Chinese-Norwegian Collaboration Projects on Digitalisation

The selection of proposals to be funded will be implemented as a two-step process both at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Research Council of Norway (RCN).

In Norway, the first step is to create and submit a project outline via the Research Council’s eSøknad online submission system by at the latest 12 June 2019 (this call).

Please note: for calls for proposals with an open-ended deadline, you cannot change and resubmit the application once it has been submitted. You must therefore complete the application before you submit it.

Viktige datoer

12 Jun 2019

Application deadline

30 Jun 2019

Call for full proposal will be announced sometime in June 2019

25 Sep 2019

Deadline for submitting your full proposal (TBC)

Viktige datoer


Following up the Memorandum of Understanding between China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Research Council of Norway, this joint call asks for industry-oriented proposals for collaborative research projects on digitalisation.

About the call for proposals

In this call we ask all interested applicants to prepare a project outline before 12 June 2019. MoST and RCN will make a joint decision about which applicants are eligible to submit a full proposal.

To be eligible to apply for funding for Chinese-Norwegian collaboration projects on digitalisation, Norwegian applicants are required to submit a project outline.

The objective of the call is to strengthen Chinese-Norwegian research and industrial collaboration with the aim of developing products, services and processes which are beneficial to individuals, businesses and society in a safe and responsible manner.

The final call will be using the following application type: International Collaboration Projects with the objective to help find solutions to societal challenges and enhance business development in priority areas.

Amount of funding presumed available for the upcoming call for proposals for Collaboration Projects: NOK 74 million over three years for Norwegian partners, 6–10 million per project.

China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is to provide in total 60 Million RMB for Chinese partners.

This complete call is only available in English.

The call for proposals has been approved as an aid scheme by The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference: GBER 37/2019/R&D&I.

Who is eligible to apply?

Approved Norwegian research organisations may apply if they are partners in ongoing projects funded by the following funding schemes at the Research Council of Norway: SFI, FME or Chinese-Norwegian research networks funded by the Research Council of Norway (for example INTPART) or EU (for example Marie Curie).

The main applicant must be a Norwegian research organisation: universities, university colleges and research institutes are eligible to apply. Industry partners are required.

For large organisations with many faculties/divisions and institutes/departments, the application should be from the institute/department that is hosting or is partner in an SFI, FME or network.

Who can participate in the project?

The Project Owner must be an approved Norwegian research organisation.

What can you seek funding for?

Costs that can be covered

Relevant project costs such as payroll costs, one or more fellowships, procurement of R&D services, networking measures and depreciation of equipment used in the project may be covered. Funding will not be awarded for doctoral research fellowships for individuals who already have a doctoral degree/Ph.D.

Support from the Research Council to a research organisation is to be reserved for the organisation’s non-economic activity. When an undertaking receives support to cover a portion of its project costs, as a partner in the project, this support must be awarded in accordance with Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014).


Scientific articles and research data

The Project Owner (institution/company) is responsible for selecting the archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project. The Project Owner must specify the planned solution(s) in connection with the revised grant proposal.

Two-step process

The selection of proposals to be funded will be implemented as a two-step process both at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Research Council of Norway (RCN).

The process at RCN will be:

  • Step 1:
    1. FME, SFI and INTPART partners are invited to submit project outlines including ongoing and planned cooperation with Chinese partners. Submitting a project outline is mandatory in order to be considered for step two.
    2. There will be a mapping of eligible applicants between MoST and RCN. The process is expected to be completed in June 2019.
  • Step 2:
    1. Eligible applicants are invited to send full project proposal. See requirements included below. Application deadline: 25 September or 10 November 2019 (TBD).
    2. Project proposals will be assessed by international experts/panel of experts.
    3. MoST and RCN will implement a joint decision-making procedure to determine the outcome of the call. Projects must receive a high assessment score in both countries to be funded.

The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) will run a two-step process where only a selection of proposals will be included in the second round. First round reviews at MoST: Project outlines will be reviewed by more than 5 experts online. The number of proposals selected for second round evaluation is no more than 4 times the number of proposals to be funded. Second round review: Project outlines will be reviewed by more than 15 experts in a panel meeting.

Application requirements in full proposal

  1. Project consortia must include at least one Chinese and one Norwegian partner.
  2. The application must come from a research organisation, but must have industry participation (both from Norway and China) in the project. Chinese company partners in a project are required to provide at least the same amount of funding to that of the MoST’s grant. Joint applications by multiple companies and research institutes is encouraged.
  3. The proposals must include plans for research covering the specified priority. It must also include plans for practical application in the form of innovation or commercialisation.
  4. Chinese and Norwegian partners are asked to collaborate on the basis of complementarity, equality and mutual benefit. Both sides should have balanced inputs and work packages in a project.
  5. Chinese and Norwegian partners must have a clear IPR agreement ready before applying.
  6. In principle, the implementation period of the project cannot exceed 3 years. Personnel exchanges are encouraged within a project.
  7. Chinese and Norwegian partners must submit their applications respectively to MoST/RCN. Applications submitted only to one side are invalid. The proposals must have identical titles, partner lists, and short (half page) summaries in English in the proposals submitted in China and Norway respectively. This is to ensure that the proposals are identified as the same.
  8. Projects that are dependent on collecting data (in particular sensitive data) must include a plan/timeline for data access and data management, and comment on the risk of not getting access to data within the time plan. For all projects that are awarded funding, the Research Council will ask the Project Owner to draw up a data management plan. If the Project Owner believes there will be no need for such a data management plan, this must be explained. Read more about Open access to research data.

Other information relating to projects that receive funding from the Research Council

The project will submit an annual progress report to the Research Council and a project accounting report shall be submitted by 20 January each year.

Disbursment of funding
The funding from the Research Council is paid automatically for the first and second four-month periods. Payment for the third four-month period takes place after an approved accounting report.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

This MoST-RCN joint call on digitalisation accepts research project proposals that integrate innovation based on digital technologies and ethical, legal, cultural and social perspectives, with the aim of developing products, services and processes which are beneficial to individuals, businesses and society in a safe and responsible manner.

The research activity should target one of the following areas:

  1. Ubiquitous data and services
    Content technologies and information management, deep learning and artificial intelligence, visualisation, robotics, distributed systems such as blockchain and the Internet of things are areas that will bring about major changes to society, create new opportunities and give rise to difficult dilemmas and issues of global and national significance.
  2. Digitalisation of traditional industries
    Technologies such as industrial robotics, big data, AI and drone are seeing a great increase of application in traditional industries, boosting productivity, optimising efficiency and creating new business modes. Key focuses/foci may include:
    • Digital technologies for mining, oil and gas fields
    • Digitalisation of power stations

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

  • Outlines must be submitted using the template Mandatory project outlines for Chinese-Norwegian collaboration projects on digitalisation (see template for outline in list below).
  • The project outline must be written in English.
  • The project outline must be submitted via the Research Council’s online application system no later than 12 June 2019.

Please note that the project outline may only be submitted once.

Assessment criteria

The following criteria will apply for the next step, assessment of full project proposal:


  • The extent to which the proposed work is ambitious, novel, and goes beyond the state of the art
  • The quality of the proposed R&D activities


  • Potential impact of the proposed research
  • Communication and exploitation


  • The quality of the project manager and project group

Administrative procedures

Project outlines will be checked for eligibility on an ongoing basis by advisers at the Research Council. MoST and RCN will make a joint decision about which applicants are eligible to send a full proposal. Feedback on eligibility is expected to be given by the end of June 2019.

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