Knowledge-building Project for Industry
Published 12 Jun 2020
The purpose of this application type is to develop new knowledge and generate research competence needed by society or the business sector to address important societal challenges. The projects are to encourage and support collaboration between research organisations and stakeholders from outside the research sector that represent societal and/or industry needs for knowledge and research competence
All templates will be available for download
16 Dec 2020
Date call is made active
17 Feb 2021
Application submission deadline
The projects awarded funding will be announced
01 Jul 2021
Earliest permitted project start
01 Dec 2021
Latest permitted project start. Projects not started by this date may lose the funding they were awarded.
30 Nov 2026
Latest permitted project completion
About the call for proposals
Funding in the amount of NOK 250 million is available for Knowledge-building Projects for Industry for both basic and applied research activities. The call encompasses several thematic areas, which will be described separately below. Applicants are to select the thematic area their project targets in the application form.
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 we operate with in the application type Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project.
Please note that you may not be the project manager for more than one application submitted for either a Knowledge-building Project for Industry (this call), a Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges, a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, a Researcher Project for Young Research Talents or a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility with an application deadline of either 10 or 17 February 2021.
Webinar for applicants - see recording and download the presentation from the webinar here, the webinar is in Norwegian, but the presentation is also available in English (the link opens in a new window).
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
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.
Requirements relating to the project manager
The project manager’s scientific expertise and capability to manage the project will be assessed by peer reviewers. There are no formal requirements for the project manager’s qualifications. The roles of project manager and project administrator in the project may not be filled by the same individual.
Please note that you can only be the project manager for one application submitted for either a Knowledge-building Project for Industry (this call), a Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges, a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, a Researcher Project for Young Research Talents or a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility with an application deadline of either 10 or 17 February 2021.
Requirements relating to partners
- Projects are to be carried out by one or more research organisations in binding cooperation with relevant actors from Norwegian trade and industry and any potential partners from other sectors.
- 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 funding partners that are not research organisations.
- 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 of the project partners.
- The combined cash contribution from Norwegian undertakings forms the basis for the maximum amount of funding that the Research Council can provide for the project. Partners from outside Norway may participate as partners in the project and may contribute cash financing, but this will not be calculated as part of the overall required cash financing.
A project participant may not be assigned more than one role in the project. This means that a partner in the project may not have the role of Project Owner or sub-contractor 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 amount of funding awarded by the Research Council may not exceed a maximum of four times the total cash contribution from the Norwegian undertakings.
- The minimum amount of funding that may be sought is NOK 4 million. Please note that the Research Council does not award state aid to companies under this call for proposals. More information about this is provided below.
- Applicants may seek funding to cover the research institutions’ actual costs that are necessary to carry out the project.
- Costs to be incurred by project partners from the business sector must be specified and explained in the project description (section 3.2). These costs are not to be entered in the budget. This applies for Norwegian and international partners alike.
- 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.
Conditions for funding
The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call.
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. Companies will not be eligible to receive support to cover projects costs and may not receive indirect support by being given rights to project results under favourable terms.
The project is to be implemented by means of effective collaboration, as defined in the state aid 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 partner. The agreement must therefore include conditions for the collaboration which ensure compliance with paragraph 28 of the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines for state aid for research and development and innovation.
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.
Archiving of research data
The Project Owner (company/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.
Research results are to be made accessible through sharing and publication in line with the Research Council’s Policy on Open Science.
Relevant thematic areas for this call
The topics encompassed under this call are grouped into the thematic areas below. Special requirements and guidelines are detailed under each topic and will be emphasised when assessing the applications. This information will be updated over the course of October and November 2020.
Energy, transport and low emissions
Environment-friendly energy, CO2 capture and storage
Funding is available for projects that support a long-term and sustainable development of energy systems, ensure a quicker transition towards a zero-emission society and promote competitive Norwegian industry. The call is open to both short-term, targeted projects on current issues, and long-term, larger projects that are necessary to achieve a transformative societal transition.
