Argumenta – funding for scientifically interesting projects that bear importance in terms of society at large

The next call for Argumenta applications will take place between 15 August and 9 September 2016. The applications must be submitted via the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s electronic application system. The application is a two-stage process: heads of the projects selected from among the applications on the first application round will be requested to provide more detailed project plans and budgets.

The purpose of the Argumenta funding model is to provide a basis for sustainable arguments helping to find answers to open questions in important research fields. Argumenta projects are of cross-disciplinary nature, and they extensively analyse theories and practices from competing angles, which should encourage debate on the issues. The aim is to bring together decision-makers and researchers and make the results of the debate public so that they can have an influence on societal decision-making.

Criteria

Argumenta is a funding model in which the aim is to create arguments providing answers to open research questions that are scientifically sustainable and sustainable in terms of their cross-disciplinary content. The criteria applied to Argumenta are as follows:
1. The topic must be scientifically interesting and important in terms of society at large.
2. The topic must involve scientifically controversial issues that are the subject of a cross-disciplinary debate, in which the aim is to reach a consensus on the matter.
3. The scientific arguments produced in the project must be made public in such a manner that they can influence societal decision-making.

A network of seminars and workshops, which may also involve other activities, is at the core of Argumenta. However, project funding should not be used to cover the research expenses. The funding is to cover the costs arising from the work of the coordinator and the organisation of the seminars and other events. Argumenta projects should primarily be scientific in terms of their content and objectives, even though the seminars may be open to researchers, members of the public at large and decision-makers alike.

At Argumenta, the emphasis is on a cross-disciplinary approach. Even though a problem is often studied in different fields of science, it may be difficult to find a common language for formulating the solutions. At Argumenta, the purpose is to create a series of seminars and a common language for them. This helps to keep the projects free of scientific phraseology and allows all those involved to debate what the researchers are actually doing.

Planning and reporting

Even though the project does not need to be accompanied by a publication, the communications and publication plan appended to the application must detail how the results of the debate will be publicised and how they will be made available for public debate online or via other channels. The communication plan for the project and the communication with decision-makers and/or the public at large must be taken into account in the funding plan.

The project organisation is requested to provide a concise, free-form interim report of the progress of the project halfway through the project.

The final report must be delivered to the Finnish Cultural Foundation within three months of the conclusion of the project. The main content of the project, seminars, events and the number of participants must all be detailed in the report. The report must also contain an assessment of the success of the project and how well it achieved its communicative aims, as well as providing a breakdown, itemised by type of cost, showing how the grant has been used. (This information must be in a separate appendix if the report is submitted via the electronic system.)

So far, funding has been provided for 15 Argumenta projects, which have covered topics ranging from responsible mining to human mortality, and the relation between genes and society.

For more information, please contact senior advisor Johanna Ruohonen, johanna.ruohonen(at)skr.fi, +358 40 5163475.