Portfolio plan Global Development and International Relations
This portfolio will underpin the ambitions relating to open research, which refers to the way research is carried out and shared, and how changes are evaluated. The need for high-quality research in society is increasing. Open research will be included in the development of the portfolio's instruments, e.g. through measures that provide better access to research data, the development of methods, utilisation of research results in research and innovation, and by means of user participation and involvement.
Data generated through publicly funded research should in principle be considered a public good and shared with other researchers, business and industry, and society at large. This will help to strengthen the quality of and trust in research by allowing for better validation and verification of research results. It will also help to speed up knowledge development and, in turn, value creation and innovation in the private and public sectors. Research and innovation are increasingly driven by access to new and massive quantities of data. Efficient structures for transparency and the sharing of research data are necessary to ensure data quality, efficient utilisation of resources by the research communities and increased use of research findings in society.
The achievement of the portfolio's goals is dependent on cooperation with other funding schemes, including, but not limited to, the EU framework programmes, Nordic Research Cooperation (NordForsk), Belmont Forum, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), Global Research Council and other international R&D-funding organisations and multi- and bilateral initiatives. Further, international cooperation in the research projects will be of great importance to achieving this portfolio's goals. The portfolio will work actively to support international collaboration that aims to reduce fragmentation, facilitate coordination and increase the impact of research investments.
The strategy to strengthen collaboration within research and higher education with prioritised countries outside the EU, the Panorama strategy, is highly relevant to this portfolio. The countries included in the strategy are the USA, Canada, Brazil, India, China, Japan, Russia, South-Korea and South-Africa. The strategy aims to facilitate a more comprehensive and long-term cooperation with these countries in higher education and research, with a view to more cooperation in areas where Norway has competence and a potential to contribute, despite international research cooperation with several countries becoming increasingly difficult.
In development and global health research, collaboration with all countries listed in the OECD-DAC register of ODA-eligible countries is of relevance to this portfolio. In addition, in line with the Government’s development policy, emphasis is placed on collaboration with specific partner countries, both those targeted for long-term development: Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Tanzania and Uganda, and countries that are mainly in need of stabilisation and conflict prevention: Afghanistan, Mali, Niger, Palestine, Somalia and South-Sudan.
Fair and equitable partnerships
This portfolio will promote equitable research partnerships between Norwegian research institutions and academic institutions or other research institutions in LMICs in all relevant areas. Such partnerships may also involve governments or NGOs, regional networks and institutions. Strong partnerships with academic institutions in LMICs are pivotal to research of high quality and to ensuring the relevance of the research to the context studied.
As part of a broader movement to decolonise the global research agenda, there is an increasing emphasis on the limitations of focusing solely on capacity building, and on the benefits of moving towards fair and equitable research partnerships that promote the agency of partner institutions in LMICs, with equitable sharing of funding, institutional costs and credits. An important part of equitable partnerships is ensuring that LMIC institutions and researchers are genuinely involved in defining the scope, relevance and priority questions of collaborative research proposals. The allocation of funding to respective LMIC partners should be commensurate with their expected responsibilities and the capacity-strengthening goals, from scientific leadership to grant management. Collaboration agreements governing the partnerships should, among other things, stipulate the responsibilities of Norwegian and LMIC researchers, as well as other partners in managing the grant and developing research studies, and how, in collaboration, they will manage data handling, scientific analysis, intellectual property rights and authorship.
Research projects carried out in LMICs should demonstrate co-leadership of the proposed scientific agenda with investigators from LMIC institutions and strive to include opportunities for mentorship and/or research training for junior researchers from Norway and LMIC partners. The Research Council requires that a Norwegian institution be ‘project owner’ with overall administrative and scientific responsibility. Projects implemented in one or more LMIC should include institutional partner(s) in the relevant country or countries, and, where possible, they should be assigned senior responsibility within the project as co-project manager, work package leaders or as project managers if employed in part by the Norwegian project owner.
Researchers are expected to abide by national, European and international standards for research integrity. They must ensure and document that their research is conducted in accordance with ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations, and standards. This includes seeking ethical approval for research where appropriate. Researchers are expected to treat colleagues with integrity, honesty and collegiality, including the fair provision of references and peer reviews.
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has emerged as an important approach in international research and innovation policy. RRI includes approaches to research and innovation that aim to anticipate and assess potential impacts and societal expectations, with the goal of creating inclusive and socially responsible research and innovation. RRI's approaches to democratisation of research and innovation through participation are important dimensions.
Gender balance and gender perspectives
The portfolio follows the Research Council's policy for Gender balance and gender perspectives in research and innovation, which states that the Research Council will work more systematically to promote gender balance within research projects, when deemed relevant, by striving to achieve the goal of increasing the proportion of female project managers and women in senior academic positions.
A gender perspective on research implies that biological and social gender is reflected in research content. A growing number of studies show that diversity, including gender balance and gender perspectives, helps to enhance the scientific quality and social relevance of research.
These initiatives emphasise paying attention to asymmetries in power, privilege and resources that might affect gender inequities. They also encourage reflection on the role of research in addressing such issues. Gender also intersects with different forms of discrimination and marginalisation.
A broad understanding of innovation includes significantly improved goods, services, processes and concepts, as well as ways of organising and governing that generate value and societal benefits, including new models for governance, financing and delivery of services and public interventions. Innovation should also be about how research is conducted and the portfolio values innovation in research methodology. This aligns well with the goals of the main strategy of the Research Council of Norway - Empowering ideas for a better world and the Strategy for innovation in the public sector. Innovation in research is not limited to the development of technologies and products. The portfolio will encourage researchers to think creatively about how their research findings can contribute to innovations with the potential to contribute to all the SDGs.
Cf. the Research Council's Report and recommendations relating to licensing and making research data available
Messages at time of print 9 December 2023, 00:30 CET