Post-doctoral Research Fellowships
If you are planning to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship position, you should first contact a research organisation that can offer you a post-doctoral position.
The Research Council does not award funding for personal post-doctoral research grants. Post-doctoral research fellowships must therefore form part of a research project. The Project Owner (formal applicant) or a project partner is responsible for the employment of research fellows.
The Research Council’s support for payroll and indirect expenses relating to research fellowship positions may not exceed the amount of the lump-sum allocation (see Rates for Funding of Research Fellowships). The Research Council may provide support for other project-related costs for research fellows, such as use of equipment and travel and accommodation/board.
The post-doctoral fellowship position is funded for a period of two to four years. If the candidate is appointed to less than a full-time position, it is the number of years that applies and not the number of full-time equivalents. Candidates may not be granted funding for a post-doctoral fellowship from the Research Council for more than one period.
The Research Council primarily allocates funding for post-doctoral research positions to Norwegian universities and university colleges that are entitled to confer doctorates, cf.: Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident.
Other research organisations (in the institute sector) may also be granted funding for post-doctoral fellowships, provided the applicant can document special needs for such a position.
To qualify for this funding, it must be permissible to employ personnel in temporary positions of this type under the legislation regulating employment contracts at the relevant institution (the Civil Service Act or the Working Environment Act), and the position in question must comply with the requirements set out in Section 1-2, paragraphs 1, 3, 5 and 7. The individual institutions must have assessed this before they submit a grant application to the Research Council.
What is a post-doctoral research fellowship?
Section 1-2 of the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of post-doctoral research fellow, research fellow, research assistant and resident, sets out the objective of appointing a post-doctoral research fellow:
- The main objective of appointment as a postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow) is to qualify for work in senior academic posts. Appointees are required to hold doctoral degrees.
- Use of posts such as post-doctoral research fellow is restricted to institutions with the right to award doctoral degrees.
- When applying for a post-doctoral research fellowship, the applicant shall submit a project proposal for the qualifying work. This proposal shall include a progress plan. It is required that the applicant will be able to complete the project during the period of appointment.
- The fixed term of the appointment shall be from two to four years. In the case of an appointment for more than two years the employer shall decide whether the employee shall be assigned compulsory duties in the form of teaching and similar work and the scope of any such compulsory duties.
- A plan shall be prepared for the implementation of the project that constitutes the basis on which appointment to a post-doctoral research fellowship is made. This plan shall be included as part of, or as an annex to, the contract of employment for the fixed-term post and shall include a project description and progress plan.
- The scope of any compulsory duties must be set out in the plan.
- The plan must include information concerning the person(s) responsible for academic supervision of the employee. Both the supervisor and the employee are obliged to notify the employer of any failure to carry out the plan.
- The person to be appointed to the post-doctoral research fellowship position must have submitted his/her doctoral thesis before the institution can take the appointment decision.
- The fellowship may not commence until the doctoral thesis has been formally presented, defended and approved.
- A professional development plan must be drawn up for the post-doctoral fellowship period (see “Professional development plan for post-doctoral research fellows” below).
- Fellowship-holders are expected to conduct a research stay abroad during their fellowship period. See the call for Research Stays Abroad for Doctoral and Post-doctoral Fellows.
For research fellows with a registered address in Norway who spend all or parts of their research fellowship period abroad, The Project Owner, which is an research organisation, can apply for funding for stays abroad for up to 12 months.
Professional development plan for post-doctoral research fellows
Starting with calls for proposals issued in 2017, the Research Council requires all post-doctoral research fellows working on projects that have been awarded funding to submit a professional development plan.
Employment in post-doctoral positions is governed by the regulations pursuant to section 6-4, fourth paragraph, of Act of 1 April 2005 No. 15 relating to universities and university colleges. All projects receiving funding from the Research Council of Norway are required to comply with the provisions of these regulations.
In accordance with the regulations, the objective of the appointment as post-doctoral research fellow is to follow a planned qualification track. In order to ensure targeted use of post-doctoral positions in projects, and to strengthen career development towards senior academic positions for post-doctoral research fellows, the Research Council has made it mandatory for all post-doctoral fellows it funds to draw up and submit a Professional development plan post-doctoral fellows it funds to draw up and submit a professional development plan (see: Recruitment to research, The Research Council’s policy 2016–2020 (pdf)).
The institution where the post-doctoral research fellow is employed is responsible for the content of the professional development plan. The Research Council will take steps to ensure that a plan has been drawn up, and will publish a simplified report in which the project manager is asked to load a development plan and return it to the Research Council.