Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility

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.

Purpose

The purpose of this call is to increase international mobility and promote career development among researchers at an early stage in their careers, as well as to facilitate knowledge transfer to research groups in Norway. This call is targeted towards researchers at the post-doctoral level who are to spend two years at a research organisation abroad and the third year at a research organisation in Norway. Grant proposals will be accepted for projects within all disciplines and research areas.

Important dates

25 Mar 2020

Date call is made active

06 May 2020

Application submission deadline

Important dates

About the call for proposals

Funding under this call is available for projects within all disciplines and research areas. Grant applications will be accepted for ground-breaking research projects involving either basic or applied research.

Specific requirements have been stipulated for the experience of the project manager; see under “Who can participate in the project?”. Funding under this call is for researchers at the post-doctoral level who are to spend two years at a research organisation abroad and the third year at a research organisation in Norway.

An individual may serve as project manager for only one grant application submitted for a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, Researcher Project for Young Talents or Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (this call) for the 6 May 2020 deadline. The same individual may in addition serve as project manager for one grant application for a Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project for the 6 May 2020 deadline.

There is no restriction on the number of applications on which you may be listed as a partner.

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 Norwegian research organisations.

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner
The research organisation is to be entered as the Project Owner in the application form, and must have authorised the submission of the grant application to the Research Council.

Requirements related to the project manager
You must have completed a doctorate before project start-up. If you have not formally submitted your doctoral dissertation at the time of submission of the grant application, you must forward confirmation that you have submitted your dissertation at the earliest possible date, and at the latest by 1 November 2020, otherwise the grant application will be rejected. Send the confirmation in PDF format by email to post@forskningsradet.no, and label it with the project number and name of the project manager.

As of the application submission deadline, no more than seven years may have passed since the date of defence of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation. You must have defended your dissertation no earlier than 6 May 2013. 

If more than seven years have passed, you may apply to subtract statutory leaves of absence, compulsory military or civilian service and/or sick leave in accordance with our rules for subtracting time.

Rules for subtracting time
You may apply to subtract time used in connection with statutory leaves of absence, compulsory military service and/or continuous (full-time and/or part-time) sick leave equal to at least eight weeks full-time absence.

The periods to be subtracted must have taken place after the doctoral defence.

You are required to submit documentation of the time you are asking to subtract with your grant application. You must also enter the time deduction in the application form. We accept documentation from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), physicians/health services and employers. Documentation from current or former supervisors is not sufficient. If you are providing documentation from an employer, it must come from the employer’s administration department, such as the HR department.

The documentation must be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English, or must be accompanied by a certified translation into one of these languages.

We follow the rules for leaves of absence set out in the Norwegian Working Environment Act, and you may apply to subtract time for any leaves of absence you would have been entitled to if you had lived in Norway at the time. For example, you may subtract time for parental leave in a country that does not have statutory parental leave, provided that you actually took parental leave. You must be able to document the leave as described above.
  • It is not possible to receive funding for a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility more than once.
  • As of the application submission deadline, you may not have lived or worked in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months in the past three years.
  • You must be employed by the Project Owner (Norwegian research organisation) for the entire duration of the project period.

An individual may serve as project manager for only one grant application submitted for a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, Researcher Project for Young Talents or Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (this call) for the 6 May 2020 deadline. The same individual may in addition serve as project manager for one grant application submitted for a Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project 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
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: Own payroll expenses for three 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, for 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. Here you may enter up to two round-trip tickets between Norway and the host country

Scope of funding
You may apply for a minimum of NOK 3.0 million and a maximum of NOK 3.9 million from the Research Council to cover project costs. A spreadsheet to aid you in calculating costs will be made available soon.

Own payroll expenses for three years

For the first two years (to be spent abroad), the following rates apply: 

2021 2022 2023 2024
940 711 967 992 996 064 1 024 949

For the third year (to be spent in Norway) the following rates apply:

2023 2024
1 220 000 1 265 000

These rates include overhead costs for the research organisations abroad and in Norway.

Research stays abroad for the first 12 months abroad
See the Research Council’s rates. The amount will be entered automatically if you use the spreadsheet that will be made available soon.

Conditions for funding
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.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Funding under this call is available for projects within all disciplines and research areas. Grant applications will be accepted for ground-breaking research projects involving either basic or applied research.

Ground-breaking research

Natural sciences, technology, humanities, social sciences and life sciences

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 period must be three years. The first two years are to be spent at a research organisation abroad, and the third year at a Norwegian research organisation. When necessary, up to two months of the time to be spent at the Norwegian research organisation may be moved to the beginning of the project period.
  • The project must start between 1 January 2021 and 1 December 2021.
  • Funding must be sought from the Research Council for 2021.

Attachments

The designated templates must be used. They will be found at the end of the call for proposals.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description, maximum 11 pages.
  • A letter of invitation from the host institution abroad.
  • A CV for the project manager, maximum four pages. 
  • Any documentation required to establish time deductions for the experience requirements, when relevant.

Optional attachments

  • CVs for the key project participants. Each CV must not exceed four pages; CVs that exceed the maximum length will not be included in the application review process.
    • Applicants themselves are to decide which project participants are most important and in which cases it will be of significance to the review process to assess these participants’ qualifications.
  • 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.

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed in relation to the following criteria:

Excellence

The extent to which the proposed work is ambitious, novel, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art
• 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.

Impact

Potential for enhancement of the career prospects of the researcher
• The extent to which the project, including the choice of the host institution abroad, will enhance the potential and future career prospects of the researcher.
• Quality and appropriateness of the training and supervision of the researcher, and of the integration in the host institutions.
• Potential for transfer of knowledge from the host institution abroad to the Norwegian host institution during the third year of the project.

Potential impact of the proposed research
• 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.

Implementation

The quality of the project manager and project group
• 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

Overall assessment of the referee/panel based, on the criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation.

Administrative procedures

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 Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, Researcher Project for Young Talents, Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility and Large-scale Interdisciplinary Researcher Project will be assessed by a common set of international referee panels.

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. 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, regardless of whether you have selected one or multiple topics for your application.

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 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 Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility. A written explanation of the assessment is drawn up in consensus.

Grant applications that receive a mark of 4 or lower in the overall assessment will not be awarded funding. The applicant will in this case receive 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 projects will be described under each topic under the heading “Prioritisation of grant applications”. The Research Council uses this to draw up a recommendation for the portfolio board on which applications to fund. The portfolio board is responsible for taking the final funding decisions. We often provide the portfolio board with alternative suggested rankings to make it easier to choose which considerations to emphasise within the available budget.

Please note that the amount of funding announced, overall and per individual topic, represents the estimated amount of funding available. The final amounts allocated may deviate somewhat from these estimates. This may be due to changes in the financial framework or to the number and quality of grant applications received viewed in light of other calls for proposals.

Administrative procedures

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 2020: Recommendations

The Research Council draws up a recommendation for funding of grant applications.

December 2020: Final decision regarding funding awards

The relevant portfolio board is responsible for the final decision regarding the funding of grant applications. The outcome will be published on the Research Council website. All applicant institutions will also receive written notification via My RCN Web.

Administrative procedures