HIIT Call 2018-5 Proposals to Support the Helsinki ICT Community

Mon, 12.03.2018

In these calls, we wish to support initiatives that support HIIT's mission. Next deadline in 2018 is 15.5.2018. The following dealine after that is 7.6.2018 and the calls will also continue in the autumn. Please note that there are changes to the call text 22.2.2018. The changes are underlined.

In these calls, we are looking for proposals related to following activities: 

  • events - organization of events
  • collaboration - initiating new university-company, cross-university and/or multi-disciplinary scientific collaboration
  • invite post-docs - inviting potential talented postdoc candidates to visit Finland
  • visit abroad - sponsoring of longer research visits abroad
  • career - boosting the career of highly successful doctoral students
The idea is that in these open calls the target is to support activities with clear added value and high potential impact, in cases where no existing funding instrument is easily available or the available funding is not sufficient.

In case you have an excellent idea that you feel does not fit well to any of the categories below, please send email to Patrik Floréen.

Note that this call is NOT limited to the HIIT research programmes, but OPEN to the whole Helsinki ICT community, defined for this purpose as the HICT network: the main applicant / contact person needs to be listed as a HICT supervisor at www.hict.fi/supervisors. Younger researchers or even students are encouraged to apply (when applicable), and listed as co-applicants, as long as their supervisor / the main applicant is a member of HICT. Please make sure that the main applicant is informed, as the main applicant will be the contact person, also responsible for the reporting.

Prepare your application online via Webropol

Call target

The mission of HIIT is to enhance the quality, visibility and impact of research on information technology, and we are looking for initiatives that support this mission. Our longer-term (over one year) commitments are channeled through postdoctoral researcher positions in the strategic HIIT research programmes; in this call we focus on shorter-term funding and support activities that take place during the calendar year of 2018 - these activities may continue even further in the future, but the requested funding needs to be spent by the end of this year (31.12.2018). Activities to be funded may have started earlier, before submitting a funding request. We expect typical funding requests to be between 1.000 and 20.000 euros (with the lower end for example for sponsoring a workshop, and higher end for funding MSc thesis work (e.g., a few person-months) on a topic supporting new collaborative research. In exceptional cases, we may consider even larger grants.

Decision criteria

As already stated above, the objective of HIIT is to enhance the quality, visibility and impact of the Helsinki region research on information technology, so successful applications are expected to clearly support one or more of these objectives. In addition, as a joint research institute of Aalto University and University of Helsinki, priority is given to applications initiating or enhancing collaboration between the two universities, supporting common focus areas in ICT and the strategies of both universities, and demonstrating clear added value by supporting activities that might not take place without this support.

There is no restriction on the number of the proposals a professor can submit, but in the funding decisions, we may also consider the overall balance between the various fields of ICT (in Helsinki).

Decision process

The funding decisions will be made by the HIIT Steering Group on 18th of January 2018, and for the forthcoming calls, in the following HIIT Steering Group meetings.

Funding categories

EVENTS - Support for organizing of events

  • The target of this funding category is to provide support for organizing workshops, conferences, hackathons, bootcamps, summer schools or other events in Finland or abroad. In the application, please explain who is the targeted audience, how you plan to market your event, and how this event will increase the visibility, impact or quality of Helsinki ICT. In marketing, HIIT expects to be acknowledged for sponsoring the event. The event may take place abroad, for example, as a satellite workshop of a major conference, but the main applicant needs to be a HICT supervisor, and in charge of the organization of the event. HIIT provides typically only partial support (e.g., covering traveling expenses of one or two invited speakers). In addition to financial support, we can also help in acquiring a "university neutral" web site for the event (under www.hiit.fi), if the event is jointly organized by the two universities, and the organizers do not wish to use the default web templates of Aalto or University of Helsinki. HIIT currently does not maintain its own administrative staff, so the practical arrangements need to be handled by the applicants themselves together with their local service organizations.

COLLABORATION - Support for initiating new university-company, cross-university and/or multi-disciplinary scientific collaboration

  • HIIT is willing to support new research initiatives that involve at least two research groups interested in common potentially high-impact research challenges that require collaboration of several research groups. Such collaboration is often multi-disciplinary and cross-university: strengthening collaboration within a single department is not totally out of the picture, but not our first priority. However, note that the proposals do NOT have to include research groups both from the Aalto and UH CS departments: for example, new collaboration between an Aalto CS professor and another professor at University of Helsinki (not necessarily CS), or perhaps another school in Aalto, makes a good candidate for this funding. Concretely, such an initiative could be, for example, funding for a MSc thesis work supervised by a HICT professor, on a multidisciplinary topic agreed upon with the new potential collaborator (and utilizing their expert knowledge or data).

  • HIIT is also willing to support new research initiatives that involve on the one hand one or several research groups in Aalto University or University of Helsinki and on the other hand one or several companies or public organizations. Please note that it says "university-company" in the headline to be short, but the counterpart can also be public organizations. The objective of these new research initiatives is to explore grounds for further collaboration. Ideally, this would be a seed for planning a new research project, which would seek separate external funding.
  • Visits abroad are generally not supported by this instrument, unless the visit is directly linked to a concrete project proposal: for example, travel funding related to planning of a new EU project proposal is OK (but the purpose of the trip has to be clearly explained in the application).

