Where does the money for marine research come from?

Marine research provides information on the state of the Baltic Sea and its changes, as well as on the protection and utilisation of natural resources. It also provides information about the measures aimed at maintaining or improving the state of the sea.

Suvi Kiviluoto

The author is Researcher in the Sustainable Use of Marine Areas Group at the Finnish Environment Institute.

Reliable, up-to-date, and high-quality research data helps to understand how the ecosystem of the Baltic Sea functions and how the sea affects the climate. Research data is used as a basis in the preparation of maritime policies, as well as in the planning and implementation of measures.

Marine research is funded by many different parties

Finnish marine research focuses mainly on the research of the Baltic Sea. Marine research is funded nationally and internationally from the budgets of ministries, government research institutes, and universities, as well as from competitive research grants.

International research cooperation between the Baltic Sea states is supported, for example, by the Baltic Sea Region Programme, which is maintained by the EU Structural Fund. Also, Business Finland (formerly TEKES) is a key contributor to innovation activities and technological development.

Important channels for competitive research funding include the Academy of Finland's general and targeted research grants, the European Commission's research framework programmes and, for example, the BONUS and Life+ Programmes, which also fund marine research throughout the Baltic Sea region.

Foundations are also important sources of funding for Baltic Sea research. Besides the development of marine research and research methods, many of them support the applied use of information and its presentation in popular forums. Foundations are also working to increase public awareness of maritime issues.

There are various foundations involved in funding marine research. These include the Walter and Andrée de Nottbeck Foundation, Nessling Foundation, and the Kone Foundation. Many public foundations have also funded Baltic Sea research. The foundations grant funds according to their own areas of emphasis, e.g. climate change, experimental ecology, or communication.

When seeking funding, it is a good idea to consider the position of your own research in relation to the goals of the different funders.