...as Finns up ante for foreign stars

October 14, 2005

The Finnish Academy and Tekes, the technology research body, will launch a programme in December aimed at attracting top researchers from abroad.

The project, which will run until at least 2010, will offer professor-level candidates a fixed-term contract for up to five years, a generous research budget and a salary expected to be in the region of €10,000 (£6,870) a month, twice that of their Finnish counterparts.

Institutions are free to set out the terms of employment with regard to salary, fringe benefits and length of contract.

Successful candidates will be expected to work for at least one year. The usual maximum is about five years. Selected academics may stay on if their research is of exceptionally high quality and deemed relevant to Finnish society.

Finnish universities and research institutes wishing to take part need to draft project proposals and suggest names of experts they would like to be considered for posts. An international evaluation board will assess the suitability of each candidate.

Parliament has earmarked additional research funding for the academy of just under €20 million for 2006-07. The Government proposed that this amount be used primarily to recruit foreign talent. Finland spends 1.01 per cent of its gross domestic product on research and development, the second highest proportion in the European Union.

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