Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project
Published 30 Jan 2020
This call for proposals may be subject to revision until six weeks before the application submission deadline. It will be possible to create and submit grant applications from that date and up to the submission deadline. If the call is revised, we will provide notification here.
21 February: the date for latest permitted project start has been changed in this call for proposals from 1 December 2021 to 1 August 2021.
Funding is intended to advance the research front by providing larger-scale allocations to interdisciplinary projects. The Research Council will provide support for researchers from different subject areas to work together to generate new knowledge that would not be possible to obtain without interdisciplinary cooperation. Grant proposals will be accepted for projects within all disciplines and research areas, and applicants must have demonstrated the ability to conduct research of high scientific merit.
The researchers participating in the project must represent two or more different subject groups as defined at level 2 of the Norwegian Classification of Scientific Disciplines.
25 Mar 2020
Date call is made active
06 May 2020
Application submission deadline
01 Jan 2021
Earliest permitted project start
01 Aug 2021
Latest permitted project start
31 Jul 2027
Latest permitted project completion
About the call for proposals
Projects will be financed under the Fellesløft IV joint funding initiative, which entails co-funding from Norway’s research organisations and the Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO).
The researchers participating in the project must represent two or more different subject groups as defined at level 2 of the Norwegian Classification of Scientific Disciplines drawn up by Universities Norway (UHR). These researchers are to work together to generate new knowledge that would not be possible to obtain without interdisciplinary cooperation.
Grant proposals will be accepted for projects within all disciplines and research areas. Applicants must have demonstrated the ability to conduct research of high scientific quality.
The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.
Who is eligible to apply?
Who can participate in the project?
Requirements relating to the Project Owner
Under the Fellesløft IV joint funding initiative, each applicant institution itself provides financing equivalent to half of the amount sought from the Research Council if the project is awarded funding. The management at each applicant institution must send a list to the Research Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) by at the latest 13 May 2020 of the applications the institution has submitted for Large-scale Interdisciplinary Research Projects (Fellesløft IV). Institutions will be requested to withdraw any grant applications that are not included on these lists.
Requirements relating to the project manager
To qualify as project manager, you must have an approved doctorate or equivalent qualifications before the date of the application submission deadline.
- If you do not have an approved doctorate but are qualified at associate professorship level or have current or previous employment in the Norwegian research institute sector or a health trust in a position as forsker 1 (research professor), forsker 2 (senior researcher) or seniorforsker (senior researcher), you are also qualified.
An individual may serve as project manager for only one grant application for a Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project for the 6 May 2020 deadline. The same individual may in addition serve as project manager for one grant application submitted for a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, Researcher Project for Young Talents or Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility for the 6 May 2020 deadline. There is no restriction on the number of applications on which you may be listed as a partner.
Requirements relating to partners
To be eligible for funding, projects must have an interdisciplinary approach and incorporate collaboration between researchers from different subject fields. If this collaboration involves researchers at different institutions, the respective institutions must be listed as partners. Only approved Norwegian research organisations (see under “Who is eligible to apply?” above) and corresponding research organisations in other countries are eligible to be partners and to receive Researcher Project funding.
Other types of organisations, such as companies and other undertakings, are not eligible to receive support for Researcher Projects and may not be project partners, 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. For companies defined as “undertakings” in the state aid rules, it is particularly important to note that the Research Council does not award state aid under Researcher Projects.
See here for more information about the state aid rules.
A project participant may not be assigned two different roles in the project. This means that a supplier of R&D services for the project may not have the role of Project Owner or partner in the same project.
What can you seek funding for?
Please see the webpage on “What to enter in the project budget” for details and important information.
You may seek funding to cover actual costs that are necessary to execute the project. The Project Owner is to obtain information about costs from each project partner. These costs are to be entered into the cost plan under the relevant category.
Support may be granted for the following costs:
- Payroll and indirect expenses, related to researcher time (including research fellowship positions) at the research organisations participating in the project. For doctoral and post-doctoral research fellowships, this funding is limited to maximum three person-years.
- Procurement of R&D services. The Project Owner and partners may purchase R&D-related services from public and private suppliers individually or together.
- Equipment. This encompasses operating and depreciation costs for scientific equipment and research infrastructure necessary for the execution of the project.
- Other operating expenses, which comprise costs for other activities that are necessary to carry out R&D efforts under the project.
