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Abridged version of the Research Council of Norway’s annual report for 2016

Greater investment in Norwegian research bears fruit. “It is important for the Research Council to show how we allocate the funding we administer,” says Chief Executive John-Arne Røttingen.

2016 was a good year for Norwegian research. Researchers are publishing more, companies are conducting more research, and the various stakeholders are expanding their collaboration. According to the abridged English-language version of the Research Council’s annual report for 2016, Norway is building up more world-class research environments both nationally and internationally, and is achieving greater success in the international competition for funding under the EU framework programme, Horizon 2020.

Funding from the Research Council goes to the best researchers
All of the Research Council’s funding instruments and schemes are designed to increase the scientific merit and social benefit of research. A study shows that of the 200 Norwegian researchers cited most often, 171 have been granted funding from the Research Council. “It is especially interesting to see that these frequently cited researchers receive funding from our thematically oriented arenas as well as our open competitive arenas. This shows that the entire range of funding instruments is needed to identify and support the best researchers throughout their research careers,” says Dr Røttingen.

The annual report shows that there is keen competition for funding from the Research Council. To succeed, grant applications must be of extremely high quality, regardless of the type of arena in which funding is sought.

A study conducted by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) shows that it is well worth spending the time to prepare grant applications to the Research Council. One person-year used on grant writing results in an average of NOK 11 million in funding. Furthermore, researchers in the study report that they benefit greatly from the grant-writing process, regardless of whether or not their projects are approved for funding.

Trade and industry is more dependent on research and development

Last year the Research Council allocated NOK 4.3 billion for research to strengthen Norwegian trade and industry.

“But the calls for proposals in this area are targeted mainly towards established research and innovation groups that can take the time to write thorough, detailed project descriptions,” explains Dr Røttingen. “In the coming years we must become more proactive and create entirely new opportunities for research-based innovation.”

While the business sector is making greater use of the Research Council’s funding instruments, a study from Statistics Norway shows that the sector is also using more of its own resources on research and development. “This is a clear sign that more companies view research-based innovation as a path to restructuring and greater value creation,” says Dr Røttingen.

New head of the Council

John-Arne Røttingen says he is pleased and proud to have taken over the leadership of the Research Council after Arvid Hallén, who played a critical role in elevating the organisation to its current level of excellence.

“The Research Council serves society by enhancing the quality of Norwegian knowledge production and ensuring that we are at the forefront in areas where we have national advantages or clear national needs. This will enable Norwegian research, in cooperation with research groups in other countries, to find solutions to our common challenges and contribute to a better society,” says Dr Røttingen.

Written by:
Christian Haug-Moberg. Translation: Connie Stultz/Carol B. Eckmann.
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