Norwegian roadmap for Research Infrastructure

Preface

The Research Council revises its roadmap prior to each funding announcement under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure. This is the sixth version since the financing initiative was established in 2009. The Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure 2020 supports the recommendations set out in Tools for Research – The National Strategy for Research Infrastructure of maintaining the investment volume in, and ensuring long-term funding of, research infrastructures in the years to come. The Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure 2020 has two main parts:

  1. A description of the strategic basis for the Research Council’s reasoning and priorities regarding research infrastructure in specific disciplines, thematic areas and technology areas, called area strategies.
  2. A presentation of large-scale research infrastructures of national importance, which have either received funding after the call for proposals in 2018 or previously, or are considered worthy of funding by the Research Council. This includes national and international infrastructure projects that have received funding on the basis of a policy decision outside the open competitive arena.

The area strategies in part 1 describe the research objectives, existing infrastructure and possible future needs for infrastructure in the respective areas. The Research Council invited Norwegian research institutions to provide input on the area strategies and describe needs for new or upgraded infrastructure. A great deal of helpful and well-prepared input was received from this round. All input received was assessed by the Research Council's administration and linked to priorities in existing national strategies.

In the Strategy for the Research Council of Norway 2020–2024, we emphasise that access to high-quality research infrastructure is a prerequisite for achieving our ambition to support forward-looking research and innovation systems. Through our allocations to good infrastructure projects, we can contribute to strategic focus and concentration in specific fields of research, and ensure that resources are available to all relevant research communities and industries in Norway.

Close to NOK 6 billion has been allocated since the start of the scheme for establishment and further development of around 110 research infrastructures, many of which have entered or are about to enter the operational phase. This means that after ten years of the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure, we have now entered a phase in which an increasing share of new investments will go to renewal and upgrading of existing national research infrastructures. At the same time, the strategic review of the different strategy areas, as well as the applications received thus far for the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure, indicate that there remains a significant need for investments in a variety of novel infrastructures. The National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure will be evaluated in the period 2020/2021.

Research is becoming continuously more data-driven, which requires more heavy computation and storage capacity, and more advanced data analysis tools. At the same time, the objective of open access to research data from public funding will require substantial investments in electronic infrastructures that ensure secure and effective sharing and re-use of such data. The Research Council’s Policy on Open Science was launched in January 2020 and underlines the importance of making research data available for further use. The need for e-infrastructure and data infrastructure constitutes a major challenge in all areas of research, and will be discussed in a separate chapter of the road map.

Participation in international research organisations gives Norwegian researchers access to research infrastructures and an opportunity to take part in innovative and resource-intensive research that would not otherwise be possible with national funding alone. Our participation also provides significant potential for technology sharing and development of Norwegian business and industry. Norway’s participation in international research infrastructures is described in a separate chapter.

The roadmap is a dynamic document that is updated after each major call for proposals and is continuously developed. The most recent version of the roadmap is available at all times at www.forskningsradet.no/veikart.

 

John-Arne Røttingen
Chief Executive, the Research Council of Norway