Collaborative Project to Enhance Transformation and Value Creation in the Building, Construction and Real Estate Industry

Completed

Purpose

The objective of this call is to generate new knowledge needed by the building, construction and real estate industry to enhance innovation and sustainable value creation. The projects are to stimulate and support cooperation between research groups and companies in the building, construction and real estate industry.

Important dates

24 Mar 2021

Date call is made active

12 May 2021

Application submission deadline

01 Oct 2021

Earliest permitted project start

01 Dec 2021

Latest permitted project start

30 Nov 2025

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates

About the call for proposals

Funding can be awarded to research concerning transformation, sustainable value creation and increased competitiveness in building, construction and real estate industry. We want to support collaborative projects with topics related to industrialisation of building processes, digitalisation, automation and effective forms of collaboration. The projects are to generate new knowledge and research expertise with the greatest possible effect across all groups of actors in the value chain.

The call does not cover projects that concern energy consumption and efficiency in the building, construction and real estate sector or other areas.

We are also planning separate calls for proposals relating to the circular economy in 2022, and applicants with projects related to the topic are referred to that call (more information to follow).

Projects can apply for a maximum of NOK 15 million in funding.

Applicants are advised to consult the Guide for Applicants for answers to various questions related to this application type. Please pay particular attention to the description of what a partner is, and which roles apply to the application type Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project. 

If you have any questions, please contact ut

Requirements for effective collaboration in the projects
Effective collaboration entails real and practical collaboration between the involved research groups and project partners. Partners that are not research organisations must in total contribute a minimum of 10 per cent of the overall costs of the project. These contributions cannot be replaced by cash contributions from the same partners.

Research Council funding can be used to cover the partners’ costs relating to project participation. For partner companies, the amount of funding that can be allocated will be limited by the state aid rules.

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

Who is eligible to apply?

Approved Norwegian research organisations may apply. See the list of approved Norwegian research organisations.

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner
The Project Owner must be a research organisation.

The research organisation will be defined as the Project Owner in the application form and must have approved submission of the application.

Requirements relating to the project manager
You must have an approved doctorate or achieved associate professor qualifications before the date of the application submission deadline. For the purposes of this call, you are also qualified if you hold or have held a position as forsker 1 (research professor), forsker 2 (senior researcher) or seniorforsker (senior researcher) in the institute sector.

Requirements relating to employment
The project manager must be employed by the Project Owner or one of the partners.

Requirements relating to partners

  • Projects are to be carried out by one or more research organisations in effective collaboration with relevant actors from trade and industry. Actors from the public sector, voluntary organisations, and/or other private organisations can also be partners in the collaboration.
  • The grant application must describe how the project incorporates the strategic objectives of all the partners.
  • All project partners are required to take active part in planning and following up the project as well as in disseminating project results and promoting the utilisation of new knowledge.
  • The project must involve at least two Norwegian partners that are not research organisations.
  • Partners that are not research organisations must in total contribute a minimum of 10 per cent of the overall costs of the project. This share must be based on the project partners’ actual costs in the project (hourly fees and other costs – see how to calculate hourly rates here). Cash contributions are not expected, and such contributions cannot compensate for the partners’ required share of the project costs. The project proposal must describe how the knowledge developed under the project will be of benefit to wider user groups. The project must not involve contract research.
  • Projects are to have a steering committee or reference group comprising representatives from the project partners.
  • Companies from outside Norway may participate as partners in the project. Any costs to be incurred by collaborating companies from outside Norway that are not research organisations are not to be entered into the budget, and will not be included as part of the minimum requirement for partners’ participation. See the guide for more information about partners from outside Norway.

A project participant may not be assigned more than one role in the project. This means that a sub-contractor for the project may not have the role of Project Owner or partner in the same project.

What can you seek funding for?

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

The minimum amount of funding that may be sought is NOK 6 million. Projects can apply for a maximum of NOK 15 million in funding.

The project’s R&D activities must satisfy the definition of ‘industrial research’ as set out in Article 25 of the state aid rules.

Applicants may seek funding to cover actual costs that are necessary for the execution of the project. Costs to be incurred by project partners are to be entered into the budget in the same way as costs to be incurred by the Project Owner. When the Research Council’s funding is used to cover project partners’ costs, the state aid rules set out certain limitations relating to the undertakings involved.

Any costs to be incurred by collaborating companies from outside Norway that are research organisations are to be entered in the budget and can be covered by the Research Council's grant. Any costs to be incurred by other actors from outside Norway are not to be entered in the budget. Funding will not be granted to cover these costs. Non-Norwegian actors’ role in the project and the costs they are to incur must be clearly described in the project description (section 3.2). See also the Guide for Applicants for more information about project participation by non-Norwegian partners.

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, funding for these stays may be included in the grant application. The Research Council has also issued a separate call for funding for Research Stays Abroad for Doctoral and Post-doctoral Fellows. The project manager may seek funding under that call if plans for research stays abroad for research fellows affiliated with the project emerge later in the project period. Read more about this scheme here.

When the funding constitutes state aid (the part of the project funding that goes to partner companies), this may only be used to cover costs that are eligible for funding in accordance with Article 25 of the EU Commission's General Block Exemption Regulation. A more detailed description is provided there.

Calculation of funding
The Research Council can cover 100 per cent of the costs of research organisations and partners that are not companies in the context of the state aid rules, and up to 80 per cent of the costs of partners that are companies in accordance with the provisions of Article 25 (6) of the EU Commission's General Block Exemption Regulation. Companies in this context means an actor that provides goods or services in a market, regardless of the form of organisation.

