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It is very important that the guidelines recognise the role of research and technology infrastructures in both catering to the needs of RDI actors and making Finland more attractive. It is particularly good that the guidelines support the decision made in the framework budget negotiations of the Finnish government concerning Finland’s participation in the competition to host a next-generation EuroHPC supercomputer after the current LUMI will reach the end of its lifecycle in a couple of years. The role of data as the raw material of data-intensive RDI must also be taken into account, and coherent development of convergent data and computing infrastructures ensured.

A new EuroHPC supercomputer will make it possible to continue to develop e.g. AI and quantum computing in Finland which will strengthen Finland’s technological competitiveness and competence base as well as attract new talent to Finland. High-Performance Computing (HPC) is a good investment also because it pays for itself many times over. For example, one euro invested in CSC’s HPC services in 2018-2023 brought 25-37 euros back to the society, according to a recent study conducted by Taloustutkimus.

It is good that both the draft multiannual plan and the recently adopted General Government Fiscal Plan for 2025-2028 include commitments to increase matching funding for EU R&D funding. In order to ensure comprehensive and diverse RDI activities, matching funding must be made available to all public RDI actors, not only higher education institutions and national research institutes. It is also important to strengthen national cooperation in support of successful participation in EU funding calls as well as to think of ways to support and resource the laborious preparatory phase of EU projects.

Strengthening of R&D cooperation is a very important objective that must cover not only cooperation between public and private research actors but also interdisciplinary and international cooperation, e.g. through international research infrastructure projects. Funding mechanisms for joint projects between companies and research institutes / higher education institutions must incentivise companies to invest in their own R&D capabilities and human resources.

Competence development is a key prerequisite for impactful R&D. As research is becoming more and more data-intensive, it is important to pay particular attention to developing competences related to the development and use of data and computing infrastructures as well as data management in all fields. Competences must be strengthened not only through education available through the formal education system but also through enabling learning-by-doing and peer learning in the ecosystems and cooperation projects emerging around data and computing infrastructures.

In addition to funding, it is important to ensure that societal structures support, enable and promote RDI. As stated in the draft plan, innovation-friendly regulation is a key condition for research. It is crucial to make a comprehensive review of legislative frameworks from this perspective, paying particular attention to regulation related to the mobility, availability and reusability of data.

More research-friendly regulation is needed for e.g. facilitating research use of sensitive data, including health data. The Act on the Secondary Use of Health and Social Data as well as its implementing regulation on secure processing environments must be renewed to facilitate reuse and combining of data. In addition, it is important to ensure that the perspective of RDI use of health data is taken into account in the evaluation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation as well as the reform of national data protection regulation foreseen in the government programme.

Read the full statement (in Finnish) (pdf)