INVITE POST DOCS - Support for inviting potential talented postdoc candidates to visit Finland

  • Recruitment of talented postdoctoral researchers is one of the key elements in advancing HIIT's mission. HIIT coordinates joint postdoc calls twice a year, but in addition to the regular calls, we now launch a new continuous call for inviting especially talented postdoctoral candidates to pay a visit to Helsinki/Espoo. The idea: in case you meet a person you think would be an excellent candidate for a postdoc position, but no suitable call is open at the moment, you can invite such a person for a short site visit, and HIIT can cover the expenses provided that the following requirements are fulfilled:
    • The candidate is truly exceptional, and would strengthen the Helsinki ICT community
    • The candidate is looking for a postdoctoral position
    • The candidate is willing to give a guest lecture both in Otaniemi and in Kumpula
    • The visit program and the candidate's CV are planned and publicly announced well before the visit
    • The candidate can be interviewed by any member of the Helsinki ICT community
    • If several parties are interested in making an offer, the candidate is informed jointly of all the available possibilities, and the candidate will decide with whom to start negotiations
  • The inviting host is responsible of all the practical arrangements (including arranging meetings with other professors willing to interview the visitor).

VISIT ABROAD - Support for longer research visits abroad

  • Researcher visits to high-profile universities or other organizations can be beneficial for increasing the visibility, impact or quality of Helsinki ICT, but the expenses of such visits are often quite high, and funding is typically divided among several funding organizations. HIIT will not cover all the travel expenses of such visits, but can be one of the sponsoring organizations.

CAREER - Boosting the career of highly successful doctoral students

  • In some cases, the last stage of doctoral studies can be somewhat problematic, as the student may have submitted the thesis already for pre-examination, and would be willing to move on in his/her career, but the funding project may "lock" the student in the old research themes and physically in Finland, while getting experiences of new environments and ideas might be better for the student at this stage of the career (and make his/her CV stronger). Moreover, the incentive to finish the PhD as early as possible is not a very good one, if it just means early termination of the contract of the student. To alleviate these problems, HIIT can provide short-term (1-6 months) "bridge funding" for selected students who have shown excellent progress in their studies, and would like to spend some time before defending the thesis in another organization (typically, a foreign university or research organization). The student may even graduate before or during the HIIT-funded period, in which case the funding provides a possibility for a short "pilot postdoc period" that may help in acquiring the actual postdoc position.
  • The main applicant is the HICT supervisor of the student, and the application clearly needs to explain the details of the planned visits. We only consider students whose track record is excellent and who finish the PhD in less than 4 years. In addition to completing the application, please email the summary of the track record of the student (incl. CV and list of completed courses) to Patrik Floréen. Please also indicate the start date of the doctoral studies and leave of absence periods. Estimate when the doctoral studies will be completed.

Prepare your application online via Webropol

HIIT activities handled outside of this call

The items below are just let you know of recent developments and to remind you of other activities currently supported by HIIT.

MSc student rotation program

HIIT wishes to support cross-university rotation of research-oriented MSc students. The implementation of these activities will be planned together with the new rotation programs that are currently being discussed both in Otaniemi and Kumpula.

Helsinki Distinguished Lecture Series

HIIT is coordinating a high-profile lecture series on Future Information Technologies, see http://www.hiit.fi/HelsinkiITLectures. The idea is not to run yet another series of scientific guest lectures, but to attract a more versatile audience and focus on highlighting the research challenges and solutions faced by current and future information technology, as seen by the internationally leading experts in the field. An ideal candidate is an esteemed visionary with an academic background (e.g., the CTO of an IT company, or a university professor with high societal or industrial impact). If you have a suitable candidate in mind, please contact the coordinator of the Lecture Series, Giulio Jacucci. Never initiate discussions with a potential candidate without consulting Giulio first. The final funding decisions will be made by the HIIT steering group.

Joint calls for doctoral student recruitment and evaluation

HIIT organizes through the HICT doctoral education network twice a year a recruitment and evaluation process, with the target to encourage talented students to apply for a doctoral student position in the hosting universities. The reviews produced during the evaluation process can also be used for making decisions about available doctoral student funding. The contact person regarding these activities is Aija Kukkala, email: hict-apply@hiit.fi. Presently there is a call open with deadline 31 January 2018, see https://www.hict.fi/spring_2018!

Joint calls for recruitment of postdoctoral researchers and research fellows

HIIT coordinates joint recruitment activities postdoctoral positions, regardless of the funding source. The goal is to increase our international visibility though jointly organized marketing and evaluation processes. We aim to organize the calls twice a year. The first call for 2018 is planned to be announced in the beginning of January.

Contact person: Patrik Floréen

Last updated on 19 Apr 2018 by Miikka Miettinen - Page created on 12 Mar 2018 by Noora Suominen de Rios