Knowledge-building Project for Industry – Guide for Applicants

This is a guide to the call for Knowledge-building Projects for Industry. It describes key characteristics, and we explain some of the requirements set out in the call in more detail. A full description of the requirements for grant applications will be provided in the call for proposals.

Only approved Norwegian research organisations may apply under this call for proposals. It is important to note which thematic areas are included under each call. You will find these listed under the heading ‘Relevant thematic areas for this call’. Applicants must target the grant application towards one of these thematic areas.

Objectives and characteristics

A Knowledge-building Project for Industry is to develop new knowledge and generate research competence needed by the business sector to address important societal challenges.

We expect research groups and relevant actors from outside the research sector to collaborate on the project. The research organisations will mainly be responsible for conducting the research, while the partners will contribute their experience and knowledge, ensure that there is an important need for the research and that the research results are utilised.

The projects’ characteristics:

  • The projects develop new knowledge and generate research competence needed by the business sector to address important societal challenges.
  • The projects stimulate and encourage collaboration between research groups and actors from outside the research sector.
  • The projects promote new knowledge and competence-building in Norwegian research groups in priority areas.
  • The research can be of a basic and/or applied nature, and benefits broad segments of society.
  • The projects are either at or close to the research front and should therefore normally include cooperation with leading international specialist groups, thus entailing significant benefits for the Norwegian groups involved.
  • The projects normally involve recruitment positions (doctoral and/or post-doctoral fellowships).
  • The Research Council requires full and immediate open access to scientific publications; see Plan S – open access to publications

The most important roles in the application are:

  • Project Owner (the research organisation that is applying)
  • Other research organisations participating as partners
  • Partners from the business sector that contribute funding for the project (the minimum requirement is two such partners from the business sector)
  • Other partners from the business sector or other parts of society

You can find more information below about who is eligible to participate as a partner and what we expect them to contribute.

Who can participate in the project?

Projects are to be carried out by one or more research organisations in effective collaboration with relevant actors from the business sector. The project may also include partners from other sectors. Only research organisations are eligible to receive support through the project to cover their costs. Other actors must fund their own participation.

It is important that you list all actors with obligations in the project as partners in the grant application form.

Research organisations participating as partners

The projects often entail collaboration with other research organisations, but this is not a requirement.

Requirement for two partners that are not research organisations

The projects must have at least two Norwegian partners from the business sector that help to fund the project. These partners will also contribute their experience and knowledge, and ensure that the project and its objectives address real challenges. The amount of funding awarded by the Research Council may be up to four times the total cash contribution from the Norwegian partners from the business sector. See the calculation example below.

Which partners can be included as one of the two required partners from the business sector?

  • They must be actors from the business sector that contribute experience and knowledge of the challenges the project seeks to resolve.
  • The minimum requirement is only met if both partners provide cash contributions to the project.
  • They must be registered in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises.
  • They must be independent of each other. A project may have partners who are part of the same corporation, but the minimum requirement can only be met by actors that are independent of each other. We use the definition of an interdependent relationship set out in the state aid rules
  • Public enterprises are approved as partners from the business sector.
  • The following actors will not be approved as one of the two required partners from the business sector in the project, and any cash contributions from such partners will not form a basis for funding from the Research Council.
    • partners from the business sector that have close relations to or are part of the research organisation that is applying
    • Norwegian-registered foreign companies (NUFs)
    • international partners from the business sector

Other partners from the business sector or other parts of society

Other types of partners may also be important to the project, even if their contributions do not form a basis for project funding. In addition to more partners from the business sector, projects may include partners from the public sector (for example municipalities), non-governmental organisations and/or other private organisations. The projects may also have international partners.

Letter of intent from collaborating partners

When you submit an application for a call for a Knowledge-building Project for Industry, you must attach a letter of intent from each individual collaborating partner registered in the application form.

Here you can see what is included in the letter of intent and a concrete example (opens in a new window).

