Research programmes are strategic, targeted and coordinated research initiatives.
The research programmes are designed to:
bring forth new knowledge or expertise about a designated thematic area
promote innovation and commercialisation within a designated field (thematic area and/or branch of industry)
serve other specified purposes within a planned financial and scientific framework.
Activities under a research programme are based on concrete work programmes and action plans, and are carried out as a set of approved projects, each of which in some way fulfils the established programme objectives. Projects are ordinarily selected from among grant proposals submitted in connection with a formal funding announcement. Grants are awarded on the basis of careful assessment of a project's scientific merit and relevance. However, the programme committee may under certain circumstances choose to initiate projects that are of particular strategic importance.
Each research programme is administered and implemented by a programme board appointed by the Research Board of one of the Research Council's three divisions. Allocations to research programmes make up close to 50 per cent of the Research Council's overall annual budget.
Key types of programmes
Basic research programmes
Basic research programmes are designed to promote scientific knowledge and expertise within designated priority areas of research. Basic research programmes are initiated by the Research Council, and their professional substance is planned in close cooperation with relevant research communities and with users of the project findings, when appropriate. The programme committee is usually comprised of researchers.
Basic research programmes are usually 100 per cent government-financed.
Policy-oriented programmes are primarily designed for the public sector as well as industrial and special interest organisations. This type of programme is used to provide a better knowledge base for political decision-making as well as for planning at various levels of the public administration. Users and researchers work together to define the substance of the programme.
Policy-oriented programmes are usually 100 per cent government-financed.
User-directed innovation programmes
User-directed innovation programmes are designed specifically for companies seeking further innovation of their activities or industries. These programmes comprise the Research Council's main instrument for achieving its industry-oriented R&D objectives.
Users are responsible for establishing the basis for research, while the Research Council helps to create an arena for cooperation between the companies and the research community as regards the initiation, planning and implementation of research activities.
Projects require at least 50 per cent co-financing from private enterprise. User-directed research seeks to promote R&D initiatives in industrial circles, and thus serves to enhance the focus on R&D within trade and industry as a whole.
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