Preparations for new Centres of Excellence underway:
More applications for SFF status than ever before
A record-breaking 139 applications for SFF status were received under this spring’s funding round for the Norwegian Centres of Excellence (SFF) scheme.
“Thirty-three of the applications were for centres with women directors,” says Special Adviser and coordinator of the SFF scheme Gro Helgesen. “This represents a welcome increase in the proportion of women in relation to previous funding rounds.”
Many more applicants than anticipated
In 2005, when the last funding announcement for SFF centres was issued, there were 98 applications submitted for the prequalification round, of which fourteen featured a woman director.
Fifty-six of this summer’s SFF applications fall under the category of natural science/technology, while 46 fall under life sciences and 37 fall under humanities/social science.
Universities top the lists
The majority of the applications list a university as the host institution. All of Norway’s eight universities submitted SFF applications, and most of them well more than one: the University of Oslo (45 applications), the University of Bergen (23), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim (23), the University of Tromsø (8), the University of Life Sciences in Ås (6), the University of Stavanger (2), the University of Agder (2), and the University of Nordland (1).
Three specialised higher education institutions – the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design – each submitted an application, as did the three regional university colleges in Gjøvik, Narvik and Vestfold, respectively. St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital also submitted an application.
Twenty-two applications were submitted by independent research institutes.
Next stage: final applications
This summer’s 139 applicants are now vying to be chosen to submit a final application. In December a currently unknown number of them will be selected to advance to the final round and submit a complete application for phase two of the assessment process.
The number of centres that ultimately receive SFF status will be determined by the quality of the applications received and the budget parameters of the SFF scheme. According to Ms Helgesen, the final decision on the award of SFF funding and status will be taken in September 2012 at the latest.
As of today, Norway has 21 Centres of Excellence (SFF). In 2012, 13 centres will conclude their period as a designated SFF centre with appurtenant funding.
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