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INVEST’s three research consortia were granted Strategic Research Council funding

The Strategic Research Council (SRC), established within the Academy of Finland, funds high-quality research with great societal relevance and impact in Finland. SRC-funded research seeks concrete solutions to grand challenges that require multidisciplinary approaches. SRC has selected new consortia for funding. The granted funding amounts to a total of 44 million euros within three SRC programmes. Three of the funded new consortiums are led by INVEST Researchers.

Docent Marika Jalovaara’s consortium Family Formation in Flux – Causes, Consequences, and Possible Futures (FLUX) was granted 3.8 million euros. The multidisciplinary FLUX consortium seeks evidence-based solutions for influencing and adapting to changes in fertility dynamics that accelerate population ageing. The overarching goal is to improve the social and economic sustainability of Finnish society. FLUX focuses on the changing fertility and family dynamics in Finland and provides insights into (1) the underlying causes of the changes, (2) the effects these changes have on individuals and society, (3) the linkages of the dynamics with social and gender inequalities and psychosocial and economic well-being, and (4) how social and family policies at both the state and local government levels can tackle the challenges created by the low-fertility landscape. FLUX brings together leading researchers from demography and other key disciplines relevant to understanding the causes and consequences of changing fertility and family dynamics.

Sociology Professor Antti Tanskanen leads the consortium Social networks, fertility and wellbeing in ageing populations: Building demographic resilience in Finland (NetResilience), which was granted 4 million euros. NetResilience investigates demographic change from the perspective of social networks. Close social ties affect the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, and supporting these networks should become a social policy priority. The main aim is to identify network characteristics that strengthen population resilience, or the ability to adapt to external shocks. The consortium studies how population change affects social networks, and how changing networks, in turn, shape population change and wellbeing. For example, changes in size and structural features of social networks likely play a part in recent fertility declines in many wealthy societies. To study these changes, the consortium applies complex network science methodology to real-life human networks using contemporary register and survey as well as historical Finnish data. The practical goal is to support targeted, cost-effective regional solutions to family, youth and ageing services in regions facing either depopulation or population growth.

Research Manager Maria Vaalavuo leads the consortium Economic and social sustainability across time and space in an ageing society, which was granted 3.7 million euros. Population ageing undermines the economic sustainability of the welfare state. Challenges of fiscal sustainability put current benefit schemes and public services at risk, raising concerns of impairing social sustainability. SustAgeable consortium seeks solutions to protect and promote well-being of the population while restoring the economic sustainability of the welfare state. The consortium will focus on 1) distribution of well-being and resources across geographical areas, generations and population groups, 2) cost-containment of public spending on social and health care services, 3) opportunities to increase employment through prolonging working careers and promoting immigrants’ integration, 4) management of caring responsibilities, and 5) local variations in ageing trends due to immigration and urbanisation. The consortium will produce evidence on how successfully policies mitigate the undesired effects of population ageing on public revenues and spending, polarization and well-being.

More information about the Strategic Research Council