If the project includes doctoral and post-doctoral research fellowships and there are concrete plans in place for research stays abroad for the fellowship-holders, the costs of such stays may be included in the grant application. The Research Council has also issued a separate call for Research Stays Abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral research fellows. During the project period, the project manager may seek funding under that call for research stays abroad for research fellows affiliated with the project.
Scope of funding
Applicants may apply for a minimum of NOK 12 million and a maximum of NOK 25 million in funding from the Research Council. This amount includes both Research Council funding and the research institution’s own contribution under the Fellesløft IV joint funding initiative. This entire amount is to be entered in the field “The Research Council” in the funding plan in the application form, and is to be distributed among the various budget items. Own financing in excess of the institution’s own contribution under the joint funding initiative is to be entered in the field “Own financing” in the funding plan.
Conditions for funding
The researchers participating in the project must represent two or more different subject groups as defined at level 2 of the Norwegian Classification of Scientific Disciplines drawn up by Universities Norway (UHR).
The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that the Research Council funding must only go to the non-economic activity of the research organisations. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities. Companies will not be eligible to receive support to cover projects costs and may not receive indirect support through the granting of any rights to project results.
The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of support for the first year and any pledges for subsequent years are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects.
Archiving of research data
The Project Owner (research 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.
Regarding medical and health-related studies involving human participants
The Research Council of Norway has specific requirements and guidelines for prospective registration and disclosure of medical and health related studies involving human participants.
Frequently asked questions
What kinds of activities/funding may be included in the funding half that the research institutions are to provide themselves under the joint funding initiative?
- R&D funding from the business sector, organisations and other external sources may be included, provided that this funding was not intended to be used in another research project.
- Funding from other research projects funded by the EU or the Research Council may not be included.
- Work contributions from staff in scientific positions in the university and university college or research institute sector may be included, provided that the payroll costs for the work hours to be used in the Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project are not covered by funding from another research project (see points above).
- In-kind contributions from partners (i.e. work contributions or other services) may be included.
Relevant thematic areas for this call
NOK 1 billion for ground-breaking research (FRIPRO)
The Research Council’s activities targeting ground-breaking research (FRIPRO) are designed to strengthen Norway’s national knowledge preparedness. This is achieved by investing in the best projects within both basic and applied research. The funding awarded is to promote scientific merit on the international research front and to facilitate bold thinking and innovative research.
Prioritisation of grant applications
To be eligible for funding, grant applications must have received a mark of 6 or 7 in the overall assessment from the referee panel.
When drawing up lists ranking grant applications we will attach greatest importance to the criterion Excellence. Assuming all other factors are essentially equal, priority will be given to projects led by women project managers
The process by which the research organisations themselves select the grant applications they wish to fund is described under “Administrative procedures” below.
Requirements for this application type
The grant application form must be created and submitted via “My RCN Web”. You may revise and resubmit your grant application form multiple times up to the application submission deadline. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as you have filled in the application form and included all mandatory attachments. After the deadline, it is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be processed.
Applications that do not satisfy the following requirements will be rejected:
- The grant application, including all attachments, must be submitted in English.
- All mandatory attachments must be included.
- Requirements relating to the project manager must be satisfied.
- Requirements relating to the Project Owner (research organisation) must be satisfied.
- The project must start between 1 January 2021 and 1 August 2021.
- Funding must be sought from the Research Council for 2021.
The designated templates must be used. They will be found at the end of the call for proposals.
- A project description, maximum 15 pages.
- A CV for the project manager, maximum four pages. CVs that exceed the maximum length will not be included in the application review process.
- CVs for the key researchers participating in the interdisciplinary collaboration. Each CV must not exceed four pages. CVs that exceed the maximum length will not be included in the application review process.
- Applicants are free to propose up to three referees who are presumed to be impartial and qualified to review the grant proposal.
- To ensure impartiality, we do not use referees who have their place of employment in Norway. The Research Council is not under any obligation to use the proposed referees, but may use them as needed.
Attachments other than those specified above as mandatory or optional, as well as any links to websites in the grant application, will not be included in the application review process.
Grant applications will be assessed in relation to the following criteria:
• Scientific creativity and originality.
• Novelty and boldness of hypotheses or research questions.
• Potential for development of new knowledge beyond the current state-of-the-art, including significant theoretical, methodological, experimental or empirical advancement.
The quality of the proposed R&D activities
• Quality of the research questions, hypotheses and project objectives, and the extent to which they are clearly and adequately specified.
