Collaborative Project for Technological Convergence Related to Enabling Technologies
Published 08 Jun 2021
We received substantially more applications than expected, and the evaluation process has been somewhat delayed compared to the estimates given in the call text. We expect to publish the results at the end of January/beginning of February 2022.
The objective of the call is to achieve radical new technological development across the enabling technologies through projects that endeavour to help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and resolve major societal challenges. The projects are to focus on collaboration between research organisations and stakeholders from outside the research sector that represent societal and/or industry needs for knowledge, research competence and technology.
A total of NOK 195 million is available, distributed between two calls for proposals; the call you are currently reading and the call for Researcher Project for Technological Convergence related to Enabling Technologies.
04 Aug 2021
Date call is made active
15 Sep 2021
Application submission deadline
01 Feb 2022
Earliest permitted project start
01 Jul 2022
Latest permitted project start
30 Jun 2027
Latest permitted project completion
About the call for proposals
A total of NOK 195 million is available for projects that aim to achieve radical new technological development through groundbreaking research across the enabling technologies. Read more about what kinds of projects we envisage under ‘Relevant thematic areas’ further down in the call. The contact persons for the call are also listed here.
The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.
Who is eligible to apply?
The call is open to approved research organisations in binding cooperation with relevant actors from public sector entities, non-governmental organisations, trade and industry and/or other private organisations.
Who can participate in the project?
Requirements relating to the Project Owner
The research organisation listed as the Project Owner in the grant application must have approved the submission of the grant application to the Research Council. The application must be aligned with the Project Owner’s strategies.
Requirements relating to project managers
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 a position as forsker 1 (research professor), forsker 2 (senior researcher) or seniorforsker (senior researcher), you are also qualified. The roles of project manager and project administrator in the project may not be filled by the same individual.
You can only be the project manager for one application submitted under this call or the call ‘Researcher Project for Technological Convergence related to Enabling Technologies’; the submission deadline is 15 September 2021 for both calls.
Requirements relating to partners
- Projects are to be carried out by one or more research organisations in binding cooperation with relevant actors from public sector entities, non-governmental organisations, Norwegian trade and industry and/or other private organisations.
- The grant application must describe how the project incorporates the strategic objectives of all the partners.
- The project must involve at least two Norwegian partners that are not research organisations.
- 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 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 carried out for individual companies.
- Projects are to have a steering committee or reference group comprising representatives from the project partners.
- Effective collaboration entails real and practical collaboration between the involved research groups and project partners. The partners’ overall contributions in the form of personnel and, if relevant, other project costs are to constitute at least 10 per cent of the project’s total costs. Cash contributions are not expected, and such contributions cannot compensate for the partners’ required share of the project costs.
- 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.
What can you seek funding for?
You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on our website.
Applicants may seek funding to cover actual costs that are necessary for the execution of the project. If our rates for research time in the university and university college sector do not cover all costs associated with a researcher or recruitment position, the Research Council requires the applicant to contribute some own funding. 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. They cannot receive funding, but they can provide services to the project on assignment. 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. Learn more about the scheme on our web page Research Stays Abroad.
Conditions for funding
The Research Council funding is only to go to the non-economic activity of the research organisations in the form of independent research. 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). See the consolidated version of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid with amendments from July 2020. 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 69/2021/R&D&I.
The state aid rules set clear limits for the percentage of funding that undertakings are allowed to receive, depending on their size and the type of activities they undertake. 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 terms and conditions which ensure compliance with State aid for research and development and innovation (eftasurv.int).
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 Research Council requires full and immediate open access to scientific articles; see Plan S – open access to publications.
Research data must be made available in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). The Project Owner organisation of projects that process data must prepare a data management plan in connection with the revised application.
The Project Owner organisation is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project.
Relevant thematic areas for this call
The UN Sustainable Development Goals and major societal challenges dominate the political agenda, and new technology is expected to contribute to solutions. Enabling technologies are key drivers behind change and transformation, and the newly established technological convergence initiative aims to develop groundbreaking technology and radical innovations related to sustainability and societal challenges.
