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Researcher career funding opportunities

Are you planning to pursue a career in research and innovation? Here are some tips about potential funding opportunities for people seeking to build a research career based on high scientific quality and exciting breakthrough ideas.

Relevant opportunities include the Research Council's Funding Scheme for Independent Basic Research Projects (FRIPRO) and the EU Framework programme’s (Horizon 2020) Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) for research stays at institutions abroad and network-building. These initiatives are open to all fields and researchers choose the thematic area for their projects themselves.  

Below are a few pointers on various aspects of career planning. As mentioned, there are many other opportunities as well, but these can be helpful in getting started.

FRIPRO mobility grants are the Research Council’s funding scheme for researchers seeking a research stay abroad. Mobility grants target researchers at an early stage in their careers, just after they have defended, or will soon defend, their doctoral dissertation.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) is an initiative under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. The initiative offers a number of opportunities which are listed below (see box). You can also search for “MSCA” on Find calls for proposals on Doctoral fellows are eligible for funding for a period of up to three years among Europe’s top research groups. Post-doctoral fellows can apply for funding to travel to top research groups anywhere in the world.

Research infrastructures of foremost quality often provide the foundation for outstanding research. The EU pays for user time and travel and living expenses for stays at Europe’s top facilities.

Networks make it possible for you to bring your project and project funding into a collaboration with other researchers whose own projects are relevant to your field. The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) facilitates multinational scientific cooperation which in turn paves the way for consortia for international research projects. 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) offer many opportunities:

Mobility and networks
The funding schemes presented above represent some of the mobility opportunities, i.e. ways you can obtain international research experience. Our example is based on two primary funding sources (the Research Council and the EU), and the possibility of working at transnational institutions (infrastructure) and international cooperation in networks (for example, through COST).

It is also possible to apply for positions associated with EU projects or, for example, Norwegian Centres of Excellence (SFF), and similar schemes. These positions are announced as normal vacancies.

The Research Council recommends obtaining international experience early on in your research career. This will put you in a much stronger position to compete for research funding in the future through the open competitive funding arenas: the FRIPRO scheme at the Research Council and the European Research Council (ERC) in the EU. 

Career track
The illustration below shows the funding opportunities available through the open competitive arenas that you should apply for if you are planning to pursue a top-notch research career. 

MSCA funding and/or FRIPRO mobility grants provide an excellent start as they provide early international experience and look good on your resumé. As already stated, international experience gives you strength in the competition for ERC funding allocations. FRIPRO mobility grants, which can be sought through the Research Council, are funded half by the FRIPRO scheme and half under MSCA. 

The ERC has three different funding schemes you can apply for at different stages in your career. These grants provide substantial funding and are highly prestigious.

Apply to multiple schemes
Both the Research Council and the EU have funding schemes targeted towards talented early-career researchers, researchers who are in the process of establishing independent research careers and very experienced researchers.

We recommend that you consider applying for both Research Council and EU funding. This will increase your chances of being awarded funding and project proposals can often be reworked and adapted without too much effort for submission to both sources. The Research Council revised some of its application types and templates to adapt to procedures under the ERC and Individual Fellowships with precisely this in mind.  

Remember that you can ask for help and advice at any time. Don’t hesitate to contact the Research Council’s contact persons for career guidance. See below.

If you have any questions, please call or send us an email.
The names and contact information for contact persons in connection with funding are listed above on the right. For enquiries regarding the specific funding schemes listed below, see the following contact persons:

FRIPRO mobility grants:
Berit Sundby Avset and Per Ivar Høvring and Jon Øygarden Flæten

Per Ivar Høvring and Berit Sundby Avset and Per Magnus Kommandantvold

Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions:
Per Magnus Kommandantvold and Berit Sundby Avset

Solveig Flock and Per Magnus Kommandantvold

Trude Dypvik (COST)



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Brita Skuland Senior Adviser +47 22 03 75 02