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NOK 100 million for Researcher Projects on the bioeconomy

Funding is available for research to promote socially responsible, sustainable development of the bioeconomy in Norway. Projects aiming to increase resource utilisation in bio-based value chains/life-cycles are encouraged.

Researcher project Choose
12.09.2018 13:00 CEST


This is a joint call for proposals between the BIONÆR, HAVBRUK2, MARINFORSK, BIOTEK2021, ENERGIX and SAMKUL programmes.

Electronic grant applications may be created once the call has become active. Applicants are encouraged to create applications well in advance of the submission deadline. It is possible to revise and resubmit the complete grant application form multiple times up to the application submission deadline. It is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be sent on for processing. The Research Council does not have access to the grant application until the submission deadline has expired.

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



Amount of funding presumed available for this call for proposals:

NOK 100 million.

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

Mandatory project outlines

Only complete grant applications based on mandatory project outlines are eligible for consideration under this call for proposals. The outline must be submitted in response to the call “Mandatory outlines for Researcher Projects: submission deadline 2 May 2018”.

Background for the funding announcement

This call for proposals follows up the Government’s Bioeconomy Strategy, Familiar resources – undreamt of possibilities, and is a joint call between the BIONÆR, HAVBRUK2, MARINFORSK, BIOTEK2021, ENERGIX and SAMKUL programmes. The strategy stresses the important role research and innovation will play in expanding the bioeconomy in Norway. The aim is to achieve more efficient, sustainable and profitable utilisation of renewable bioresources and to increase value creation, particularly through synergies across industries, sectors and disciplines.

Research and innovation activities will help to promote a sustainable bioeconomy by building expertise and developing life-cycle perspectives along the entire value chain. Steps must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in each segment of the value chain and to prevent or minimise negative environmental impacts arising from increased production and extraction of bioresources. The bioeconomy has a wide scope, encompassing social and cultural dimensions as well.

The bioeconomy is a key component of the circular economy of the future and the green transition. Internationally, the bioeconomy is closely linked to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Thematic guidelines

The programme is seeking research in all fields and disciplines and within all perspectives that are relevant for understanding and enhancing the importance and sustainability of the bioeconomy, i.e. biological, economic, technological, political/regulatory, normative, historical, cultural and social perspectives. In particular, this call is targeted towards:

  • primary production, production, technology and solutions;
  • framework conditions and industrial policy;
  • business models and consumer and market aspects;
  • cultural conditions and social ramifications.

The four points are closely interrelated with one another, and a project may well encompass several of them. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged when it will enhance project results.

This call is divided into two parts:

Part 1
Up to NOK 40 million of the total NOK 100 million available has been set aside for projects within the scope of the BIONÆR programme ( please see the work programme PDF - 857 KB ). Under part 1 of this call, priority will be given to grant proposals that help to achieve a balanced, comprehensive BIONÆR project portfolio.

Part 2
The remaining NOK 60 million will be distributed under the joint call for proposals to all six participating programmes (BIONÆR, HAVBRUK, MARINFORSK, BIOTEK2021, ENERGIX and SAMKUL). Under part 2, priority will be given to grant proposals that extend across traditional sectors, industries and/or value chains.

Parts 1 and 2
The programme also seeks to incorporate new disciplines and perspectives into research on the bioeconomy, e.g. research that to a greater extent includes and integrates cultural conditions for, and social/societal impacts of, the bioeconomy.

Applicants must specify on the grant application form whether they are seeking funding under part 1 or part 2. If we find that it is more advantageous to the applicant to be assessed under the other part, we will transfer the application to that part.

Financial framework for projects

Projects may have a total budget of NOK 2–2.5 million per year over a three to four-year period. There are plans to allocate funding to 10–15 projects.

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)

The long-term impacts of technology development and innovation are unclear. It is essential to ensure to the greatest possible extent that research is aligned with societal interests and serves to benefit society as a whole. This entails involving a wide array of stakeholders and perspectives in the planning and implementation of activities. It is necessary to develop work forms and networks that incorporate closer coordination between R&D institutions, trade and industry, the agencies in the research and innovation system, the political arena and private capital. To achieve this, projects must involve relevant actors and/or interested parties, and must take active steps to incorporate Responsible Research and Innovation perspectives. Grant applications are to include a plan for these activities, based on the principles set out in the Framework for Responsible Research and Innovation PDF - 558 KB drawn up by the Research Council’s technology programmes.


Communication of research activities and results to key decision-makers, the public administration and the general public is of particular importance. Grant proposals must include a communication plan that describes concrete measures and activities to be directed towards various target groups.

Additional information

The involvement of the industry in question and/or public administration in the project, such as through a reference group, will be viewed in a positive light. Companies defined as an “undertaking” in the state aid rules will not be eligible to receive support to cover projects costs.


Doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships may be incorporated into the project. The Research Council’s rates for fellowship grants must be used.

Overseas research grants for fellowship-holders and extension of post-doctoral fellowships in connection with research stays abroad

Applicants may include overseas research grants for doctoral and post-doctoral fellowship-holders in the grant application. If the project is awarded funding, the Project Owner may also apply during the project period for overseas research grants and extension of post-doctoral fellowship periods corresponding to the length of the research stay abroad. See here for more information about the UTENLANDSSTIPEND scheme.

Gender balance

Priority will be given to projects that are led by women project managers, assuming all factors in competing grant applications are assessed as being equal.

Process for assessing and ranking grant applications

A description of the process for assessing and ranking grant applications may be found here PDF - 389 KB . Grant proposals will be ranked based on the guidelines stipulated above and in keeping with the respective scopes of the programmes cooperating on this call. Grant proposals that display a significant thematic overlap with ongoing projects will not be given priority.

In the final ranking of grant proposals, the programmes will strive to achieve a balance that reflects the financial contributions from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to this call.
Under part 1 of this call, priority will be given to grant proposals that help to achieve a balanced, comprehensive BIONÆR project portfolio.

Under part 2, priority will be given to grant proposals that extend across traditional sectors, industries and/or value chains, and that otherwise address new issues in research on the bioeconomy.

The Research Council is seeking to fund projects that integrate social and cultural aspects of the bioeconomy, as a means of following up Meld. St. 25 (2016–2017) – The Humanities in Norway, white paper from the Ministry of Education and Research.

Projects awarded funding will be placed under and followed up by the programme found to be most relevant for the project.

Archiving of research data

The R&D-performing institution/company is generally responsible for selecting an archiving solution to use for storing research data from the project. The Research Council may, however, stipulate that data must be stored in specific archives.