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Funding for companies with employees seeking to pursue a doctoral degree

Funding is available for new projects under the Industrial Ph.D. scheme, with project start-up in 2018. Grant proposals are not confined to particular thematic areas or industries.

Other support Choose

Status:

Active

Amount of funding presumed available for this call for proposals:

Funding is available for approximately 40-50 new projects in 2018. This call for proposals will be closed once all available funding has been allocated.

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.

Under this scheme, companies may apply for funding for an employee seeking to pursue a doctoral degree. Funding is limited to maximum 50 per cent of the fellowship rates in effect at the time of submission of the grant application, with an estimated annual increase of approximately 3 per cent. The doctoral research project must be relevant to the activities of the company and to issues related to the company's long-term challenges. Funding from the Industrial Ph.D. scheme may not exceed 50 per cent of total, approved project costs. Total public funding must adhere to the current legal framework. 

New "General terms and conditions for R&D projects" apply for applications submitted from 1 April 2015.

The funding given in the Industrial Ph.D. scheme is public funding. It has been considered to comply with, and shall only be used in accordance with, article 25 (2) (a)-(c) in Commission regulation no. 651/2014 of 17 June 2014.


The following principles apply to the Industrial Ph.D. scheme:

 The company

  • is the formal applicant and recipient of the funding;
  • must have staff and other resources dedicated to internal R&D activities;
  • must be able to provide the candidate with a suitable professional environment at the company;
  • must have the capacity to provide the candidate with an supervisor at the company;
  • must demonstrate the financial ability to implement the project;
  • must have a binding collaboration with a degree-conferring institution and sign a written collaboration agreement on how to carry out the doctoral programme;
  • can choose to carry out the project over a three- or four-year period;
  • must agree that the candidate will spend at least one year at a degree-conferring institution

The doctoral candidate

  • either has a position in the company at the time of submission of the grant application or will be given one prior to the signing of the contract between the company and the Research Council;
  • will divide his/her time between the company and the degree-conferring institution, spending a minimum of one year at each;
  • must work full-time towards completing the Ph.D. degree over three years or at least 75% over four years;
  • must have supervisors from both the degree-conferring institution and the company.

The degree-conferring institution

  • has a binding collaboration with the applicant company and signs a written collaboration agreement on how to carry out the doctoral programme;
  • agrees that the candidate will spend at least one year at the company;
  • admits candidates to an organised doctoral degree programme in accordance with standard criteria and ensures normal integration of the candidate into the academic environment.

 The doctoral research project must be planned and developed in close cooperation between the company, the degree-conferring institution and the doctoral candidate. The duration of the project may be three or four years.

Companies may apply for funding from the Research Council before admission to a doctoral programme has been confirmed and before signing a collaboration agreement, provided that these two processes are underway at the time the grant application is submitted. The Research Council may process the application or issue a pledge of funding before the documentation of admission and the collaboration agreement have been finalised, but the Research Council will not enter into a contract with the company until a copy of these documents have been received.

The candidate’s employment must also be in order before the contract is sent to the company. The terms of the candidate’s employment must be in compliance with Norwegian regulations.

Collaboration projects
The Industrial Ph.D. scheme primarily targets individual companies. However, it is possible for the applicant company to collaborate with other companies on funding a project. In addition to the ordinary eligibility criteria, collaborative projects must fulfil the following criteria:

  • One company must serve as the formal applicant and the doctoral candidate must be employed by the applicant company for the entire duration of the project period.
  • There may be no more than three partners in a project under the Industrial Ph.D. scheme.  
  • The applicant company must contribute the largest proportion of funding to the project, i.e. the total contribution of the project partners must not exceed the contribution of the applicant company.
  • The applicant company must document the relevance of the research project to its own activities.
  • The applicant company must enter into binding collaboration agreements with all the project partners. All relevant issues must be clarified in the agreements, including those pertaining to intellectual property rights and financial contributions. It is also possible to enter into a single joint collaboration agreement for projects with multiple partners.
  • The applicant company must have a plan for completing the project in the event that partners withdraw from the project while it is underway.

Please also refer to the Research Council’s general guidelines for collaboration agreements here.

