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Complaints in connection with procedural errors

Complaints regarding the denial of funding or rejection of grant applications on formal grounds may only be submitted to the Research Council if a procedural error has taken place during the application review process or there has been a fundamental deficiency or shortcoming in the exercise of discretion. Decisions taken by the Research Council are exempted from the provisions of the Public Administration Act regarding the right to appeal to a superior administrative agency, which means that applicants whose grant applications are rejected are not entitled to obtain a new review of the case by means of appeal.

Limited right to lodge complaints

Complaints regarding Research Council decisions are dealt with by an independent, external Appeals Committee. The only complaints that may be submitted are complaints in connection with procedural errors or fundamental deficiencies or shortcomings in the manner in which the Research Council has exercised its expert discretion.

A procedural error refers to a violation of the general provisions of the Public Administration Act on administrative proceedings or the Research Council's own regulations regarding procedures for processing applications for research funding.

A fundamental deficiency or shortcoming in the exercise of discretion refers to a situation in which the Research Council has exceeded its authority to exercise discretion in connection with a funding decision. This may, for example, involve situations in which extraneous considerations were allowed to determine the basis for a decision; arbitrary, biased or highly unreasonable decisions have been made; or the decisions that have been taken lead to subjective differential treatment in relation to other applicants.

The Research Council’s academic or expert assessments may not be appealed

Decisions regarding the allocation of research funding are not directly pursuant to an act of legislation or regulation, but are taken based on an academic or expert assessment of the grant application’s quality and relevance relative to the call for proposals. Although an applicant may disagree with the substance and outcome of these assessments, this does not give grounds to lodge a complaint.

Formal requirements and deadlines

Complaints may only be put forth by the Project Owner (via the project administrator). The deadline for submitting a complaint is three weeks after notification of a decision. Complaints must be submitted in writing, and must clearly state the reasons why the complaint is being lodged.

Complaint forms:
Complaint regarding rejection on formal grounds of grant application DOCX - 23 KB
Complaint regarding rejection of a grant application DOCX - 19 KB

Administrative procedures in connection with complaints

Complaints are to be sent to the Research Council of Norway (attn. the case officer), which will assess whether the complaint is justified and the decision should be set aside. The complainant will be notified of the conclusion. If the Research Council chooses to uphold its original ruling, the matter will be submitted to the Research Council’s external Appeals Committee accompanied by a letter specifying the reasons why the complaint has not been accepted. A copy of this letter will be forwarded to the complainant, who then has three weeks to submit comments. After the three weeks are up, the Appeals Committee will review the case.

If the Appeals Committee finds that the Research Council’s decision is invalid due to procedural error or to fundamental deficiencies or shortcomings in the exercise of discretion, the Committee will revoke the original ruling and return the matter to the Research Council for a new assessment.

Members of the Appeals Committee

• Jan Fridthjof Bernt, Professor, University of Bergen (chair)
• Kari Nygaard, Director General, Norwegian Institute for Air Research (member)
• Ingvild Ulrikke Jakobsen, Associate Professor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway (member)
• Dagfinn Myhre, Vice President, Head of Communications & External Relations, Telenor Group (member)

The Appeals Committee is authorised by the Executive Board as the final administrative appeal body of the Research Council of Norway.

Special complaints procedures

Information about the complaints procedures for the SkatteFUNN Tax Incentive Scheme are available upon request from the SkatteFUNN secretariat. See www.skattefunn.no.
For complaints procedures relating to applications to the regional research funds, see www.regionaleforskningsfond.no.
 

Published:
31.03.2015
Last updated:
19.05.2017