and months, and scientific research also quickly corrected itself,” the minister said.
Mr Kurvinen also commented on the recent widespread debate on the impact of science and public research funding. He pointed out that “the world is no laboratory” and that it is impossible to predict all future impacts of science and research, even though many of those impacts are direct and immediate. Often, however, they will only become apparent in the longer term.
“Science can also produce surprises,” Mr Kurvinen said.
He furthermore observed that the impact of science and the freedom of science are not opposites, just as basic research and applied research are not opposites – both are equally necessary.
“Even though it is difficult to measure the impact of research, impact is nonetheless an essential objective that we should advocate and keep on discussing,” Mr Kurvinen continued.
Recognition to FRIF
The minister emphasized in his speech that public RDI funding also has a key role to play in accelerating cooperation, but that money alone is not the solution.
“If cooperation between business life and science was essential before the coronavirus pandemic, it is now even more imperative,” the minister said.
He continued: “Skills, competence and innovation are key. This calls for a favourable environment for both research activities and business operations in our country.”
The minister also expressed his recognition to the work done by the Finnish Research Impact Foundation in its first years of operation. Ever since its inception, Mr Kurvinen said, FRIF has made a significant contribution to advancing the impact of science both through its funding and by participating in the public debate on the subject.
“This is exactly what the Finnish government aimed to achieve a few years ago when it decided to set up the foundation.” He concluded his speech by congratulating all new recipients of FRIF funding.
The Finnish Research Impact Foundation was created by the Finnish government in 2019 with a view to strengthening cooperation between academic research and industry. At the same time, the aim is to boost Finnish business efficiency through world-class research.