Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure 2023

About the roadmap in 2023

Background 

The Ministry of Education and Research has given the Research Council of Norway responsibility for preparing a Norwegian roadmap for investments in research infrastructure. The roadmap for national research infrastructure is updated prior to each call under the INFRASTRUKTUR scheme and is intended to highlight the need for future research infrastructures and infrastructures that have received Research Council funding. Norwegian researchers cooperate extensively with international actors and participate in several European research infrastructures. The roadmap therefore highlights both national infrastructures and international research infrastructures with Norwegian participation. 

Function of the roadmap 

The roadmap should: 

  • communicate the Research Council's strategic basis for decision-making in connection with upcoming allocations of funding from the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure (INFRASTRUKTUR) 
  • highlight nationally important research infrastructures that are crucial for achieving research policy objectives 
  • clarify Norwegian participation in international research infrastructures and demonstrate the balance and relationship between such participation and national investments 
  • advise applicants, as well as public and private funders of research infrastructure, to compare future needs with the opportunities that already established infrastructures provide 

The structure of the roadmap 

The roadmap has three main parts: 

Part 1: Research Council funding of research infrastructure – guidelines and recommendations. 

This part covers what was previously the Research Council's strategy for research infrastructure, "Verktøy for forskning – Nasjonal strategi for forskningsinfrastruktur 2018-2025". This section presents the guidelines for how the Research Council finances research infrastructure and makes recommendations to the ministries and R&D institutions. This is largely a continuation of previously defined priorities and principles for division of responsibilities between the different stakeholders and allocations from the Research Council. The changes are mainly that we have added details about EOSC (European Open Science Cloud), EuroHPC and consequences given the geopolitical situation. 

Part 2: Strategic basis 

This section describes the strategic basis for the Research Council's thinking and priorities regarding research infrastructure for various disciplines, thematic areas and technology areas. This section corresponds to the area strategies in the previous roadmaps. The Research Council's investments in research infrastructure are to support research that contributes to realising the objectives described in the Research Council's main strategy and portfolio plans, as well as knowledge development within the priority areas in the Government's long-term plan for research and higher education. 

Part 3: Description of research infrastructures under establishment or operation 

This section presents most of the research infrastructures that have received funding from the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure, as well as some international infrastructures that receive funding through a political decision outside the open competitive arena. These constitute the current landscape of national research infrastructures funded through INFRASTRUKTUR.  

The process for a new roadmap 2023 

The institutions that receive infrastructure funding from the Research Council assume a significant responsibility for operating and making available national research infrastructures. It is therefore important for the Research Council to involve the institutions in our thinking about national and international research infrastructure.  

An external committee has contributed to the preparation of part 2 of the roadmap. As a follow-up to recommendations from the evaluation of the infrastructure initiative, the committee was asked to describe the national and international infrastructure landscape and needs seen from a national point of view in a 15-year perspective. However, given the major changes we have experienced recently, partly as a result of the geopolitical situation, the Committee concluded that it is more important that the roadmap will be frequently updated to ensure flexibility and the possibility of necessary adjustments at shorter intervals. The geopolitical situation also affects research priorities, and we will therefore continue to update the roadmap ahead of each call to help identify new needs that may arise.  

In June 2022, all research organisations that have used the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure (INFRASTRUKTUR) were invited to submit written input to the new roadmap. In November 2022, we arranged seven thematic workshops with invited participants from research institutions, the public sector, the business sector and the Research Council's departments and portfolio boards. Summaries from the workshops and written input have been an important part of the knowledge base for the external committee. Part 2 of the roadmap is based on the Committee's draft, but has been revised somewhat by the Research Council to clarify that the infrastructure initiative will support priorities and objectives in the Research Council's portfolio plans and the Government's Long-term Plan for Research and Higher Education. 

Handling input 

We are very grateful for all the input we have received.  We have tried to consider most of the input that relates to the needs for research infrastructures in the future, although in some areas we provide a somewhat more general presentation of the needs than the input does. This applies, for example, to concrete proposals for specific new infrastructures in which investments should be made. We wish to receive input on specific new infrastructure investments in the form of applications.   

Input concerning the design of the infrastructure scheme (e.g. timing of announcements, distribution of roles and responsibilities) has not been significantly taken into account in this roadmap. Such input will be useful for further work on the development of INFRASTRUKTUR, but this round of input concerned area descriptions and infrastructure needs within the various areas as a basis for the preparation of part 2 of the roadmap. 

Several suggestions and inputs concern needs that are not funded through INFRASTRUKTUR. This applies, for example, to pilot facilities and test facilities for industry, collection of data through population surveys, as well as long-term support for operations. We recognise the needs, but this scheme does not fund data collection and the state aid rules place restrictions on public financing of infrastructures that are mainly to be used for economic activities. We can support infrastructure/tools for the implementation of data collection/data generation and for further handling of the data collected/generated. We will encourage the infrastructures to collaborate with relevant actors from the business sector and provide guidance to exploit the opportunities provided for by the state aid rules. Regarding long-term support for operations, the Research Council's policy is still that INFRASTRUKTUR only in special cases provides long-term support for operations (see a more detailed description of the section on division of responsibilities in part 1). 

Note: this document has been machine translated from Norwegian, which is the official version of the roadmap.

Messages at time of print 24 April 2024, 05:45 CEST

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