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Project guide for researchers: Research project quality assurance

Contact persons

Research Services
Tiia Saarinen, Senior Advisor Research Funding Advisor
Phone: +358 40 860 9538

Kirsi Rinne, Advisor
Phone: +358 50 440 4150

Johanna Rauhaniemi, Coordinator
Phone: +358 50 516 9339

Karla-Maria Toiviainen, Coordinator
Phone: +358 46 921 1412
(Substitute for Tii Salminen 13.1.2020-30.4.2021)

Financial Services
Miia Putkinen, Controller
Phone: +358 50 475 4395

Sanna Tossavainen, Controller
Phone: +358 50 346 7249


Advisory group`s tasks

  • ensuring that the conditions for undertaking the project are met
  • ensuring that the financier’s terms and instructions are followed
  • monitoring and following the progress of the project
  • ensuring that content-related goals are met
  • approving specific plans of action
  • setting rules for teamwork
  • evaluating the progress of the project
  • processing any changes made to plans (both financial and research plans?)
  • monitoring finances
  • processing/approving intermediate and final reports
  • functioning as an intermediary for stakeholders
  • bearing their part of the responsibility for the project’s effects and results
  • going through results and feedback in their final meeting as well as agreeing on the distribution of the results

Directing the project

The principal investigator, or PI, plays a central role in ensuring the quality and success of a project. The principal investigator is either hired for the project or adopts the role as a part of their other duties, depending on the financier’s terms and university practice. Research projects must be in line with Uniarts Helsinki’s strategy and the targets and measures of the academies and Research Hub. They must also follow the university’s internal operating guidelines (Uniarts Helsinki Quality Manual).

A researcher receiving personal funding, such as a postdoctoral researcher or academy research fellow from the Academy of Finland, directs and manages their own project in a role similar to a principal investigator. Some of the responsibilities outlined for the principal investigator in this guide also apply to a researcher financed by personal funding.

Project guide for researchers: Checklist for the principal investigator

Project management

High-quality project management covers the research project’s entire life cycle from the planning stages through initiation, execution and completion.

In large projects, a project manager or coordinator works alongside the principal investigator in managing the project. The success of the project also requires that each participating researcher understand and fulfil their own role and responsibilities.

High-quality project management includes work distribution; monitoring and evaluating the meeting of deadlines and goals; financial planning and monitoring; documentation and reporting; planning and executing internal and external communications; and managing the risks related to results and finances.

The principal investigator should agree on regular meetings with the project manager or coordinator and financial services (budget monitoring).

The research project must adhere to relevant legislation and national and international principles for the conduct of research. These include ethically sustainable practices, research integrity, open communication of results and sustainable development.

The role of the advisory group

In consortium or ERC projects, the principal investigator is advised to assemble an advisory group and coordinate its meetings. The advisory group is to be made up of people who are interested in the actualisation of the project. It is also recommended to invite a stakeholder or a representative of the project’s target demographic into the advisory group.

The advisory group will hold meetings as often as is necessary for the project. The first meeting will be held immediately following the funding decision. In this meeting, the advisory group will go over their duties, select a chairperson and secretary for the group and agree on meeting practices (i.e. invitations, memos, commission, travel expenses and other compensation).

Financier’s terms and instructions

The project must be carried out according to a plan approved by the financier. Each researcher involved must become familiar with and comply with the terms of the funding decision and the financier’s instructions regarding the project. If the financier does not give specific instructions concerning a specific matter, the university’s instructions and rules apply.

Read about the financiers` instructions: