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Public basic funding for research institutes

The state provides basic funding to 48 research institutes each year under the public funding scheme administered by the Research Council.

The Research Council administers the scheme in accordance with the applicable guidelines laid down by Royal Decree of 19 December 2008 and revised by the Ministry of Education and Research on 1 July 2013. In June 2014, the Research Council presented a set of minimum requirements (in Norwegian) that research institutes must satisfy to qualify for basic funding.

Two-part system

Basic funding consists of two parts and currently comprises a basic allocation and strategic institute initiatives. The basic allocation comprises a fixed amount and an amount determined by performance.

The performance-based portion of the basic allocation is intended to encourage institutes to find a good balance between the quality and relevance of the research, and is distributed on the basis of the following four performance indicators, weighted with a relevance component:

  • Income from nationally commissioned research;
  • Scholarly publication;
  • Income from international sources;
  • Number of doctoral degrees completed.

The scheme for strategic institute initiatives (SIS) applies to the environmental institutes (with a ceiling of 40 per cent of the institute’s basic allocation) and to the primary industry institutes (with a ceiling of 30 per cent of the institute’s basic allocation).

Requirements for receiving public basic funding

The scheme for public basic funding encompasses 48 research institutes. To qualify for basic funding, the institutes must:

  • Conduct research of interest to Norwegian trade and industry, government administration or society at large;
  • Possess the necessary professional and scientific competencies, as demonstrated in scholarly publication, etc.;
  • Carry out research activity on a scale adequate enough to ensure that genuine competence-building takes place in the organisation;
  • Participate in open competition for national and international research funding;  
  • Be a part of the effective distribution of tasks within the Norwegian research system;
  • Not pay out dividends or provide other direct or indirect benefits to the owner or other close stakeholders.

The Research Council has elaborated on the guidelines (in Norwegian) for public basic funding for research institutes (to be found in the Norwegian page), and set figures for the minimum size of a research institute, minimum publication amounts and minimum proportion of income that must come from commissioned research and other funding contributions to qualify for public basic funding. This information is obtained from the key figures reported by the research institutes each year.

  • Income from nationally and internationally commissioned research must comprise at least 25 per cent of total R&D revenues.
  • Scholarly publication measured by publication points per researcher full-time equivalent (FTE) must correspond to at least one-third of the average for the institute’s arena.
  • The research institute must have at least 20 researcher FTEs.
  • The income from funding contributions (e.g. from the Research Council and the EU) must comprise at least 10 per cent of total R&D revenues.