Conditions for funding
The projects must commence between 1 October 2021 and 1 December 2021 and you must apply for funding from the Research Council for 2021. The latest permitted completion date for the project is 30 November 2025.

Funding awarded to a research organisation is only to go to the organisation’s non-economic activity. It does not therefore constitute state aid. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities.

The project is to be implemented by means of effective collaboration, as defined in the state aid rules.

This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA). Companies serving as partners may have parts of their project costs covered in accordance with the General Block Exemption Regulation Article 25 (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014). This funding scheme must be practised in compliance with the EEA state aid rules, which means that conditions and concepts are to be interpreted in keeping with corresponding conditions and concepts in the state aid rules. In the event of conflict between the text of the call and the state aid rules, the latter will have precedence. The text of the call may be adjusted for the same reason. The call for proposals has been approved as an aid scheme by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference: GBER 48/2021/R&D&I.

The state aid rules set clear limits for the percentage of funding that companies are allowed to receive, depending on its size and the type of activities it undertakes. Project applications that are granted funding must submit further information about the project and partners to ensure that the project is undertaken in accordance with the rules.

If the project is awarded funding, the Project Owner is to draw up collaboration agreements with all of the Norwegian and international partners in the project. The collaboration agreement is to regulate the reciprocal rights and obligations of the Project Owner and partners in the project and ensure the integrity and independence of the research. It is also to ensure that no participating undertaking receives indirect state aid from a research organisation serving as Project Owner or from partners. The agreement must therefore include conditions for the collaboration which ensure compliance with Section 28 of the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines for state aid for research and development and innovation.

Research results are to be made accessible through sharing and publication in line with the Research Council’s Policy on Open Science.

The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of support are set out in the General terms and Conditions for R&D Projects. Projects awarded funding under this call are required to submit an annual project account report documenting incurred project costs and their financing.

Scientific articles and research data

The Project Owner (research organisation) is responsible for selecting which 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

Industry and services

Building, construction and mining

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

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.

  • The application and all attachments must be submitted in English.
  • All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description of maximum 11 pages using the designated template found at the end of this call.
  • CVs (maximum four pages each) for the project manager and key project participants/work package leaders using the designated templates found at the end of this call.
  • Letters of Intent from all partners listed. The letter must explain why the research project is important, and describe the planned contributions to the project.
  • For projects encompassing doctoral degrees, you must attach a letter of confirmation from the degree-conferring university/institution to the grant application. This does not apply if the Project Owner is the degree-conferring university/institution.

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

Optional attachments
Applicants are free to propose up to three referees who are presumed to be impartial and qualified to review the grant proposal. The Research Council is not under any obligation to use the proposed referees, but may use them as needed.

Attachments other than the mandatory attachments specified above, as well as any links to websites in the grant application, will not be included in the application review process.

We will not assess documents and websites linked to in the application, or other attachments than those specified above. Take care to upload the correct type of attachment as there are no technical limits on the type of templates that can be uploaded to the application form.

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of 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 societal responsibility, ethical issues and gender dimensions in research content.
• The extent to which appropriate consideration has been given to the use of stakeholder/user knowledge.

Impact

Potential impact of the proposed research
• The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future scientific challenges.
• The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future challenges for the sector(s).
• The extent to which the competence developed and planned outputs of the project will provide the basis for value creation in Norwegian business and/or development of the public sector.
• 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 targeted towards relevant stakeholders/users.
• The extent to which the partners are involved in dissemination and utilisation of the project results.

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.
• Appropriateness of the partners' contribution to the governance and execution of the project.

Relevance to the call for proposals

The extent to which the grant application satisfies the thematic guidelines and priorities of the call. In addition, the extent to which the application meets the other guidelines and requirements set out in the call.

We will prioritise projects

  • that contribute to greater cooperation between trade and industry and research groups;
  • that are clearly based on documented needs in trade and industry;
  • that will contribute to sustainable value creation in trade and industry.

Administrative procedures

Once the grant applications have been received, the Research Council will conduct a preliminary administrative review to ensure that they satisfy all the stipulated formal requirements. Applications that do not meet the formal requirements will be rejected.

The applications will then be distributed to referee panels comprised of impartial external specialists with expertise in the relevant thematic areas and disciplines. For each individual application, the Research Council will check that the referee panel is impartial and has sufficient expertise to assess the research topic in question. Assessments from individual external specialists will be obtained in connection with some applications to support the panel in reaching a consensus-based assessment. The referee panel will assess the criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation. An overall mark is awarded for each of these criteria.

After the panel has completed its assessment, the Research Council will conduct an assessment of the relevance criterion. Applications that receive an average mark of 4 or lower from the panel will not be eligible for funding and will therefore not be assessed in relation to relevance.

The overall mark awarded to the application is based on the relevance criterion and the panel’s assessment. The overall mark is calculated on the basis of the average of the four criteria without weighting. The Research Council will draw up a recommendation on which applications to fund based on an overall assessment of the project portfolio, which will then form the basis for the portfolio boards’ funding decisions.

The project portfolio assessment will take the following factors into account:

  • The applications’ assigned marks based on the assessments;
  • The distribution of proposed and ongoing projects in relation to the thematic areas set out in the call;
  • Any changes in the financial or scientific framework set by the ministries;
  • When the applications are otherwise considered to be on a par, priority will be given to projects led by women project managers.

The meetings of the portfolio boards will be held in the third quarter of 2021. The outcome of the application processing will be published after the meeting.

See also: Processing applications.

For updated dates and a list of the applications granted funding, see application results.