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24 new FRIPRO Toppforsk projects to share NOK 500 million

Twenty-four Toppforsk projects will receive between NOK 15 and NOK 25 million each under the joint funding initiative between Norway's research institutions and the Research Council of Norway (“Fellesløft III”). The grants target research groups with the potential to reach the top of their field internationally.

Minister of Research and Higher Education Iselin Nybø. (Photo: Stortinget) Minister of Research and Higher Education Iselin Nybø’s (Liberal Party) first task was to announce the winners of the next four to five years of FRIPRO Toppforsk funding.

“With this allocation, we have invested NOK 1.5 billion in the course of two years in developing more world-leading research groups in Norway. The Government gives priority to building up research environments that can excel internationally in the long term, as set out in our long-term plan for research. This is the background for the increase in funding to the FRIPRO scheme in the 2018 national budget. I am looking greatly forward to seeing the fruits of the "Fellesløft III" joint funding initiative in a few years,” says the minister.

Total of 70 Toppforsk projects awarded funding

The latest allocation constitutes phase two of the third joint funding initiative between Norway's research institutions and the Research Council of Norway for Toppforsk projects ("Fellesløft III"). The first phase was carried out in 2016 with 46 projects awarded a total of NOK 1 billion (see link at bottom). This year's funding round brings the total number of projects awarded funding to 70. Funding under the joint initiative comes in addition to the regular funding allocations under the FRIPRO scheme. 

Toppforsk projects 2018

Overview of the projects awarded Toppforsk funding for start-up in 2018, by university or other research institution (in Norwegian):


High allocation percentage

The Research Council assessed a total of 151 FRIPRO Toppforsk project proposals in 2017, 80 of which received marks of 6 or 7 and were therefore qualified/worthy of funding. Of these, 24 projects have been awarded funding. This means that 30 per cent of the qualified applications and 16 per cent of all applications received were granted funding.

Six of the 24 approved projects have women project managers. Of the 151 applications received, 40 were for projects headed by women.

We want to establish more of our research groups at top international level, says John-Arne Røttingen. (Photo: Sindre Mekjan, Forskningsrådet) Working together to achieve more

Funding for Toppforsk projects, which is the third “Fellesløft” joint funding initiative, specially targets experienced researchers.

The previous joint funding initiative was oriented towards Young Research Talents projects, while the first was used to increase the amount of funding available across the entire FRIPRO competitive arena.

“The joint funding initiatives show what it’s possible to achieve when the Government, research institutions and the Research Council work together to co-fund research groups with projects that will advance research in their fields. We share the same goal of establishing more of our research groups at top international level. To achieve this researchers need ample, reliable funding. FRIPRO Toppforsk funding gives them the financial security they need to concentrate on their important research activities for the next four to five years,” says Chief Executive of the Research Council, John-Arne Røttingen.

“Various evaluations of Norwegian research point out that we have too few research groups at the international forefront. By allocating funding to 70 Toppforsk projects we are addressing this very problem. We are convinced that we will see major results from this investment in the years to come,” Dr Røttingen adds.

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Written by:
Brita Skuland. Translation: Glenn Wells/Carol B. Eckmann.
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