Seed funding call summer 2024 to boost collaboration between Aalto, KU Leuven and University of Helsinki

Aalto University, KU Leuven and the University of Helsinki launch the 2nd exploratory seed funding call to explore research collaboration possibilities. The goal is to stimulate excellent researchers to join forces to embark on joint research projects that bring added value.
Green leaves in flowing water.

Exploratory seed funding call - deadline 10 September 2024

The University of Helsinki, Aalto University and KU Leuven (Belgium) have forged a strategic partnership to explore research collaboration possibilities.

They now open a call for applications for exploratory seed funding across all disciplines.

The call is open from 15 May 2024 to 10 September 2024 (at 17:00 CET/18:00 EET).

The exploratory seed funding scheme supports initiatives that establish new or intensify existing research collaboration. It is meant for exploring research collaboration possibilities, e.g. by the organisation of joint workshops and for stimulating researchers to join forces to embark on joint research projects. 

The applicant team must be composed of excellent and promising researchers, who have complementary expertise. The project must allow to excel by joining forces, and the probability of being successful in an external competitive EU-funding scheme must be high. 


The call is open for researchers at the University of Helsinki, Aalto University and KU Leuven.  

  • Eligible consortia must include researchers from all three institutions.
  • Applications are submitted by the main PI, who acts as consortium leader, in the name of all three organisations. 

Especially early career researchers are encouraged to apply and involving early career researchers is highly recommended.

At Aalto University and the University of Helsinki, the eligible PI is professor (at any level) or permanent employee of Aalto University/the University of Helsinki, or at least postdoctoral-level researcher having work contract with Aalto University/the University of Helsinki at least until the end of 2025. 

At KU Leuven, the KU Leuven PI meets the conditions to be a promoter or co-promoter of an Internal Funds project. For additional information, please see KU Leuven internal webpage (log-in required). 


The total available funding is up to 450 000 €. The budget allows for the granting of up to fifteen exploration projects of 12 months and maximum 30 000 € for each consortium (of which maximum 10 000 € at each partner). The granted funding is targeted to be used during the year 2025. Each partner’s share of maximum 10 000 € is to be spent at the own university. 

Eligible costs can include consumables, services, travel and accommodation costs, as well as salaries (excluding the PI’s own salary) and scholarships. All costs covered must follow the respective university’s policies and guidelines.

How to apply?

The online application form will open at the start of the application period and close at the deadline on Tuesday 10 September 2024 at 17:00 CET/ 18:00 EET. Applications submitted after the end of the application period will not be considered.

Seed funding is applied using an online application form: link to the online application form. 

The consortium leader must upload the following attachments through the online application form:

  1. Summary slide: Project name and acronym, name of main PI and the two other PIs, project summary (reflecting the evaluation criteria and explaining the project core idea), research/disciplinary area, and name of the targeted EU call (1 slide in pptx).
  2. Research plan (3 pages) and CVs of the three PIs (1 page per person), merged into a single pdf file. The research plan should describe novelty of the proposal, level of ambition, description of the complementarity of all participating teams and the added value of the co-operation (new or to be intensified). 
  3. Estimated total budget of the proposal (max 30 000 €) and, as each partner’s share is to be spent at own university, a simple budget breakdown per institution (max. 10 000 € per partner) (1 page in pdf).

    Note: Total size of all uploaded files should not exceed 20 MBs.

Funding decisions

The evaluation is performed at all participating universities. Funding decisions are made on the basis of a joint evaluation in late December 2024 and the results will be emailed to all applicants.

Evaluation criteria

The evaluation criteria for seed funding applications are: 

  • Quality of the planned collaboration.
  • Novelty of planned future work.
  • Complementarity and added value of the co-operation.
  • Track record of the PI’s.
  • The chances to obtain funding in future EU calls.

Further information

Further information on the call can be requested from:

Aalto University applicants: Mervi Rantanen, Senior Advisor, Global Engagement, [email protected], +358 50 472 2775

University of Helsinki applicants: Anna-Maria Salmi, Head of Services, [email protected], +358 50 415 1687

KU Leuven applicants: Thomas Daniëls, Policy Adviser International Relations, [email protected], +32 16 37 92 55

(Please allow for delays during the vacation season from July1 - August 15.)

KU Leuven, Aalto University and University of Helsinki join forces to boost research collaboration

New seed funding will be awarded jointly to fund up to five exploratory research projects

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Rectors from three universities

For more information please contact

Mervi Rantanen

Mervi Rantanen

Senior Advisor, Global Engagement
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