Finnish sports research has good output-input ratio

Measured in terms of publishing activity, Finnish sports research's output-input ratio is good. At 82 per cent, the state share of funding in Finland is the highest among the Nordic countries, writes Leena Häänpää, chair of the National Sports Council's Subcommittee for Sports Sciences and Physical Education.

The objective of the evaluation of the scientific domains was to generate a general conception of the condition of sport sciences in the Nordic countries, both within each country and as a whole. My own opinion is that that general understanding was achieved in good fashion, all things considered.

The metrics that the evaluation used for the standard and state of research indicate many interesting differences – for example, how the number of sports research personnel varies from one Nordic country to another, and what sort of standard those countries' scientific publications meet. They also depict a disproportion in the ratio of teaching personnel to doctoral students, especially in Finland.

Measured in terms of publication activity, the effectiveness of Finnish sports research, according to the output-input metrics, is high! Over the 2006-2010 measurement period, the most scientific articles based on double-blind evaluation were produced in Finland, the greatest part of these being articles on medicine and health science. Among the Nordic countries, according to the report, the medical and health sciences' share of sports research personnel is highest in Finland. The report indicates very clearly that, in Finland, major investments have been made in research in sports medicine in the last decade.

Data on amounts of funding and on funding sources were based on information reported by the units that participated in the study. The key result is that Finnish sports research is extremely dependent on state funding, whose share was the highest, among in the countries being compared, at 82 per cent. The difference between Finland and Denmark, which functions with the least state funding (45 per cent) was no less than 37 per cent. In Finland, industry funds the sports sector very marginally, and the share of international funding is also low. In future, those conducting sport-sciences research – regardless of the scientific domain - should also consider seeking funding from sources other than the traditional, ministerial providers.