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NOK 500 million available for FRIPRO Toppforsk projects

For the fourth time, the Research Council of Norway is announcing funding under a joint funding initiative between the Council and Norway’s research institutions. This year, NOK 500 million is being made available for new FRIPRO Toppforsk projects.

FRIPRO Toppforsk grants are targeted towards research groups with the potential to become internationally prominent. Funded projects will receive NOK 15–25 million over a four to five-year period. The call for proposals is open to all approved Norwegian research institutions (see the definition and specification of the concept “research institution” on the Research Council website). The application submission deadline is 24 May 2017.

It will be possible to create an application from 7 April.

FRIPRO Toppforsk is designed to enable highly skilled researchers and dynamic research groups to reach the top of their field. The grant review process will therefore attach importance to the potential of the project, the project manager and the project group to achieve this.

Project managers are expected to have experience in research management, candidate supervision and international research cooperation.

Phase two of the third joint funding initiative

This year’s FRIPRO Toppforsk call constitutes phase two of the third joint funding initiative between Norway’s research institutions and the Research Council of Norway (“Fellesløft III”). Forty-six Toppforsk projects were awarded a total of NOK 1 billion under phase one, with project start-up in 2016. Under phase two, NOK 500 million will be awarded to new projects with start-up in 2018.

The requirements, guidelines and criteria for this year’s call are the same as those for the 2015 FRIPRO Toppforsk call.

FRIPRO Toppforsk applications will be assessed by the same international referee panels as the other FRIPRO applications. Selection of projects for funding will take place in two ways. Universities themselves will be allowed to choose which of the highest ranked grant proposals from their own institution they would like to see funded. Grant proposals from other types of research institutions will be ranked by the Granting Committees. On the basis of this ranking, these institutions will receive an offer to contribute co-funding. Eighty per cent of the NOK 500 million budget will be allocated to the universities, and twenty per cent to the other institutions.

Project managers of an ongoing FRIPRO project may apply for FRIPRO Toppforsk funding. However, individuals may only serve as project manager for one FRIPRO application under this year’s call. Current or former directors of a Centre of Excellence (SFF), current or former ERC Advanced Grant holders, and project managers of ongoing FRIPRO Toppforsk projects are not eligible to apply for FRIPRO Toppforsk funding. For an individual to be eligible to serve as project manager of a Toppforsk project, an interval of at least six years must have passed between the application submission deadline and the date of defence of his or her doctoral dissertation (for approved doctorates).

Expected to apply for ERC grants

Another aim is to enable more Norwegian research groups to win grants from the European Research Council (ERC). FRIPRO Toppforsk is designed so that applicants seeking Toppforsk funding will not have to make major changes to their grant proposal in order to apply for an ERC grant.

Project managers of funded FRIPRO Toppforsk projects must apply for an ERC grant to be eligible to apply for FRIPRO funds again in a subsequent financing round.

The submission deadline for proposals for ERC Advanced Grants is 31 August 2017.

Please direct any questions regarding FRIPRO Toppforsk to:

Written by:
Therese Farstad. Translation: Victoria Coleman/Carol B. Eckmann
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