Use of subcontractors

The projects may use subcontractors for minor assignments. Subcontractors must not carry out research activities and cannot be granted any rights to the work they deliver.

Effective collaboration requirement

The call requires the Project Owner to carry out the project in effective collaboration with its partners. One characteristic of effective collaboration is that the partners exchange knowledge or technology to achieve a common objective based on the division of labour. The Project Owner and the partners jointly define the scope of the project, contribute to its implementation and share the risk and results. In order to avoid indirect state aid, it is important to ensure wide dissemination of results or that any intellectual property rights are divided in proportion to each participant’s contribution.

What can you seek funding for?

The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that funding from the Research Council can only be used to fund the research organisations’ project costs. The costs of Norwegian and international partners that are not research organisations must be excluded from the budget tables. This is to simplify administrative follow-up of the project. The partners’ costs are as such not included in the formal project follow-up with reporting of accounts and approval of costs. However, the activities these partners will perform should be described in the project description (under section 3.2) if you would like this information to be taken into account when the application is reviewed. 

Support may be granted for the following cost categories:

  • Payroll and indirect expenses related to researcher time (including research fellowship positions) at the research organisations. For doctoral research fellowships, funding is limited to a maximum of three full-time equivalents. Funding for two to four years may be granted for post-doctoral research fellowships.
  • Equipment, encompassing operating and depreciation costs for scientific equipment and research infrastructure necessary for the implementation of the project. All major equipment investments must be specified in the application.
  • Other operating expenses, which comprise costs for other activities that are necessary to implement the project. All costs for activities or procurements from subcontractors that exceed NOK 100,000 must be specified in the application.

Do not use the item Procurement of R&D services.

On the Research Council’s website, you can find information about the hourly rates to be applied regardless of whether the partners are from the institute sector or the university and university college sector. You will also find information about how to keep time sheets for the international research organisations.

Funding will not be provided for costs that are not entered in the Project Owner’s official accounts. If, for example, the project is offered free use of data sets or equipment, this cannot be entered as a project cost.

You can only apply for funding for research activities defined as basic research or industrial research. The call does not award funding for experimental development. Nor are operational business activities or activities associated with the commercial exploitation of the R&D results, such as protection of intellectual property rights, market surveys or marketing, eligible for funding.

You will find important and more detailed information about what to enter in the project budget on our website. 

If the project involves international partners

Projects are to promote long-term knowledge-building in Norwegian research groups within thematic areas of particular importance to stakeholders in Norwegian society. This means that the majority of the project funding is to be used in Norway. However, collaboration with international partners will often add great value to the project.

Different rules apply to international partners as regards the incorporation of their costs into the project budget and whether they may receive funding from the Research Council to cover these costs. Cash contributions from international partners from the business sector will not form a basis for funding from the Research Council.

International research organisations

Yes, costs may be entered into the project budget and may also be covered by funding from the Research Council. For doctoral research fellows whose degree-conferring institution is located abroad, we only fund the part of the work the research fellow contributes to the project, and not the doctoral degree in its entirety.

International public players and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation)

No, these costs are not to be entered in the budget tables. They are not covered by the funds granted to the project. However, the activities these actors will perform should be described in the project description if you would like this information to be taken into account when the application is reviewed.

International companies and undertakings

International sub-contractors

Yes. The project may engage sub-contractors from abroad. The sub-contractors’ costs are to be submitted to the Project Owner in the form of an invoice in the same way as Norwegian subcontractors. Procurements from subcontractors that exceed NOK 100,000 must be specified in the application.

The funding requirement and how the funding is calculated

Partners must provide a cash contribution to cover a share of the research organisations’ costs. This is called ‘private funding’ in the funding table in the grant application form.

The Research Council’s general rule is that funding may not exceed four times the total cash contribution from the Norwegian partners from the business sector. Endeavours are made to meet this rule also in each individual year of the project period.

Calculation example