Research and development

Development and implementation of environmental policy and legislation in both national and international contexts. Foresight work, assessments, decision-making. All these need a solid knowledge base. The Ministry’s research and development activities produce information that supports the preparation and decision-making work.

R&D activities contribute to the Ministry’s core processes, such as law drafting and guidance. The key content of these activities comprises studying the relations between different elements of environmental legislation, streamlining the processes, and developing impact assessments and monitoring of the state of the environment. 

R&D activities of the Ministry of the Environment include analyses, assessments and syntheses, as well as communication to promote the utilisation of the outcomes, such as web portals and seminars. In addition, practices are developed and introduced that will make it easier to utilise research knowledge as the basis for preparation and decisions. Read more about the interactive methods of research cooperation and scientific sparring below.

We enjoy cooperation, so please contact us

R&D activities require close cooperation with the scientific community, i.e. universities and research institutes. We want to be involved when research projects, programmes or organisations are thinking about stakeholder cooperation. 

The Ministry of the Environment also engages in R&D cooperation with other administrative branches, research funders, business life and science advice bodies. The Ministry is active in the field of R&D funding of the EU as well.

Proactive approach to information needs at the core of the research strategy

Research and development activities contribute to the strategy of the Ministry of the Environment: its objectives cannot be reached without strong R&D activities. A specific R&D Strategy of the Ministry of the Environment was published in 2020.

Objectives of R&D activities of the Ministry of the Environment 2025

1. The Ministry of the Environment makes systematic and proactive use of information produced by R&D activities and develops practices that meet the Ministry’s needs to ensure an adequate knowledge base for law drafting and decision-making.

  • The Ministry builds close links between research activities and foresight work to identify and predict important research needs.
  • The Ministry focuses even more on the utilisation of foresight and research information to support strategic decision-making and guidance.
  • Of the research institutes, the most important individual R&D partner of the Ministry of the Environment is the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, which provides information, expert support and services that meet the Ministry’s needs. The Ministry supports the role of the Finnish Environment Institute as a leader and key player in environmental and sustainability research in Finland and internationally, thus ensuring high-quality information and expert support for its work.
  • The Ministry creates internal structures and communication channels to improve the competence related to research activities, ensure the flow of information, crystallise the role of research activities and establish the practices.

2. The Ministry of the Environment is active in R&D networks to improve the impact of environmental research.

  • The Ministry supports the targeting of national and international research funding to topics that are important for the environment and the Ministry.
  • The Ministry promotes the access to and use of data resources and the already available research knowledge.
  • The Ministry contributes to the development of procedures for interactive research cooperation together with scientific advisory and research projects.

Positive experiences from scientific sparring in the reform of the Nature Conservation Act

The Ministry of the Environment and the development project on science advice Sofi carried out a joint experiment on scientific sparring, a new kind of operating model for science advice. Ten researchers from different fields of science were invited to consider the impacts of the new Nature Conservation Act on biodiversity, climate, society and the economy. The process was based on the preliminary proposals for amendments and new sections to be included in the Act.

The experiences of the law drafters and researchers from this sparring exercise were very positive. This new kind of cooperation with researchers strengthened the law drafters’ understanding of how the planned measures will meet the objectives of the Act and gave them a more accurate understanding of its impacts.

Stronger knowledge base for preparation – Public official’s guide to cooperation with researchers

In 2020–2021, nine pilot projects on interactive cooperation with researchers were implemented at the Ministry of the Environment. The main focus was on customising the cooperation to the needs of the preparation project, interdisciplinary and collective approach and interaction.

The experiences gained from the projects have been compiled in a guide, which also gives step-by-step advice on implementing cooperation with researchers. The guide is mainly intended for public officials preparing matters at the ministries.

More information