Funding for Norwegian Research at CERN

Important dates

09 Oct 2019

Date call is made active

20 Nov 2019

Application submission deadline

01 Jan 2020

Earliest permitted project start

01 Mar 2020

Latest permitted project start

01 Mar 2028

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates


The CERN laboratory close to Geneva is a global leader in high-energy particle and nuclear physics. Norway has been a member of CERN since the organisation was established in 1954. Norway’s annual membership fee is approximately NOK 230 million, funded directly over the government budget.

Funding is being made available under this call for a project to ensure the best possible scientific use of Norway’s CERN membership.

The purpose of this call for proposals is to provide funding for continued Norwegian participation in the large-scale, long-term CERN experiments that Norwegian researchers have helped to develop, establish and take part in over many years. A large portion of this funding is to cover Norway’s contribution to the operation and maintenance of these experiments, with associated electronic infrastructure. Funding will also be provided for some research in connection with these experiments. Participation in selected, lower-cost experiments at CERN may also be given priority and be included.

A position for a Norwegian Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) is to be funded under the project. The project must also co-finance Norwegian technical students at CERN, visits to CERN by Norwegian upper secondary schools, and other CERN events designed to generate greater interest in CERN in Norway.

About the call for proposals

Please note that funding will only be granted to one project.

The following priorities will apply when assessing grant proposals:

  • The Research Council requires that the University of Bergen (UiB) and University of Oslo (UiO), which currently have Norway’s largest CERN research groups, must have leading roles in the project.
  • The project’s use of funding from the Research Council and research institutions must reflect the strategic plans of, and be prioritised by, a steering group/board. This steering group/board must comprise the heads of faculties and/or departments from UiB and UiO, which currently have Norway’s largest CERN research groups, in addition to at least one member from another Norwegian research institution involved in research at CERN.
  • Project funds must primarily be used to cover continued Norwegian participation in the large-scale, long-term CERN experiments that Norwegian researchers have helped to develop, establish and take part in over many years. A large portion of this funding is to cover Norway’s contribution to the operation and maintenance of these experiments, with associated electronic infrastructure. Funding will also be provided for some research in connection with these experiments. The steering group may also give priority to participation in selected, lower-cost experiments at CERN.
  • Project funds are to finance research of high international quality.
  • The contribution to the research activities at CERN of the participating universities must be at least equal to the contribution from the Research Council.
  • It must be possible for researchers from Norwegian research institutions other than UiB and UiO to participate in the prioritised experiments at CERN. The financial terms for contributions from these researchers’ institutions’ must be on a par with the terms established for UiB/UiO.
  • The Research Council will conduct evaluations of the Norwegian CERN research related to the relevant experiments regularly and roughly every four years. This evaluation will extend to the research conducted in the previous four-year period as well as the strategy, priorities and plans for research activities for the subsequent four-year period and the four-year period after that. Organisation and resource use will also be evaluated. It will also be possible for research groups not funded under the project to participate and be evaluated.
  • The evaluation may lead to requirements for changes in research content, priorities, distribution of funding for and length of future contract period (which may be less than eight years), and the Research Council’s contribution.
  • The steering group/board (comprising UiO and UiB) must take on the Research Council’s previous role as a party to the Memorandum of Understanding with CERN regarding the amount and content of Norway’s contribution to experiments at CERN and associated data management.
  • The overall funding for Norwegian CERN activities must maintain the current level of support for a Norwegian ILO, co-financing of Norwegian technical students at CERN and the organisation of visits to CERN by Norwegian upper secondary schools and other CERN events designed to generate greater interest in CERN in Norway.

The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.

Who is eligible to apply?

The call is open to approved Norwegian research organisations. See here for the list of approved research organisations.

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner

The organisation is to be listed as the Project Owner in the application form and must have authorised you to submit the grant application.

Requirements relating to the project manager

To qualify as project manager, individuals must hold an approved doctorate or have obtained qualifications at associate professorship level before the date of the application submission deadline.

Requirements relating to partners

Only research organisations are eligible to be partners in the project and to receive Research Council funding.

Other types of organisations, such as companies and other undertakings, may not be partners in the project and are not eligible to receive support, but they may serve as suppliers of R&D services to the project. In such cases, the intellectual property rights related to the result of the supplier’s work activities will become the property of the institution procuring the services.

What can you seek funding for?

