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NOK 37 million for Collaboration Projects on Societal Challenges and Business Development that promote sustainable business development

The POLARPROG programme is announcing funding for projects that promote sustainable business development in the polar regions. Proposals may target both existing and new industries. Applicants must be an approved Norwegian research organisation, and grant applications are required to incorporate user partners from the business sector, public administration or non-governmental organisations.

Other support Choose
10.04.2019 13:00 CEST


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



Amount of funding presumed available for this call for proposals:

NOK 37 million is expected to be available under this call for Collaboration Projects on Societal Challenges and Business Development (Application type: Other support).

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

Who can apply for funding?
Applications will be accepted from research organisations ( see the Research Council’s Definition of research organisation PDF - 292 KB ).
Thematic guidelines 
Under this call, the Research Council is seeking to strengthen the knowledge base for sustainable business development in existing and potential new industries in the polar regions. The call is targeted in particular towards Chapter 4.2 in the work programme of the POLARPROG programme, and is a step in following up the Research Council of Norway’s Strategy for Sustainability, Research for Sustainable Societal and Industrial Development PDF - 3,9 MB .  
Climate change, improved infrastructure and technological development are making the polar regions more accessible and open the door to increased business activity. Societal restructuring in Svalbard makes it natural to consider new business opportunities. Research, technology development and innovation are needed in several areas to ensure that industrial and social development proceed safely and cost-effectively. There is a need for greater insight into economic opportunities, benefits, costs and risks associated with business activity. Industrial developments in the polar regions must be based on a sound understanding of the possible impacts of new or increased business activity on the environment and ecosystems as well as on society. A key element of long-term business development is the ability to predict future changes that may affect the activity in question. In this context, it is important to give adequate account to climate predictions predictions and their potential impacts. 
The capacity to achieve sustainable activity must be utilised as effectively as possible. At the same time, sufficient insight into the types of measures that must or can be implemented to prevent or limit negative impacts of business activity on climate, the environment and communities will be essential. 
Funding under this call is to support projects with user involvement that will promote sustainable business development in the polar regions. In this context, sustainability is to encompass more than the environmental component; it is to include societal and economic components as well.
While other research questions will also be eligible for funding, research projects addressing one or more of the following points are of particular interest:
  • Business development in Svalbard; 
  • A sustainable tourism industry; 
  • Technology development; 
  • New industries or innovation in existing industries; 
  • The impacts of and measures to mitigate the effects of climate change on industrial development.
Grant applications must satisfy the following criteria in order to be considered for funding under the POLARPROG programme: 
  • The grant application must describe how the project incorporates the strategic objectives and priorities of the applicant and any research organisations/users participating as partners.
  • All financial and other contributions to the project must be clarified with the relevant project partners and confirmed in Letters of Intent at the time of submission of the grant application.
  • The project must include the participation of at least one user partner. Each partner must have a clearly defined role in the project. User partners are encouraged to provide funding or in-kind contributions.
  • Projects must be within the geographical delimitations defined in the POLARPROG work programme.
Requirements and criteria 
The programme will assess grant applications in accordance with the general requirements and criteria for Collaboration Projects. In addition, the POLARPROG programme will attach particular importance to:
  • Relevance relative to the text of this call for proposals;
  • Significant user involvement;
  • Societal impacts of the research; 
  • International cooperation; 
  • A multi- or interdisciplinary approach.
When all factors relating to scientific merit and relevance relative to the call for proposals are assessed as being essentially equal, the POLARPROG programme will give priority to funding projects that:
  • are led by women project managers; 
  • incorporate recruitment positions; 
  • are led by young project managers; 
  • involve users from multiple sectors. 
The final decision on funding awards will be taken by the portfolio management board based on an overall assessment of the project portfolio. 
Conditions for funding 
Support from the Research Council to a research organisation is to be reserved for the organisation’s non-economic activity, and as such does not constitute state aid. 
Under this call, project costs may include costs for project partners. According to the state aid rules, support to an undertaking constitutes state aid. An “undertaking” in this context is defined as any actor that carries out an economic activity consisting of offering products or services on a given market. When an undertaking receives support to cover a portion of its project costs, either in the role as Project Owner or as a partner in the project, this support must be awarded in accordance with Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014).
The Research Council will not be assessing the qualifications of candidates for doctoral fellowships included under the project. Individuals should therefore not be specified in the grant application, nor should their CVs be submitted. The Research Council will only provide support to fellowship candidates who have not previously completed a doctoral degree. Funding may be provided for doctoral research fellowships for a period of maximum three years within the project period. 
Applicants may specify the names of candidates for post-doctoral fellowships who will play a key role in implementation of the project. CVs must be submitted for all named individuals. Funding may be provided for post-doctoral research fellowships for a period of minimum two and maximum three/four years within the project period. Candidates may not be granted funding from the Research Council for more than one post-doctoral fellowship period.
Expenses for doctoral or post-doctoral research fellows may not exceed the fixed lump-sum rates for fellowships. When the budgeted costs exceed the Research Council rates, the difference must be covered by other sources, such as own financing by the educational institution and/or Project Owner.
It is not permitted to employ an individual for more than one contractual period in the same position at the same institution. Please refer to the regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident laid down by the Ministry of Education and Research.
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.
Professional development plan for post-doctoral research fellows
If the project includes funding for post-doctoral fellowships, a professional development plan must be drawn up for the post-doctoral fellowship period and submitted to the Research Council by at the latest three months after the post-doctoral research fellow is formally employed. The professional development plan must be signed by the employee and the line manager, and it must be updated in connection with any significant changes during the fellowship period. For more information, please see the document “Mandatory professional development plan for post-doctoral research fellows” found on this page (in Norwegian) and the information on Personal Post-doctoral Fellowships on the Research Council website. 
Archiving of research data  
The Project Owner (institution/company) is responsible for selecting the archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project. The Project Owner must specify the planned solution(s) in connection with the revised grant proposal.