Inspiration for international research partnerships during the pandemic from FinCEAL grantees

May 7, 2021

Great examples from FinCEAL Plus BRIDGES grantees on how to build and maintain international research partnerships during the pandemic. Find inspiration and apply to get your grant!

The FinCEAL Plus BRIDGES Partnership Support Instrument 2021 call was opened for applications in February. Activities applied for must respond to one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals and support either the initiation or re-establishment/development of a collaborative research​​​​​​ partnership with a peer (or peers) in Africa, Asia, or the LAC regions. Find the full call here.

A number of grants have already been granted, but the call will remain open until November or until all the funding is committed. Get inspired by the current grantees' activities through the examples below, and apply for your grant here.

Example 1: Re-establishing or developing existing partnerships

One grantee applied for a grant for human capacity-building. They will invite a partner to visit Finland for several months to attend trainings and discuss joint research collaboration opportunities and new projects. The trainings will help develop new knowledge and skills for their specific research topic. The researchers will also use the opportunity to co-write a book chapter.

Another grantee will organize a hybrid conference - both live and online - to re-establish partnerships across three continents, as previously developed ideas for collaboration were left unattended when the pandemic began. The conference will include pre- and post-activities around local research projects and education development programmes to ensure efficient relationship-building. Partners aim to also produce a peer-reviewed conference publication.

Example 2: Initiation of new partnership

Esa Mikkonen (LAB University of Applied Sciences) used the grant to invite partner university students on an online course as a basis for building further collaboration. In their own words:

Finland is a major player in forest product industries globally: about 80% of Finnish production is exported and that makes about 20% of Finnish export revenue. LAB University in Lahti is the only place in Finland educating wood technology engineers, who often end up in jobs involving foreign trade. At the same time LAB University is building up an international education network, as we are operating in a truly global economy in our business now.

We had been in touch with the Universidad de la Republica (UDELA) in Montevideo, Uruguay already last year. While discussing with the UDELA colleagues about various forms of potential cooperation we decided that getting a few students from UDELA to participate in our already established International Timber Academy might be a good introductory course to what LAB can offer.

We heard about the FinCEAL grants through the Uruguayan Embassy in Helsinki and, in the end, we were pleased to accommodate two UDELA students on our course – the grant covering the tuition fees. The course is now well on its way and we lecturers have really enjoyed the new South American angle to discussions regarding forestry, forest products, and so on.  

Find more information on the course website.

Example 3: Initiation of new partnership

Dr. Sanaul Haque from the University of Oulu got a FinCEAL grant to carry out a workshop on wellbeing-aware digital design with partners from Hamid Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Qatar. The workshop aims to enhance interdisciplinary exchange and build connections and initiate new collaborations between the University of Oulu, HBKU, and other peers in Asia.

The organizers hope to promote the research activities of both partners and open corridors for future partnership in education and research by presenting recent research projects and the policy changes achieved through them; to enhance the interdisciplinary exchange of researchers and students at both universities; and to engage relevant stakeholders in local funding applications from Qatar, EU funded projects, staff-student exchange programmes, and career networking.

The grant will be used to cover speaker/trainer costs, as well as advertisement, personnel, and report costs. 

Photo credit: Ambrose Chua, 2017 on Unsplash