  • Payroll and indirect expenses relating to researcher time (including research fellowships) at the research institutions participating in the project. See here for guidelines for calculating payroll and indirect expenses in grant applications to the Research Council.
  • Operating expenses, including procurement of R&D services and costs related to the operation and depreciation of scientific equipment. Please refer to the Research Council’s guidelines for depreciation of equipment.
  • Expenses for operation and maintenance of selected experiments at CERN (as agreed to in the Memorandum of Understanding), any necessary commitments in those same experiments, the Norwegian Industrial Liaison Officer for CERN, and membership of and participation in selected international committees for particle and nuclear physics.

It is possible to seek funding from the Research Council to cover budgeted project costs of up to NOK 22.85 million per year.

Actual costs relating to researcher time of scientific personnel are to be budgeted using the TDI full costing methodology for research. Any differences between budgeted costs and the Research Council rates must be covered by own financing or other funding and must be specified in the grant application as own financing.

Conditions for funding

Support from the Research Council to a research organisation is to be reserved for the organisation’s non-economic activity, and as such therefore does not constitute state aid. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities.

The project must start between 1 January 2020 and 1 March 2020. The latest permitted project completion is 1 March 2028.

Scientific articles and research data

The Project Owner (R&D organisation) 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.

Reports and disbursement of funding

A progress report is to be submitted each year, including information about research fellowship holders.

In addition, prior to the evaluation to be conducted roughly every fourth year, the project manager must ensure that relevant background information is provided.

In accordance with the details specified, information is to be provided about research results (the Norwegian contributions) and the research in each work package, about how the various activities are funded, organised and managed, and about research fellows, strategies and plans. 

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Scientific quality

Norwegian Research at CERN

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

It will be possible to create and submit grant applications six weeks before the application submission deadline. You may revise and resubmit your grant application form multiple times up to the application submission deadline. After the deadline, it is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be processed.

  • The grant application, including all attachments, must be submitted in English.
  • All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description of maximum 15 pages using the designated template at the end of this call.
  • CV for the project manager, using the designated template found at the end of this call.
  • CVs for the work package leaders, using the designated template found at the end of this call.

Grant applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected.

Links in the application form or project description to websites and documents, as well as other attachments than those specified above, will not be included in the application review process. There is no technical validation of the content of the attachments you upload, so please make sure that you upload the correct file for the selected type of attachment.

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Excellence | FS

The extent to which,
• the objectives are beyond the state-of-the-art (e.g. novel concepts and approaches, development of novel methodology or development across disciplines).
• the proposed research and objectives are ambitious.

The extent to which,
• the outlined scientific approach is feasible.
• the proposed research methodology is appropriate to achieve the goals of the centre.
• the use of stakeholder knowledge is appropriate.
• when relevant, the consideration of interdisciplinary approaches is appropriate.

Impact | FS

Potential impact on
1. Research and the research system
2. Societal challenges, value creation and restructuring

The extent to which,
• the project will contribute to further development of a research environment, increase research capacity and build expertise.
• the project will attract and train research talents beyond what could be attained in the individual research group.

Communication and exploitation
The extent to which,
• the engagement with and dissemination to relevant audiences is appropriate.
• the involvement of relevant stakeholders is appropriate.

Implementation | FS

The project manager and project group
The extent to which,
• the project manager (centre director) is qualified to lead an initiative of this size.
• the described research team and expertise is optimal for the proposed centre.
• the track records of the project manager and the project group demonstrate ability to perform high-quality research.

Project organisation and management, project plan and the allocated time and resources
• The extent to which having this centre will lead to added value.
• The extent to which the management structures and procedures, including risk and innovation management, are appropriate.
• Effectiveness of the work plan, including the extent to which resources assigned to work packages are aligned with project objectives and deliverables.
• Appropriateness of the allocation of tasks, ensuring that all project partners, including user partners, have a valid role in the project and adequate resources to fulfil that role.

The quality and extent of international cooperation
• The extent to which the level and quality of the international cooperation activities are in line with the objectives of the centre.

Gender balance in the centre's project group
• If the scientific field is characterised by a gender imbalance, are there plans to support development of research talents of the under-represented gender towards qualification for senior-level positions appropriate?

Relevance to the call for proposals

The extent to which the project satisfies the guidelines and stipulations set out in the call for proposals.

Administrative procedures

Grant applications will be assessed according to the assessment criteria and in relation to the priorities and guidelines specified in the call for proposals. When necessary, the Research Council will ask an international referee panel to assess applications. Previous evaluations of Norwegian CERN research may be incorporated into the application assessment.

The final funding decision will be announced in December 2019.

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