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Research institutes:

New minimum basic funding requirements

The Research Council has expanded the minimum requirements that research institutes must satisfy to receive public basic funding.

Currently, 52 research institutes receive basic funding from the Research Council, and several others are seeking to come on board. So far five new institutes have applied to be included in the funding scheme. The institutes already receiving basic funding will be assessed as well.

In expanding on the eight main requirements for basic funding for research institutes, the Research Council has established numerical criteria regarding, among other things, the size an institute must be to receive basic funding, the amount of scientific publication required, and the proportion of the institute’s revenues that must come from commissioned research.

Size, publication and revenues

Four of the requirements are directly linked to the research institute’s activities. The numerical criteria are based on the key figures reported each year by all research institutes.

The following minimum requirements have been set:

National and international revenues from commissioned research must comprise at least 25 per cent of the institute’s total R&D revenues.

Scientific publication measured in terms of publication points per academic person-year must comprise at least one-third of the average for the institute’s field.

The research institute must employ scientific personnel equalling at least 20 person-years.

The research institute’s revenues from funding sources, such as the Research Council and the EU, must comprise at least 10 per cent of its total R&D revenues.

Overall assessment

“The Research Council will assess whether new research institutes are eligible to receive basic state funding. The institutes currently encompassed by the scheme will be assessed as well,” says Anders Hanneborg, Executive Director of the Division for Science at the Research Council. “The Research Council will assess whether new research institutes are eligible to receive basic state funding. The institutes currently encompassed by the scheme will be assessed as well,” says Anders Hanneborg, Executive Director of the Division for Science at the Research Council. (Photo: Sverre Jarild) In addition to meeting the numerical criteria, the institutes must undergo an assessment based on general research policy criteria. The Research Council will use this assessment as a basis for determining whether an institute will be included in the basic funding scheme.

“It is especially important in this connection to assess whether the institute should remain an independent entity or whether it would be more beneficial for the research institute to become part of a larger organisation, such as by merging with other institutions,” says Anders Hanneborg, Executive Director of the Division for Science at the Research Council.

All institutes will be assessed

The requirements are the same for all research institutes. Research institutes already encompassed by the funding scheme as well as those seeking to be included will be assessed in relation to the new, expanded criteria.
Given its strategic responsibility for the institute sector, the Research Council is obligated to follow the development of all the institutes receiving basic funding.

“The objective is to develop a dynamic, competitive institute sector that is capable of fulfilling its responsibility to society,” says Mr Hanneborg.

From application to allocation

Institutes wishing to have the Research Council assess whether they satisfy the requirements must submit an application to the Research Council. The Research Council’s Executive Board conducts the formal assessment, and the Council’s recommendation will be sent to the ministry responsible for the relevant type of institute. If the ministry approves the application and agrees to provide basic funding, the allocation will appear in the national budget.

If an institute is found not to satisfy the requirements following the annual review of key figures it will be asked to prepare an action plan and implement activities in order to reach those targets. At the earliest, any recommendation from the Research Council to discontinue an institute’s participation in the basic funding scheme will be made two years later. This will give the institute reasonable time to bring its activities up to a level that meets the requirements. 

Written by:
Synnøve Bolstad/Else Lie. Translation: Connie Stultz/Carol B. Eckmann
Published:
03.07.2014
Last updated:
13.09.2016