Norwegian roadmap for Research Infrastructure

Background

The Ministry of Education and Research has assigned the Research Council of Norway responsibility for drawing up a Norwegian roadmap for investments in research infrastructure. The roadmap substantiates and presents the national and international large-scale research infrastructures that the Research Council recommends allocating funding to in the near future, within a realistic budget framework. The Research Council selects which projects will be assigned particular emphasis in the roadmap based on stringent criteria in terms of quality and strategic relevance.

The function of the roadmap

The roadmap will:

  • communicate the strategic basis for the Research Council’s priorities relevant to emerging funding announcements under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure;
  • highlight major research infrastructures that are essential for achieving research policy objectives;
  • emphasise Norwegian participation in international research infrastructures and demonstrate the balance and proportionality between such participation and national investments;
  • provide a guide for public and private funders of research infrastructures by presenting thoroughly reviewed projects that are quality-assured and considered worthy of support, but are in need of full or partial funding.

Selection of projects for inclusion on the roadmap

After each major funding announcement under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure, the Research Council administration will assess which projects will be highlighted on the roadmap. The assessment will be based on three criteria, which must be fulfilled. Please see Tools for Research – The National Strategy for Research Infrastructure for a more detailed description of criteria and terminology.

Criterion 1: The infrastructure is of national importance

The National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure only allocates funding to projects of national importance. This means:

  • infrastructure that is of widespread national interest;
  • infrastructure that, as a rule, will be limited to only one or a few locations in Norway;
  • infrastructure that lays a foundation for internationally cutting-edge research;
  • infrastructure that will be made available to relevant research communities, the public sector and industries.

Criterion 2: The grant proposal has been assessed as excellent, both scientifically and strategically

The projects highlighted on the roadmap have been assessed as excellent following a scientific review by international referees. They have further been considered to be of major strategic importance for Norwegian research by the Research Council.

Criterion 3: The project involves a large-scale, comprehensive research infrastructure

To be considered for inclusion on the roadmap, a project must also entail a high investment level compared to other research infrastructures within the respective field.

Decisions at the ministerial level

The Research Council assesses grant applications for research infrastructure involving investment costs starting at NOK 2 million, and can contribute up to NOK 200 million to individual projects. After consultation with the Ministry of Research and Education, research infrastructure involving investments that exceed NOK 200 million may be included on the roadmap, provided that the project proposal has been reviewed and assessed by the Research Council as having high scientific merit and strategic value.

Projects on the ESFRI Roadmap

The Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure also includes projects listed on the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructures under which Norway has entered into binding agreements. All such projects have undergone a thorough review by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and are considered by the Research Council to be of major strategic importance for Norwegian research. ESFRI projects that have received funding from the Research Council have been assessed on the same terms as other projects under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure. The decision on whether Norway should apply for membership in an ESFRI project is made at the ministerial level.

The Research Council’s assessment of roadmap projects

Projects listed on the Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure considered worthy of funding, but that have not yet been funded, must submit a new application in connection with an infrastructure funding announcement and compete for funding with new project proposals on equal terms. This will ensure that priority is always given to the projects of highest merit and strategic value when allocating grant awards. It will also allow adequate consideration to be given to new needs and political priorities that may have emerged during the timespan between funding announcements.

The strategic basis

The Research Council will invest in research infrastructure that supports high-quality research within areas given national priority. The area strategies describe research objectives, existing infrastructure and possible future needs for research infrastructures in various thematic areas, disciplines and technology areas.

The area strategies form the basis for allocations from the Research Council's budget and planning of future calls for research infrastructure. The division into area strategies reflects the Research Council's main strategy and portfolio plans for the areas, the Government’s Long-term Plan for Research and Higher Education, and other white papers and national strategies.

Projects on the roadmap

Projects highlighted on the roadmap include projects that have received funding from the National Research Infrastructure Initiative, in addition to projects that have not yet received funding, but have been assessed as excellent and considered to be of importance to Norwegian research priorities.

Infrastructures where the project period with Research Council funding has been concluded, or was scheduled to be concluded in 2019, have been given the status ‘funding period completed/in operation’ in the tables in the roadmap. You will find a reference to the infrastructure’s website and/or the Research Council’s project bank. A separate project description for these infrastructures is therefore not included in this version of the roadmap.

The descriptions of the roadmap projects are popular science presentations and include the project owner, partners and the funding amount awarded by the Research Council. For several of the projects, the Research Council's contribution constitutes only a part of the total cost of the project.