• Credibility and appropriateness of the theoretical approach, research design and use of scientific methods. Appropriate consideration of interdisciplinary approaches.
• The extent to which appropriate consideration has been given to ethical issues, safety issues, gender dimension in research content, and use of stakeholder/user knowledge if appropriate.
• Potential for academic impact:
The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future scientific challenges.
• Potential for societal impact (if addressed by the applicant):
The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address UN Sustainable Development Goals or other important present and/or future societal challenges.
• The extent to which the potential impacts are clearly formulated and plausible.
Communication and exploitation
• Quality and scope of communication and engagement activities with different target audiences, including relevant stakeholders/users.
• The extent to which the project manager has relevant expertise and experience, and demonstrated ability to perform high-quality research (as appropriate to the career stage).
• The degree of complementarity of the participants and the extent to which the project group has the necessary expertise needed to undertake the research effectively.
The quality of the project organisation and management
• Effectiveness of the project organisation, 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 participants have a valid role and adequate resources in the project to fulfil that role.
• Appropriateness of the proposed management structures and governance.
Overall assessment of the referee/panel
See the timeline at the bottom of this page for an overview of the schedule for the various stages of the application processing.
Referee panel review
The referee panel review forms the core of the application processing procedure. All applications for a Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project will be assessed by the common set of international referee panels used to assess the Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, Researcher Project for Young Talents and Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility.
Grant applications will be distributed to the panels on the basis of their research content. First, using artificial intelligence, we will carry out a rough categorisation of the approximately 2 500 applications we expect to be submitted for the 6 May 2020 deadline. The applications will then be further sorted manually into smaller groups before we establish the referee panels. In 2019, each of the 96 panels we set up processed an average of 27 applications. Your application will be assessed once, by the referees in a single panel.
For each grant application, we check to ensure that the panel has sufficient expertise to review the application’s research topic. When needed, assessments from individual external specialists will be obtained to support the panel in reaching a consensus-based assessment.
Prior to the panel meeting, all the referees will review each grant application and assign marks for each of the assessment criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation, as well as a mark for overall assessment of the application. During its meeting, the panel reviews the projects and discusses and reaches a consensus on a final mark for each criterion. The panel will assess the interdisciplinary approach to be used in the project. The referee panel’s mark for overall assessment is assigned based on a discretionary, general review in which each assessment criterion is weighted approximately equally, and the application is considered in light of the primary objective of a Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project. A written explanation of the assessment is drawn up in consensus.
Grant applications that receive a mark of 5 or lower in the overall assessment will not be awarded funding. For applications assigned a mark of 4 or lower, the applicant will receive simplified feedback consisting of the marks assigned for the individual criteria and overall assessment and the written comments in the overall assessment.
Ranking of grant applications
The elements to be stressed when establishing the order of priority between interdisciplinary projects of high scientific quality are described under the heading “Prioritisation of grant applications”. The elements to be stressed when assigning the marks for the individual criteria and the overall mark are described under the heading “Assessment criteria”. Grant applications must receive a mark of 6 or 7 in the overall assessment to be eligible for funding. These applications will be submitted for formal approval by the portfolio board, which is responsible for taking the final funding decisions.
Decision to grant funding
For the universities: The Research Council will submit ranked lists and the referee assessments for the ranked grant proposals on these lists to the respective universities. Each university will draw up a list of the grant proposals it selects for funding. The portfolio boards are responsible for final approval of grant allocations based on the universities’ lists.
For other research organisations: On the basis of the ranked lists, the Research Council will make an offer to the relevant institutions to co-fund the most highly ranked grant applications.
The portfolio boards are responsible for final approval of grant allocations based on the organisations’ decisions.
May 2020: Preliminary administrative review
Grant applications that do not satisfy the formal requirements outlined in the call will be rejected.
June 2020: Establishment of referee panels
We will establish international referee panels, each comprising 4–8 referees with expertise appropriate for the respective grant applications to be assessed.
August–October 2020: Panel meetings
Prior to the meetings, the referees assess all of the grant applications assigned to their panel.
During the panel meeting, the referees assign the final marks, compile an assessment based on consensus and rank the best applications.
November–December 2020: Prioritisation and recommendations
The grant applications found to be eligible for funding are approved in the portfolio boards.
January 2021: Decision to grant funding
The institutions receive ranked lists and select the grant applications to be awarded funding. The outcome will be published on the Research Council website. All applicant institutions will also receive written notification via “My RCN Web”.