B1: Research Funding Services in a changing world: transforming services and working culture

Sanna Villikka, Henna Moore & Cornelia Thomas, University of Helsinki
Aiheet: 2. Yhteistyö, Yleinen

The COVID-19 pandemic forced all organizations to rethink their ways of working and the working culture as a whole. The University of Helsinki Research Funding Services used the sudden change to a virtual working environment to launch new initiatives and to capitalise on the opportunity to increase the overall integration of the team.  While the need for constant evaluation and development of the university services has always been evident  to support the academic community in the changing world, the pandemic made this a priority.  In this presentation, we introduce current ways of supporting researchers in the Research Funding Services at the University of Helsinki, and give examples of our latest initiatives, such as more extensive support for consortia applications, improved university-wide ERC workshops and closer collaboration with the faculty leadership in developing services. Based on the experiences from the first years of the pandemic, we have not only adapted to new agile ways of working, but closely integrated our team across all campuses. This gives us the opportunity to make more effective use of specific expertise in our team. The wide uptake and increasing familiarity with remote communication tools, as well as the standardisation of  these tools even across different organisations,  over the past two years provided a solid basis for introducing new forms of support to the academic community. With these examples we hope to spark an informal discussion on best practices and experiences from other universities.