What should you know if you apply for funding from Kone Foundation in the 2019 call?

The Kone Foundation grant call of 2019 will be open between 1 and 15 September. In his Engine Room column, our Director of Research Funding Kalle Korhonen writes about the special funding call addressed to our grant recipients to support encounters that are environmentally responsible. Additionally he discusses our “Neighbourness” Programme in the context of this year’s grant call.

This Engine Room is in two parts: the first is about the special funding call, and the second one is about the relation of our “Neighbourness” Programme and the September 2019 funding call.

1. Environmentally Responsible Encounters: Seeking for new ideas

It is really depressing to think that in order to avoid carbon dioxide emissions, an academic or an artist should remain in Finland. And you do not have to. The idea behind Environmentally Responsible Encounters, an extraordinary funding call, is to find new ideas on how to create and sustain contacts across national borders or, say, between Helsinki and Rovaniemi, in a world that is hopefully more carbon neutral.

You can also ask when and how travelling profits your research. Recently, Seth Wynes and his colleagues from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver studied the effects of academic travel on academic careers (Journal of Cleaner Production, 2019) by analysing ca. 700 UBC researchers. Vancouver is situated in the periphery like Finland, and in order to move from there to other academic centres one usually has to resort to airborne travel.

Several interesting issues emerged in the study, which was also presented by Wynes in the LSE blog in June . Most importantly, no relationship was found between air travel emissions and metrics of academic productivity, even though, according to previous research, active networking and changing affiliations should increase at least citations. What they found instead was a correlation between regular flying and salary: those who fly more are paid more, even if it is taken into account that academic salaries increase with age. Doctoral students and post docs caused three times less emissions than full professors. Women flew less than men, but the difference was smaller when considering the fact that there are more male professors. Furthermore, academics who study topics related to sustainability did not cause less emissions than their colleagues in other fields, although this can be at least partly explained by the necessity of field work.

In his blog post, Seth Wynes proposes more videoconferencing, changes in promotion requirements, events packed into fewer, longer trips, more ground travel, and disincentives on frequent flying. Ideas on at least some of these can be suggested in our Environmental Encounters call. Even though the extraordinary call is only open for Kone Foundation grantees, its principles are applicable for the general funding call. The foundation can fund traveling emitting less carbon dioxide, even if this would mean higher prices and longer travel times. However, the Foundation will not try to limit actions important for your research, but we wish to see new solutions.

2. An application in the general call can, but need not to be related to the “Neighbourness” Programme

 Our programme “The Changing ‘Neighbournesses’ of Finland” will continue until 2020, but there is no thematic funding call related to it in the autumn of 2019. The programme focuses on the changing neighbournesses of Finland both on the micro and the macro levels, using different approaches. On its background are the changes taking place in the Global North, such as the, the new geopolitical and economic significance of the northern regions caused by climate warming, the tensions in the relations between Russia and the West, and migrations, which have brought new neighbours to the Finnish society. The Foundation asks how humans, groups, states and cultures can live close to each other, communicate and create a sense of community, and how are the neighbour relations within and without Finland changing.

If you apply for funding in Kone Foundation’s autumn 2019 call, please remember that your work can be related to the programme, although there is no thematic call this autumn. But your academic or artistic work does not have to have a connection with the programme. Every year most of our funding for research and the arts is awarded outside the thematic call or the programme. Just be free and bold.


Kalle Korhonen