Skip to content

Research Council’s annual report 2017

According to the Research Council’s 2017 annual report, the organisation is successfully performing its tasks, although there is still room for improvement in certain areas. 

“Our 2017 annual report makes it very clear that we are an organisation that generates results, but we have the potential to do an even better job,” said John-Arne Røttingen, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway, when presenting the report to Minister of Research and Higher Education Iselin Nybø.

Minister of Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø, was presented with the Research Council 2017 annual report by Chief Executive John-Arne Røttingen.

“The report documents our results, impacts and societal outcomes through analysis of all five of the target areas that have been set for our organisation,” Dr Røttingen adds. “We also propose concrete measures and actions to enhance our performance in the year to come.”

Five target areas

The Research Council has implemented a common performance management system for reports to the various government ministries. The system is based on five clearly-defined target areas with related strategic areas:

  • Greater scientific merit
  • Greater value creation within trade and industry
  • Address major societal challenges
  • A well-functioning research system
  • Sound advice

“We have focused on providing a clearer, more differentiated assessment of our performance in the report for 2017,” says the Chief Executive. “We are proposing more concrete initiatives and actions that will lead to even better performance.” The Research Council’s performance has been assessed on the following scale: Very weak – Weak – Acceptable – Good – Excellent.

Performance in 2017

Greater scientific merit

Objective: “Scientific merit is a fundamental prerequisite for all the motivations behind research, whether instrumental or cultural. Achieving high scientific merit requires talented individuals, modern infrastructure and top quality in other research-related resources. The Research Council is to provide funding based on competition, and must identify and support research of the highest scientific merit. The Research Council must also take steps to increase scientific merit in individual research environments and/or individual research fields.”

Assessment for 2017: Good

Greater value creation within trade and industry

Objective: “The Research Council is to encourage R&D activities that will foster overall value creation in the Norwegian economy in the short- or long-term. Research and development efforts will boost value creation by leading to new or improved products, services and processes, or by making it possible to use and further develop knowledge in different contexts.”

Assessment for 2017: Good

Address major societal challenges

Objective: “A key objective of research policy is to produce knowledge that equips us to meet the major challenges facing society in the best possible way. The Research Council is to fund research that is of benefit to society, and that addresses major societal challenges. The Research Council plays a role in determining which research areas and questions are targeted, and how much focus these receive, and directly influences the quality of the research, the competency of research groups, and the connections within and between the research system and various segments of society.”

Assessment for 2017: Acceptable

A well-functioning research system

Objective: “A well-functioning research system is an essential part of the foundation for achieving research-policy objectives. The Research Council is to create a framework that encourages optimal use of research resources and results. The Research Council is to help to expand the national research system, to strengthen integration and collaboration, and to promote constructive interaction with international research arenas.”

Assessment for 2017: Excellent

Sound advice

Objective: “The Research Council is to serve the authorities in an advisory capacity on research-policy issues. The Research Council’s advice is to form the basis for the further development of research policy (including sectoral research issues), and set the stage for following up relevant research-policy priorities.”

Assessment for 2017: Acceptable

The Research Council’s overall performance in 2017

Norwegian research is improving. There is more research being carried out, publication rates are higher, collaboration is expanding and the structural reform has laid a foundation for greater consolidation and better distribution of tasks. The quality of research is also rising, although Norway still lags behind the top research nations. In companies, research and innovation have become key tools in efforts to support restructuring and increase competitiveness. Investment in private sector R&D is expanding rapidly, and encompasses an increasingly wider array of industrial segments. Participation in the European arena is also on the rise.

Assessment for 2017: Good

Looking to the future

The annual report also looks to the future. A revised plan for Norwegian research for the next four years will be presented in the autumn of 2018. In its input to the revised Long-term plan for research and higher education, the Research Council has proposed a fiscal rule for efforts involving cross-sectoral research. In the view of the Council, item 53 of the national budget for the Ministry of Education and Research, which deals with this type of research, should always correspond to at least 20 per cent of the overall research financing to the Research Council from the sector-based ministries.

“This can be achieved by establishing a fiscal rule to ensure that increases in sector-based ministerial allocations are accompanied by a proportional increase in the cross-sectoral allocations from the Ministry of Research and Education,” Dr Røttingen explains.

The Research Council has also proposed the inclusion of Global and cultural change as one of seven overall priority areas in the Long-term plan. “This proposal responds to the need for more research on major societal challenges, which has become even more pressing since the Long-term plan was first launched,” says John-Arne Røttingen. “We are seeing a wider focus on the “soft” infrastructure in society in the EU as well, and this is going to be an important theme in international research funding in the future.”

Dr Røttingen also points out that Norway needs an extra billion kroner for technology-based research and innovation. “The enabling technologies play an essential role in innovation, restructuring and sustainable solutions in virtually all areas of society and industry, and are increasingly pivotal for the competitiveness of Norwegian industry and renewal of the public sector.” he concludes.



Written by:
Christian Haug-Moberg. Translation: Carol B. Eckmann.
Last updated: