Research and development
The Strategy 2030 of the Ministry of the Environment “A better environment for future generations” specifies the objectives for the ministry’s activities: we have a good environment and diverse nature and wildlife, Finland will be a carbon-neutral circular economy society, and our urban development is sustainable. Research and development (R&D) activities are the key to reaching these targets, guided by the R&D Strategy of the Ministry of the Environment published in 2020. The R&D Strategy supports the ministry’s objectives by making systematic and proactive use of information produced by R&D activities in law drafting and decision-making and by promoting the ministry’s active role in research and science policy networks. The preparation of the R&D Strategy was based on numerous recently published analyses and studies, which all stress the need to further improve the processes for making the best use of scientific research.
Foresight on the need for research and the R&D Strategy ensure a long-term perspective in R&D activities and improve their efficiency and impact. The ministry’s R&D activities constitute an extensive package that includes influencing the work done by other players in the R&D sector and information gathering at the ministry. The package also includes R&D activities concerned with experimental projects and promoting the use of research and the competence related to this at the ministry.
Full use of knowledge
The ministry’s R&D activities produce information that serves the administration in its foresight work, assessments, decision-making, and the development and implementation of national and international environmental policy and legislation. The R&D activities strengthen R&D cooperation with other administrative branches, the business sector and other funding entities, and they also create and strengthen knowledge-based management and expertise at the ministry and its societal impact.
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 2020 the ministry also decided that it will develop new ways to organise information support for policy-making and law drafting.
R&D activities of the ministry’s departments support the key processes such as law drafting and guidance. The main focus is on projects that have impacts on the preparation of national and EU legislation and binding international agreements and the related statutory enforcement obligations. Key topics that cross departmental boundaries include the analysis of the various kinds of relationships in environmental law, streamlining the processes, developing impact assessments and the monitoring of the state of the environment, and joint foresight work and developing processes for making the best use of scientific research.
Objectives of R&D activities of the Ministry of the Environment
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.
- Driven by the needs, the ministry develops new interactive forms of research cooperation and puts these to use through experiments. The ministry also makes good use of external resources and services.
- 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 and development activities, and consolidate the practices.
2. The Ministry of the Environment adopts an active role in research and in science policy to ensure that the science policy structures support the work on finding solutions to complex environmental issues.
- The ministry is active in influencing national and international research funding to make sure that it is targeted to matters 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 with scientific advisory and research projects.