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Division for Society and Health

The Division for Society and Health is responsible for promoting research and innovation targeted towards meeting global and national societal challenges related to health, welfare, education and social organisation.


Executive Director: Jesper W. Simonsen

The division is charged with identifying national research needs and developing a basis for decision-making relating to these, building knowledge and research capacity for societal development and promoting enhanced innovation capability within its area of responsibility. The division provides an arena for interaction that promotes connections across disciplines, subject areas and sectors throughout the entire research value chain.

The division works together with twelve government ministries to develop research that can serve as a basis for policymaking, government administration, development of public services and Norway’s international development cooperation activities. In addition, the division is responsible for coordinating bilateral research cooperation activities.

Key instruments

The division employs policy-oriented programmes as its key instrument for meeting national research needs.

The Norwegian Knowledge Centre for Education represents a new activity, and is intended to serve as a portal to research in the education sector. Organisationally, the centre has been given status as a separate department under the division, and will work closely with action-oriented and practice-based programmes in educational research. The centre will also have its own profile externally.

International activities

International cooperation is essential to achieving national research objectives. The division has an extensive range of international contacts and takes part in a wide variety of international collaborative projects.

The division is responsible for coordinating bilateral cooperation and administers a number of cooperation programmes. Priority partner countries are the US, Canada, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. The division is also involved in activities within the European Research Area and is responsible for the research component of Norway’s EEA participation.

The Research Council takes part in efforts to bolster the research capacity of developing countries, and the division is actively involved in activities to promote research on global challenges.

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