Funding is available for projects that will lead to radical new technologies based on collaboration between various social actors and established technological areas in the enabling technologies. Biotechnology, ICT and nanotechnology are typical examples of enabling technologies. The projects must be based on concrete societal challenges and build collaboration, knowledge and technological expertise suitable to meet these challenges.
The projects can be high risk/high gain, meaning there can be a high risk of not fully achieving the project’s radical goals. However, you must describe how you plan to handle various risk elements relating to the implementation of the project in the grant application.
There is uncertainty associated with the impact of technological development and innovation, and in addition to solving societal challenges, using new technology can also play a part in creating or reinforcing them. In the grant application, describe the processes and management structure for project participants’ reflection on and discussion of intentional and unintentional applications and the impact of the technology you are developing. The projects must involve relevant social actors with active roles in the research process. You must facilitate actual co-production by ensuring that the actors work together on developing good solutions in line with expectations of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).
Challenges relating to health, safety and the environment must be clearly described where relevant.
Research on ethical, societal and political dimensions of the technological development can be included in the project.
Show that you want to engage in groundbreaking research
We want projects that are ambitious, advance the research front and are capable of radical technological development, and we take steps to increase the possibilities of identifying groundbreaking projects. In addition to the applicants’ previous merits in the field the call concerns, we will take any merits from other fields into account. We accept that the plans for implementation of the projects may reflect a need for flexibility.
Own funds for networks and learning arenas
Projects that are granted funding by the Research Council must be willing to participate in networks and learning arenas across projects. Separate funds will be earmarked for this purpose. These funds will be advertised in 2022.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
Requirements for this application type
Applications 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.
- The application and all attachments must be submitted in English.
- All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.
- All mandatory attachments must be included.
- The project description must use the designated template which is available for download at the end of the call.
- Requirements relating to the project manager and Project Owner (research organisation) must be satisfied.
- Requirements relating to the partners must be satisfied.
- The project must start between 1 February 2022 and 1 July 2022. Projects approved for funding that have not started within this period may lose their allocation.
- A project description of maximum 15 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.
Grant applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected.
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.
Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of 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 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.
When determining the mark for the Excellence criterion, the extent to which the project is ambitious, novel, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art will count for 2/3 of the mark, and the quality of the proposed R&D activities will count for 1/3 of the mark.
• 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.
• 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). In addition to the project manager's merits within the field relevant to the call, merits in other fields will also be taken into account.
• 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. The project's plans for implementation may reflect whether there is a need for flexibility.
• 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.
Overall assessment of the referee/panel
Preliminary administrative review
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 are divided between referee panels, and for each individual application, the Research Council will check that the panel is impartial and has sufficient expertise to assess the research topic in question. Extra assessments from external specialists will be obtained in connection with some applications to support the panel in reaching a consensus-based assessment.
The referee panel has a meeting to reach a final consensus-based mark for the assessment criteria and overall assessment, and prepare consensus-based written assessments. The referees will also be given the calls for proposals, and the referee panel will assess the relevance to the call as an integrated part of the evaluation of the applications.
The administration will then write a recommendation to the granting authority, which is the Portfolio Board for Enabling Technologies.
Prioritising applications for grants
All applications that are awarded an overall mark of 7 will receive funding. For applications awarded an overall mark of 6 or 5, the mark awarded for Excellence will be given more weight than the marks for Impact and Implementation. Priority will be given to projects led by women project managers when the applications are otherwise considered to be on a par.
Please note that the amount announced in the call is an estimate of available funding. The final amount of funding granted may therefore deviate somewhat from this estimate. We will take account of any changes in the financial or scientific framework set by the ministries.
We aim to review the applications in a meeting of the portfolio board in December. The outcome of the review process will be published on our website after this meeting.
See also: Processing applications.
Messages at time of print 17 January 2022, 02:51 CET