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Up to NOK 40 million in funding to promote gender balance and gender equality in Norwegian research

Funding is available for projects designed to bring about cultural and structural change that promotes gender equality and gender balance in senior positions and research management.

Other support Choose
11.10.2017 13:00 CEST



Amount of funding presumed available for this call for proposals:

Up to NOK 40 million is available for new projects in 2017. The Research Council will provide funding of NOK 3–9 million per project over a three-year period. Project participants must provide 50 per cent of the overall project costs as own financing.

Guidelines and important considerations relevant to all types of applications in this call for proposals:

The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.

Projects must be targeted towards research institutions/entities (not individual researchers) and may encompass an entire institution, a faculty, a department, a division, etc. Funding will be allocated to measures/packages of measures designed to bring about structural and cultural change that promotes gender balance in top-level positions and research management. Projects must have a duration of three years.

Application requirements

Applicants must describe what they see as the key challenges in their efforts to improve the gender balance at their institutions/entities and how the measures and activities in the BALANSE project will help to meet these challenges effectively. The challenges, measures and activities must be viewed in the context of, and based on, existing knowledge in the field. 

A detailed description of each individual measure is not required, but a clear overview of the challenges, objectives, measures and anticipated results of the project must be provided. Applicants must provide figures and statistics on the gender distribution in the entities where the measures will be implemented. Projects must have the support of the institution’s leadership.

The measures should primarily be targeted towards structural and cultural challenges related to e.g. management culture, organisational culture, mergers, systematic career planning, international network-building, etc. The project must contribute to knowledge building within the relevant organisation.

If funding is sought for measures targeting individual persons, this must be part of a larger plan and an explanation must be provided of why these measures are considered justified.

Innovative measures will be viewed in a favourable light. The operational level of the project (e.g. faculty, department, division, etc.) must benefit directly from the measures. Projects must incorporate organisational and leadership development, and applicants are encouraged to explore new ways of managing that promote gender balance.

Applications must show how the project will be managed and implemented. The measures must be described in a way that promotes openness and transparency (verifiability) and can contribute to learning for others. The application must include a plan for assessing the impact of the measures, as well as plans for steps the institution will take to increase participation of women in international research projects and networks.

In addition, applicants must briefly describe how they will ensure that learning, knowledge development and knowledge sharing will take place within their projects. This may include systematising experiences, follow-up research, seminars and communication activity. All applicants awarded funding under the BALANSE programme are expected to disseminate information about their experiences to facilitate learning within their own organisation as well as in other institutions/entities.

Projects are required to participate in gatherings organised by the BALANSE programme.

Target groups: project participants and management of the institutions whose projects are awarded funding.

Grant applications must include the following:

  • A description of the challenges at the institution/entity and of the background for the project proposal.
  • Objectives of the project.
  • A description of the measures to be included in the project. The following four elements: 

o   organisational development, including leadership development;

o   knowledge development and analysis of the challenges and of currently
    implemented measures;

o   knowledge sharing and communication;

o   internationalisation.

  • Anticipated results, and how performance will be measured.

Who is eligible to apply?

Research institutes, universities, university colleges and research-intensive industry are eligible to apply, preferably in a partnership. Cooperation within an institution and/or among institutions will be viewed in a positive light.

Assessment criteria


Relevance refers to how well the project satisfies the guidelines and stipulations set out in the call for proposals.


The quality of the application will be assessed on the basis of whether:

  • The application provides a good description of the institution’s/entity’s key challenges.
  • The proposed measures and activities appear to be of relevance to and suitable for addressing the challenges described in the application, and can be implemented within the established framework.

Strategic basis and importance

The strategic basis of the project within the organisation and the importance of the project for the institution/entity and any partners’ strategic objectives and plans (e.g. strategy and business plans, plans for gender equality, recruitment and competence-building) will be assessed.


The level of innovation in the project in relation to previous measures implemented by the applicant and others will be assessed. The level of local innovation, i.e. that the activity has not been previously tried at the local level, will be assessed as well.

Added value

The added value of the project measured against the institution’s/agency’s own gender equality efforts will be assessed. Own financing for the project must not be taken from funding already allocated for gender equality activities.

Learning, knowledge development and knowledge sharing

The way in which learning, knowledge development and knowledge sharing are to be addressed internally and externally will be assessed. High-quality analysis activities and good plans for measuring performance will be viewed in a positive light.


If the project includes cooperative efforts with other actors, the degree to which the project promotes network-building and knowledge transfer between different institutions will be assessed.

Implementation plans and resource needs

The project will be assessed in relation to whether it is feasible to implement and whether the resource needs are reasonable. The following elements will be part of the assessment:

  • project management;
  • implementation plan with milestones;
  • budget and funding.

Composition of the project portfolio

The programme board will work to achieve a satisfactory range of projects in the programme’s portfolio, e.g. with regard to subject area, type of institutions and level of experience.