Annual Report 2023: Funding

In order to give a view of the volume of the entire Helsinki ICT community, below is the total external research funding of the four departments mentioned in Organisation. These numbers exclude the basic university funding of the departments supporting research through e.g. faculty salaries, department-funded doctoral student or postdoc positions, so these numbers cover only external, competitive funding earmarked for research. Examples of research supported by HIIT can be found in Highlights and HIIT Fellows.

Table 1: Total external research funding of the Helsinki ICT community in 2000-2023 (sum of the figures for the three departments).

Helsinki ICT (thousand euros)
2023 2022 2021 2020
Academy of Finland 14 325 14 461 12 984 11 783
Business Finland 1 445 2 493 3 369 3 273
European Union 3 191 4 519 4 804 4 835
Industry 1 642 1 328 2 089 3 818
Other funding (ministries, foundations, etc.) 1 986 4 500 4 170 4 588
Total 22 589 27 302 27 599 28 297

pie chart showing external funding sources for 2023
Figure 1. Distribution of external research funding of the Helsinki ICT community in 2023.

HIIT received in year 2023 own funding from Aalto University and from University of Helsinki, 750 000 euro from each. The following table shows how the funding was allocated.

Table 2: HIIT own university funding 2023.

HIIT (thousand euros) Aalto UH Total
Strategic Recruitment 450 450 900
Community Support 130 130 260
Administration 170 170 340
Total 750 750 1500

As can be seen from the table, the funding is directed towards hiring HIIT postdoctoral researchers (“Strategic Recruitment”), see HIIT Fellows and supporting activities of the Helsinki ICT community (“Community Support”), see below for a more detailed report. The administrative costs are salaries for the Director and some other persons supporting the Helsinki ICT Community, see Organisation. Aalto University’s Department of Computer Science and the University of Helsinki’s Department of Computer Science provide general support to HIIT, in relation to e.g. finance and HR. Each researcher is employed at a department and receives administrative support (e.g. IT equipment, HR services) from their home department.

Community Support

HIIT supported the Helsinki ICT Community by providing funding for the following activities:

  • Organising events, such as workshops, conferences, hackathons, bootcamps, and summer schools.
  • Initiating new collaborations on potentially high-impact research challenges, often in a multi-disciplinary and cross-university settings.
  • Inviting postdoctoral researchers for short visits that may lead to recruitment.
  • Visiting high-profile universities or other organisations abroad.
  • Finalizing doctoral research theses.

This funding was not limited to the HIIT focus areas but was open to the whole Helsinki ICT community. In addition, it served an important purpose by being applicable to cases where other funding instruments were not easily available or the funding from other sources was insufficient. For a sample of the activities supported by HIIT, please see Highlights.

In 2023, HIIT funded 52 Community Support proposals: 46% of funding was spent on fostering new collaborations, 19% on doctoral thesis finalization support and 16% on conference travel. Compared to 2022, HIIT funded much more conference travel, supporting 23 researchers to present their work at top-tier conferences.

Figure 2. Distribution of community support funding in 2023.

HIIT awarded funding to 5 doctoral researchers to support the finalization of their doctoral theses and funded 9 new collaborative projects. The Machine Learning Coffee Seminar continued as a weekly hybrid event and HIIT continued to support the Creative Technologies seminar series.