Research funding

Kela awards funds for research and development focused on rehabilitation, the prevention of illness and health insurance.

The 2019 application round ended at noon on 23 January 2019.

Additional information: KKRL-tutkimus@kela.fi

How to apply

Specific target areas for funding in 2019

  1. The specific target areas for funding in 2019 were: Learn more about research topics. General application round
  2. Applications for funding are accepted for research projects which further the aims of Section 12 of the Act on rehabilitation services and allowances provided by Kela (see award principles for research funding)
  3. Flexible application round
    Flexible application rounds are arranged to address topical needs for information. No flexible application round is currently underway.

About research funding

  • Amount and targeting of funding
  • Principles of awarding research funding
  • How to apply
  • Application form (pdf)
  • Review of applications
  • Appeal procedure
  • Funding agreement and reporting of research progress

Kela can offer funding for the prevention of illness and for research focused on rehabilitation, the prevention of illness and health insurance. The provision of funding is based on  Section 12 of the Act on rehabilitation services and allowances provided by Kela (referred to below as the KKRL Act).  The distribution of Section 12 funding is supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Advisory Board on Rehabilitation and the Kela Board.

Application rounds for funding typically begin at the start of the year. Notifications of new application rounds are posted on the Kela Research website and advertised in the Helsingin Sanomat and the Hufvudstadsbladet. In the notification, Kela Research may invite applications on specific research topic areas (targeted funding). However, it is possible to apply for funding also for other Section 12 topics. New application rounds focusing on topics of current interest may be launched at any time of the year (flexible application round). Notifications of flexible application rounds are posted on the Kela Research website.

Amount and allocation of research funding

Funding awarded under Section 12 of the KKRL Act is allocated towards topics that are of significance to the further development of health insurance and rehabilitation. The amount of funding varies according to the nature of individual research projects and how extensive they are. Funding is provided for up to three years and up to an amount of €300,000 unless good reasons can be shown to support a request for a larger amount of funding. Funding can usually only be provided for selected applications. Also partial funding that represents only a share of the request amount may be provided.

Funding can be awarded to an organisation or other entity carrying out the research. Individual researchers are awarded funding only in exceptional cases, and must cover their own pension, insurance and tax obligations.

Funding can be provided for

  • the salaries, compensation and indirect wage costs of researchers and other research staff
  • the costs of acquiring the research data, statistical analyses and and the costs of expendable materials
  • necessary travel costs.

The unspecified general costs of the project can account for up to 15% of the total budget of the project, and the indirect wage costs may not exceed 30% of the estimated wages and salaries. The researchers must take out appropriate insurance as required by the research, travel or issues of liability. Cost estimates for the insurance cover can be appended to the application for research funding.

Principles of awarding research funding

When applications for funding are reviewed, particular attention is paid to points such as

  • the current relevance, general applicability and practical usefulness of the research
  • the significance of the project for meeting the information needs of the Kela-administered social security system  
  • the appropriateness and usefulness of the project relative to the object of the study and the validity of the research methods selected
  • the quality and adequacy of the data and the compatibility of the data, study hypothesis and selected methodology
  • the research team’s level of experience
  • how clear and realistic the funding and scheduling of the project are
  • questions of research ethics.

Projects having to do with illness prevention must be primarily focused on aspects of secondary prevention.

Follow-up funding is only provided for reasons that are well justified. Applications for follow-up funding must include

  • details on how the previous funding was used
  • an analysis of how the research has progressed towards the goals it set out to reach
  • an explanation of why follow-up funding is needed.

Funding is not provided for the development of public health services or for basic medical or other research, or for commercial purposes.

How to apply

Applications for research funding must be made on a specific application form. The application must be accompanied by a separate research plan of up to 10 pages and a CV. The research plan must be in Finnish, Swedish or English. The application must be compiled into a single PDF file containing the funding application form, research plan, CV and any other necessary supporting documents.

Application for research funding (pdf)

  • If conducting the research requires a decision by the executive team, manager or someone else in a position of authority in the organisation carrying out the research, information about the decision is documented in section 13 of the form.
  • If the research requires an ethics statement, information about the statement is entered in section 14 of the form, and the statement is appended to the application. If no ethics statement is available, reasons for this must be provided in section 14. Research projects must comply with the guidelines issued by Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. Adherence to relevant ethical standards is required.
  • If the research requires a permission to use register or other data, and the necessary permissions have been obtained (section 15 of the form), they must be appended to the application. If register data available from Kela are to be used in the research, the research team must have permission from Kela to retrieve and use such data. Permission requests are reviewed and granted by the Kela Administration and Facility Management Unit, which also obtains an estimate of the cost of the data retrieval. The application will take at least 2-3 months to process.

Applying for access to information for research purposes

  • It is possible to apply for funding even if not all of the permits or statements have been acquired, but they must be submitted before the agreement on funding can be signed.

Review of applications

The application review process takes 3-4 months. If the project would more appropriately be funded with development funds available under Section 12 of the KKRL Act, the application is automatically submitted for consideration as part of the application process for development funding.

Applicants are informed of funding decisions without delay.

A funding agreement requires the researchers to have a research permit from their organisation, the necessary permissions to access the data used in the research, and where necessary a favourable statement from the Ethics Committee.

All of the research projects that are awarded funding are posted on the Kela Research website once the funding agreements have been finalised.

Appeal procedure

Anyone dissatisfied with Kela’s decision may appeal to the Administrative Court within thirty days of the notification of the decision. Appeal instructions are included with the decision.

Funding agreement and reporting of research progress

An agreement is made by Kela and the party conducting the research about the implementation and funding of the project. If no agreement is concluded within six months of Kela’s decision, the decision on funding becomes void.

The agreement covers such issues as

  • the schedule for the release of funding
  • reporting on the progress of the research in conjunction with the release of each tranche of funding
  • specific grounds for suspending or recovering the funding.

Progress of the project must be reported at least once a year to coincide with the release of tranches of funding. A final report aimed at the general public will also be written and posted on the Kela Research website.

Also the articles and reports published on the research must be publicly available.