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INVEST is the first Finnish Flagship to get an external assessment

Research Flagship Centre INVEST is commissioning an international external assessment of its activities and future options as the first Finnish Flagship. The assessment will help INVEST and its host organisations to decide on the future of its activities after the end of the current flagship period. 

INVEST is a joint Research Flagship Centre of the University of Turku and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, which aims to create a more equal, proactive and economically and socially sustainable welfare state model for Finland.

Research Council of Finland has granted funding to the INVEST Flagship on two occasions. The current flagship period will run until the end of 2026. The assessment will seek directions for development work.

“Our aim is to continue to be a research ecosystem after the end of the current funding period,” says Professor Jani Erola, Director of INVEST.

The assessment creates three alternative pathways for the future. The future plans are based both on the assumption that flagship funding will continue to be available and on a model without it.

“Flagships are not projects or traditional centres of excellence, but large research ecosystems. We have built a functioning entity and now we need to think about how to ensure the continuity of the ecosystem,” says Erola.

Aim is to ensure continuity of the research ecosystem

Commissioning an assessment is not a requirement of the Research Council of Finland, which funds the Flagships. The motivation for theassessment was born within INVEST.

“Flagships are new organisations and it is not clear how they will be organised after the end of the flagship periods. We can also serve as an example of how to make the transition if the flagship funding from the Research Council of Finland is not continued,” Erola says.

The assessment will focus on three areas: research and its impact, education and its impact, and organisation, structure and management.

The assessment will review and summarise the objective of INVEST and the elements that are particularly valued by the Centre. The assessment will also consider the possible future expansion of INVEST in terms of content, ways of verifying the impact of the research, and an assessment of how the collaboration between the University and the sector research institute has worked.

The assessment team includes Tina Malti, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, Stefan Svallfors, Professor of Sociology at the Stockholm Institute for Futures Studies and Juho Saari, Professor of Social and Health Policy at Tampere University.

Malti is currently the Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Early Childhood Development and Health at Leipzig University, while Professor Svallfors is Secretary General of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division at the Swedish Research Council.

The external assessment team will present its analysis and recommendations to the management of INVEST, the University of Turku, and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in autumn 2024.