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Research funding available from Kela

Published 9.6.2023

Kela can offer funding for research focusing on rehabilitation, the prevention of illness or health insurance. The provision of funding is based on Section 12 of the Act of Parliament concerning the rehabilitation services and allowances provided by Kela (referred to below as the KKRL Act).  Research projects dealing with the prevention of illness must be focused primarily on secondary prevention (attempting to arrest the progress of a diagnosed condition). Funding is provided on a discretionary basis.

About research funding

New annual rounds of application for research funding are usually launched at the turn of the year. Notifications of new application rounds are posted on the Kela Research website. In the notification, Kela Research may invite applications on specific research topics (targeted funding). New application rounds focusing on topics of current interest may be launched at any time of the year (flexible application round). Notifications of flexible application rounds are posted on the Kela Research website.

Principles of awarding research funding

The amount of funds available is limited. The funding is targeted towards research relevant to the development of health insurance and rehabilitation and to the prevention of illness (secondary prevention). Decisions on research funding are made on the basis of Kela’s own assessment, an expert evaluation of the submitted research plan, the accompanying documents and the research team, and the significance of the research for Kela. The issues considered when making funding decisions include the potential of the research to provide information on the topics referred to in Section 12.3 of the KKRL Act 

  • the scientific quality, general applicability and practical usefulness of the research
  • the appropriateness and usefulness of the research relative to the object of the study and the validity of the research methods selected the quality and adequacy of the data and the compatibility of the data, study hypothesis and selected methodology
  • the research team’s level of experience
  • how clear and realistic the funding and scheduling of the project are
  • questions of research ethics.

Funding can be provided towards

  • the salaries, compensation and indirect wage costs of researchers and other research staff
  • the costs of acquiring the research data, statistical analyses and and the costs of expendable materials
  • necessary travel costs
  • the cost of publishing under the Open Access model.

The indirect salary costs may not exceed 30% of the estimated salaries, while the unspecified general costs may not exceed 15% of the total budget of the project. The research team must take out appropriate insurance as required by the research, travel or issues of liability. Cost estimates for the insurance cover can be appended to the application for research funding.

Amount and allocation of research funding

The amount of funding varies according to the nature of individual research projects and how extensive they are. Funding can be provided for up to three years and up to an amount of €300,000 unless good reasons can be shown to support a request for a larger amount of funding. Funding is not provided for the development of public health services or for basic medical or other research, or for commercial purposes. Funding can usually only be provided for selected applications. Also partial funding that represents only a share of the request amount may be provided.

Follow-up funding is only provided for reasons that are well justified. Applications for follow-up funding must include details on how the previous funding was used, an analysis of how the research has progressed towards the goals it set out to reach, and an explanation of why follow-up funding is needed.

Funding can be awarded to an organisation or other entity carrying out the research. Individual researchers are awarded funding only in exceptional cases, and must cover their own pension, insurance and tax obligations.

The distribution of Section 12 funding is supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Advisory Board on Rehabilitation and the Kela Board.

Review of applications

If the project would more appropriately be funded with development funds available under Section 12 of the KKRL Act, the application is automatically submitted for consideration as part of the application process for development funding (in Finnish,

All of the research projects that are awarded funding are posted on the Kela Research website once the funding agreements have been finalised.

Anyone dissatisfied with Kela’s decision may appeal to the Administrative Court within thirty days of the notification of the decision. Appeal instructions are included with the decision.

Funding agreement and reporting of research progress

An agreement is made by Kela and the party conducting the research about the implementation and funding of the research. If no agreement is concluded within six months of Kela’s decision, the decision on funding becomes void.

A funding agreement requires the researchers to have a research permit from their organisation, the necessary permissions to access the data used in the research, and where necessary a favourable statement from the Ethics Committee.

The agreement covers such issues as

  • the schedule for the release of funding
  • reporting on the progress of the research in conjunction with the release of each tranche of funding
  • specific grounds for suspending or recovering the funding.

Progress of the project and the use of the provided funds must be reported at least once a year to coincide with the release of tranches of funding. Once the research has been concluded, a final report outlining the results of the research, the publications generated, and the way the funding was used must be provided. Also required is a maximum two-page summary of the final report which is aimed at the general public and which will be posted on Kela’s website. Particular attention when reporting the results should be paid to their usefulness.

Also the articles and reports published on the research must be publicly available. It is recommended that the results be made available in Open Access publications.

Additional information:

Privacy statement for the register of applications for research funding


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