The Research Council receives roughly 6 000 applications each year. Each application undergoes detailed administrative processing relevant to the specific type of application and subject field.
Notification of received applications
Notification that an application has been received is automatically sent by e-mail to the person who has submitted the application, as well as to the institution/company responsible for the project.
The application will be registered in the Research Council at the programme/activity under which funding is sought. After the application has been registered, formal confirmation of receipt will be sent to the applicant (project administrator at the institution/company) along with information regarding the case officer's name, and the project number assigned to the grant application.
A list of the applications currently being processed will be posted monthly on the Research Council's website, www.forskningsradet.no>Søknadsinformasjon> Søknadsstatus
A grant application responds to a call for proposals and is dealt with under the programme/activity from which funding is being sought. In some cases there may be other programmes/activities that will be relevant for the proposal as well. It is up to the applicant (institution/company responsible for the project) to ensure that grant applications are submitted to all appropriate programmes/activities.
Normally, applications will be reviewed by external expert referees before the final decisions regarding grant awards are taken. Allocation decisions are usually taken by the programme boards, expert committees or research board of the relevant Research Council division.
When reviewing grant applications, the referees will employ the assessment criteria established for the type of application and/or in the call for proposals. A scale of marks of either seven or three levels will be applied, dependent on the type of application and stipulations of the call for proposals. The following levels of quality apply in relation to the assessment criteria.
Scale of marks (seven levels):
7 – Exceptional
6 – Excellent
5 – Very good
4 – Good
3 – Fair
2 – Weak
1 – Poor
Scale of marks (three levels):
A – Very good
B – Good
C – Weak
Applications that are externally reviewed are assessed either by a panel comprising several experts or by at least two individual referees. If the opinions of the two individuals consulted are widely divergent, a third expert may be called in to assess the application. To ensure maximum uniformity in the application of the assessment grading scale, referees are in so far as possible requested to review more than one grant proposal.
When there is more than one grant proposal to be assessed within the same subject field, it is beneficial to use a referee panel. The Research Council has found that the use of panels ensures a qualitatively better review process, as the panel members work together to reach a unified, consensus-based assessment, thereby achieving a greater degree of consistency than individual referees who are assessing multiple grant applications on their own. The use of panels contra individual experts may entail less availability of the specialist expertise that can be useful in assessing certain grant applications. However, the Research Council considers it to be more essential that there is broad expertise among all referees, in order to place multiple applications competing for the same funding in the same overall perspective.
Applicants may themselves recommend specific external experts to serve as referees for reviewing their applications. The Research Council is under no obligation to comply with such recommendations, and no application will be subject solely to the review of experts proposed by the applicant. Applicants may also notify the Research Council of any objections (with appropriate grounds) that they might have regarding the use of a specific expert. It should be noted that the Research Council is not required to take such objections into account.
Upon completion of the assessment process, the names of the individuals/members of the panels who have participated will be made available on the Research Council website under Application information > Referees. Information regarding which experts have reviewed the individual applications will be provided in feedback to the applicant and/or upon request.
Impartiality in application assessment
The Research Council has drawn up clearly defined rules regarding impartiality in connection with assessment of grant proposals. Read more about impartiality and confidence in the Research Council here.
Feedback on outcome
After the assessment process is completed, a list of all grant applications that have been awarded funding will be published. The list will contain the project title and name of project owner (institution/company).
In its feedback to applicants, the Research Council strives to provide input on the submitted application’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as information that may prove helpful in connection with future grant proposals. For innovation projects, applicants will receive an overview of the marks assigned to their application in relation to the various criteria assessed, and the overall mark given to the grant application. For other application types, applicants will receive the comments obtained from the referees/panel. The feedback will include information about where to find the list with the names of referees/members of the panel used in the assessment process. This information is also available upon request.
In accordance with Norwegian law, expert referee assessments may no longer be considered exempt from public disclosure once such feedback has been sent out. This means that other interested parties have the right to see the assessment if they submit a request to do so. Before such third-party access is granted, however, the Research Council is under obligation to exempt from public disclosure all information that is subject to duty to secrecy, and may also exempt all specific information relating to research ideas and the research project itself.
More information regarding application processing is available from the contact person stipulated for the relevant programme/activity.
Contracts will be signed for the projects that receive allocations. The contract consists of an agreement document, a project summary and the Research Council's general terms and conditions for R&D projects. The general terms and conditions for R&D projects are available on the Research Council website or by conventional mail delivery in the two written forms of Norwegian (standard Bokmål and Nynorsk) as well as English.
Complaints about administrative procedures
An applicant whose funding proposal has been rejected and who contends that a procedural error or misuse of authority has occurred during the processing of applications is entitled to submit a complaint.
Processing errors: violation of the provisions of the Public Administration Act and the Research Council's own regulations regarding procedures for processing applications for research funding.
Misuse of authority: Violation of general requirements regarding objectivity or unreasonable differential treatment.
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