Finland is reconsidering its activities

Due to worrisome development in European and World economy Finland is evaluating and reconsidering its activities. State administration followed by the private sector and voluntary organizations are rapidly taking actions to adapt to the situation.

Finland is known as one of the most research oriented and research intensive countries in the world. Strong commitment to applying scientific research for the development of the entire society has given the whole nation pole positions in culture, education, and industrial life. During the latest decades Finland has enjoyed steady growth in its economic development as well as in all sectors of the entire society. However, worrisome development is facing us now and along with the turbulence in European and World economy also Finland has become challenged. Consequently, the state administration followed by the private and third sector, has started to evaluate and reconsider its activities in all areas of interest.

One of the cornerstones of the Finnish success story has been investments in scientific research and development activities for decades. To follow current state of science and research the Academy of Finland has conducted regular reviews since 1977. The evaluation reports have been used to analyze scientific research and the national research system in a European and global context as well as to assess the current state of science and research based on various indicators and comparisons. These reports, which follow the terms of the Finnish Research Council, are used to outline future directions for the development of scientific research and the national research system in light of the chosen strategy.

The evaluation reports have uniformly confirmed that both the Finnish Universities and Finnish researchers represent world elite when the research outcomes are calculated per capita. In 2008 Finland used as much as 3.37 % of its GDP for research and innovation activities. This share increased during the whole 1990's and early 2000’s but started to decline rapidly towards the end of the 2010 as reported by the Finnish Academy of Science (The state and quality of scientific research in Finland). This is most challenging news for our political leaders putting additional pressure to their shoulders when they struggle to balance the state economy.

Within the featured articles of the current release of www.sportscience.fi we concentrate on newly published review on Sport Science in Nordic Countries. This report conforms surprisingly well to the general findings of “the state and quality of scientific research in Finland”. Most interestingly the status of Sport Science research in Denmark, Finland, Island, Norway and Sweden are basically in a closely similar situation. All Nordic Countries represent extremely high scientific level and research activity even though they all have their national peculiarities. Their traditions are strong and they have been the forerunners in the field since early 1900’s.

Nordic Sport Science, however, faces challenges as suggested by the review committee. The key players in the field are advised to join forces to draw up a national science strategy. In addition, the report calls for concrete development measures to promote internationalization, advance doctoral training and research careers, develop creative research environments, update research infrastructures, and strengthen the position of science in Nordic societies. In the current economic turbulence this is a challenge not only to Finnish Sport Science but also to the rest of the Nordic Countries.

Kari L. Keskinen, PhD, PT
Executive Director
Finnish Society of Sport Sciences
kari.keskinen@lts.fi