Who is eligible to apply for funding?
The scheme accepts grant applications from trade and industry. A company may normally be granted funding for maximum two new candidates per year.
Only companies engaged in market-oriented activities are eligible to apply for funding under this scheme. Enterprises that are publicly funded, carry out administrative tasks for the state or municipal authorities or produce goods for their own consumption will normally not be eligible to seek funding. The same applies to associations and other organisations with aims other than economic value creation. Companies with only one employee do not qualify for funding under the Industrial Ph.D. scheme. Applicant companies must be registered with the Brønnøysund Register Centre and carry out activities in Norway.
The scheme's target group does not include independent research institutes or health trusts. Organisations that are defined as research institutions by the Research Council are not eligible to seek funding under the Industrial Ph.D. scheme. The scheme does not provide support for completion of doctoral degree educations that are already underway.

The earliest permitted start-up date is the date of submission of the grant application. However, it is recommended that applicants submit their applications well in advance of project start-up.

All companies that enter into a contract with the Research Council will be requested to attend a start-up meeting in order to review the scope of the project and reporting requirements.

What does the funding cover?
Funding is limited to maximum 50 per cent of the doctoral fellowship rates in effect at the time of submission of the grant application. Funding is calculated monthly from the time of project start-up. Funding will not be disbursed as a lump sum allocation and will be adjusted to reflect actual costs. Funding will not be disbursed as a personal grant to the candidate, but as project support to the company. Maximum rates can be found under “ Frequently Asked Questions”. Up-to-date rates are available at all times on the Research Council’s website here

Funding may not exceed 50 per cent of total, approved project costs.
The applicant company must set up a realistic budget showing all costs directly related to carrying out the doctoral research project. This includes salary and personnel costs for the candidate and internal supervisors, any expenditures to be paid to the university and other operating costs such as laboratory experiments, purchase of literature, conference-related travel, etc. See also guidelines for Equipment costs and deprecation.

Only costs connected to the doctoral research project may be included. Other related or overall R&D activities in the company may not be incorporated in the budget.

Small and medium-sized companies may in addition apply for a grant to cover up to 50 per cent of extra costs in connection with costly laboratory testing at the company or at the university, university college or research institute in conjunction with the doctoral candidate's work. Funding is only provided for operating costs, not for procurement of equipment. The operating costs must be described in detail in the application. This type of funding is disbursed only when these costs are incurred, and will be withdrawn if testing is not carried out as planned.

Companies that are awarded funding may also apply for a Personal Overseas Research Grant for their doctoral candidate provided that the candidate is enrolled at a degree-conferring institution in Norway. This grant application must be submitted separately. See the separate call for proposals for requirements and criteria for these grants.


Application requirements:
The company must be part of the target group for the scheme.
The company must have more than one employee.

Criteria for eligibility:

Grant applications must satisfy the following criteria in order to be considered for funding:

  • The project description must follow the Industrial Ph.D. scheme’s project description template.
  • Processes relating to admission to a doctoral degree programme and preparation of a collaboration agreement must be underway at the time the grant application is submitted. The final documents may be forwarded when they are completed.
  • The company must have the capacity to provide the candidate with a supervisor at the company.
  • The company must have staff and resources dedicated to R&D activities.
  • The company must be able to provide the candidate with a suitable professional environment at the company.
  • The company must demonstrate the financial ability to carry out the project.
  • The doctoral research project must be relevant for the company's activities and long-term needs for expertise.
  • The candidate must spend at least one year at the degree-conferring institution and the company, respectively.
  • The project must be planned and developed in cooperation with the degree-conferring institution.
  • The candidate’s CV must be submitted together with the application. Funding will not be granted to projects where the candidate’s name is not clearly specified.
  • The candidate must be employed by the applicant company throughout the entire project period.

Small companies may be requested to provide additional documentation as part of the application process.


A written collaboration agreement must be signed by the applicant company and the degree-conferring institution. This agreement must include the following points:

  • Issues pertaining to intellectual property rights must be adequately clarified.
  • The candidate must spend at least one year at the institution and the company, respectively.
  • Both the research fellow's supervisors, at the company and the degree-conferring institution, must be named in the collaboration agreement.
  • The doctoral thesis must be publicly defended .
  • The agreement must not prevent the candidate from publishing the results of his/her research and presenting them in his/her thesis.
  • The work duties must be clearly specified between the parties.

 

 

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