Relationship of RDI policy steering and other steering in Finland with the utilisation of EU programme funding

Finland has succeeded relatively well in the quantitative repatriation of RDI funding from the EU's RDI programmes. However, in the increasingly complex international RDI environment, long-term and efficient utilisation of EU RDI funding requires that the objectives and methods be clarified.

The principles for the utilisation of EU RDI funding are unclear and vague in many respects. In addition to effective methods, there are also deficiencies in supporting the participation. It is difficult to assess the success of utilisation of EU funding and the promotion of it.

The audit assessed the compatibility of the steering of the national RDI policy and activities with the EU RDI funding during the Horizon framework programme periods. The audit also examined the starting points and preconditions for the utilisation of EU RDI funding in Finland.

The effectiveness of the utilisation of EU funding and its support measures is monitored by means of quantitative data. However, extensive high-quality research and evaluation data is available only occasionally and in a limited amount to serve as the basis for strategic choices and policy decisions. The unclarity of the principles for the utilisation of EU RDI funding, the scarcity of information and its poor management have led to or are leading to a vicious cycle that prevents development. Breaking it requires wide-ranging and long-term development.

Based on the audit, the National Audit Office recommends that the Government, under the leadership of the Research and Innovation Council, should prepare performance and impact targets for the EU’s RDI programmes and the utilisation of EU RDI funding and align them with other sectoral and policy objectives and the procedures of the multiannual R&D funding plan. The responsible ministries should clarify the tasks of compiling, evaluating and providing information that promotes the utilisation of EU RDI funding.