The Nessling Foundation starts a collaboration with the Sustainability Transformations Doctoral Education Pilot – “We are in a hurry to overcome the eco-crisis”

The aim of the collaboration is to promote sustainability transformation and its public discourse by bringing together doctoral researchers at the same stage of their studies and creating a broader network of stakeholders around the topic.

The Nessling Foundation annually funds around 10–15 doctoral researchers whose work supports sustainability transformation that protects natural systems. The Finnish government has allocated funding for 1,000 new doctoral education positions through the so-called doctoral education pilot for the years 2025–2027. Of these positions, 40 have been granted to the sustainability transformation pilot led by the University of Eastern Finland.

The doctoral education pilot seeks to advance sustainability transformations research in an interdisciplinary and extensive manner.

“It is delightful that 40 of the new doctoral positions are specifically dedicated to promoting sustainability transformation. We know there are many capable researchers, as we receive far more funding applications than we can grant. We are living in a decade of critical action, and we are in a hurry to overcome the eco-crisis. It is very natural to build cooperation between the researchers funded by the Nessling Foundation and those in the doctoral pilot, and we believe that this collaboration will benefit not only all parties involved but also the progress of sustainability transformation in Finland,” says Katja Bargum, Science and Executive Director at the Nessling Foundation.

The sustainability transformation doctoral pilot will commence in January 2025 and continue for three years. The pilot involves 10 universities and the Finnish Environment Institute. The collaboration between the Nessling Foundation and the pilot will be initiated with a shared event calendar for the researchers. All entities involved in the pilot will contribute to the shared calendar with events, trainings, and networking opportunities, which the researchers from both the pilot and the Nessling Foundation can participate in.

“Our programme brings together sustainability transformation researchers in a way that allows them to easily cross the boundaries of their own disciplines. I am convinced that our interdisciplinary research will yield truly transformative solutions for society,” says Professor Arto O. Salonen, who leads the sustainability transformation doctoral pilot.

The doctoral researchers funded by the Nessling Foundation who will participate in the pilot collaboration are those starting their funding periods in 2024 and 2025. This aims to ensure that all participating doctoral candidates are at a similar stage in their studies.

The Nessling Foundation’s general call for funding is open from 12 August to 30 August 2024. A total of €2.3 million is available to promote sustainability transformation. In the general grant call, we are looking for innovative projects and active researchers and actors that enable or support sustainability transformation that protects natural systems. Applicants can apply for a personal grant for up to four years for doctoral research, a personal grant for up to two years for postdoctoral research, or a one-year project funding for science-based action projects. Read more about the general call.

The Sustainability Transformations Doctoral Education Pilot includes universities such as Aalto, Helsinki, Eastern Finland, Jyväskylä, Lappeenranta-Lahti, Lapland, Oulu, Tampere, Turku, and Vaasa, as well as the Finnish Environment Institute Syke. The selected doctoral students will be directly employed by the universities involved in the pilot. The pilot is led by Professor Arto O. Salonen from the University of Eastern Finland, and its coordination is managed by Research Manager Meri Löyttyniemi. The research topics in the pilot include, for example, citizens’ lifestyles, planetary health and well-being, production and consumption, governance and law, and cultural transformations. Read more about the sustainability transition doctoral pilot.