Focus on Finland

Facts and figures, life scientists in Finland, EMBO opportunities

Finland joined the EMBC as a member state in 1977. Life scientists in Finland are eligible for all EMBO Programmes supporting life scientists in Europe and beyond.

Facts and figures

Finland has a world-renowned education system1, with no tuition fees up to postgraduate level. A large proportion of Finland’s labour force holds a tertiary education degree2 and there is a high number of doctoral graduates3. 

Finland is home to around 17,000 life scientists4. The country is especially strong in fields such as neuroscience, cancer, structural biology, bioinformatics, and genetics. Scientists benefit from a network of public organizations that works closely with research institutions and the private sector. 

Gross expenditure on research and development (GERD) in Finland in 2019 was 2.8% of GDP5. Business enterprise financed 54.3% of GERD expenditure, the Finnish government’s share was 27.8%, and 15.5% was funded from abroad6. Researchers based in Finland have been successful in obtaining funding, through Horizon 2020 projects, European Research Council grants and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions7, and from EMBO8. Initiatives such as Biocenter Finland open up access to technology platforms to researchers across the country.

In 2020, the European Patent Office granted 1,565 patents with first patentees residing in Finland9. Finland has one of the world’s largest prizes for science-based innovations, the Millennium Technology Prize, awarded every two years by the Technology Academy Finland. 

The government has set out an ambitious roadmap to increase GERD to 4% of GDP by 203010. This includes targets to attract international talent and funding.

Population: 5.5 million11
R&D spending: 2.8% of GDP5
Life Scientists: ~ 17,0004
Foreign researchers: 12% of
researchers employed in Finland2
Patents: 1,5659
Universities: 13 with 153,000
students annually12
Universities of Applied Sciences: 22 with 145,000 students
Horizon 2020 funding:
3,208 organizations and 595 SMEs involved in H2020 projects7
144 ERC Principal Investigators8
241 Marie Skłodowska-Curie
Actions funded researchers7

All life scientists in Finland are eligible for the EMBO Programmes supporting life scientists in Europe and beyond.

Find out about all EMBO funding schemes here.

Click to expand

All information as of April 2021.


Meet scientists from the EMBO communities