Projects that are eligible for funding within this topic must fall under at least one of the following five areas:
- Renewable energy (solar, wind, sea, bio, geo and hydro)
- Power grids, energy systems and digitalisation
- Energy consumption in buildings and industry
- Environmentally-friendly energy in transport (battery-run, hydrogen and biofuel)
- Energy policy, economics and sustainability
The areas are defined in the work programme for ENERGIX, which is an appendix to the Portfolio plan for Energy, transport and low emissions.
Applicants who did not receive funding under the call for Centre for Environment-friendly Energy Research on Wind Power (FME) in 2020, are invited to review and resubmit their application under the Knowledge-building Project for Industry call (this call).
The Research Council has clean hydrogen as a priority area in 2021, which is hydrogen from renewable energy or fossil energy with carbon capture and storage. The priority area is in response to the Government’s hydrogen strategy and provides guidelines for funding (see link below).
In the project portfolio assessment, priority will be placed on projects that concern hydrogen, and we will also strive to achieve a balanced portfolio that covers the breadth of the topics encompassed by the call.
When we award a mark for the application’s relevance, we will also place special consideration on:
- At least one of the thematic areas described above
- Several partners that provide funding, whereof a number of the partners contribute significant parts of the funding, and where all are well integrated in the project
- Collaboration with relevant international partners
- Funding from sectors exposed to competition
The recommended amount sought per project is NOK 8 to 14 million. Reformulated FME Wind Power grant applications may apply for up to NOK 20–25 million.
Public administration may participate as partners in the project. Municipalities and municipal agencies' cash contributions, in combination with funding from companies, will release funding from the RCN. Financial contribution from other public administrations will not release funding from the RCN.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
Funding is available for projects that generate knowledge in the field of CO2 capture and storage (CCS). A total of NOK 45 million is available for this topic, distributed between two calls for proposals. The quality of the applications submitted will determine how the funding will be distributed between the two application types.
The applications must be within the topics described in the CLIMIT Programme plan.
Applications for projects that address the following topics are particularly encouraged:
- Hydrogen combined with CO2 capture and storage
- Biomass combined with CO2 capture and storage, often referred to as BECCS (Bio Energy with CO2Capture and Storage)
- Projects that contribute results that are directly applicable to benefit realisation in the full-scale Longship project(link opens in a new window)
We will emphasise applications that include
- Recruitment positions
- Interdisciplinary collaboration
- Use of ECCSEL’s research infrastructure
The points above will be taken into account in the assessment of the application’s relevance.
Applications for Knowledge-building Projects for Industry will be prioritised above applications for Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges if the quality of the applications is otherwise equal.
Requirements for effective collaboration in the projects:
- 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. 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.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
Funding will go to projects that encompass basic research and applied research on issues relating to petroleum activities in open areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. For issues related to safety, also land-based facilities may be relevant.
Projects that are eligible for funding within the topic Petroleum must fall under at least one of the following five areas:
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and the environment
- subsurface understanding
- drilling, completion, intervention and permanent plug and abandonment of wells (P&A)
- production, processing and transport
- major accidents and working environment.
The portfolio board will prioritise using at least NOK 35 million on projects under the first thematic area, which targets energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions relating to petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. This priority applies across the calls for applications under Knowledge-building Projects for Industry (this call), Innovation Projects for the Industrial Sector and Demonstration Projects for the Industrial Sector in 2021.
Examples of research and technology needs in this thematic area include
- more efficient heat and power production with lower greenhouse gas emissions than current solutions
- offshore energy systems and energy management
- socio-economic research, new concepts, ideas and technology that can elucidate or enable integrated energy systems that promote low emissions, including solutions that entail new midstream value chains
On the basis of this prioritisation, the applicant must describe the total emission reductions envisioned for the technology/technologies the project aims to develop. The application must also describe the time perspective and framework conditions for implementation of the knowledge/technology in relation to the industry’s new climate targets for 2030 and 2050.
Regardless of topic, the portfolio board will give priority to applications that complement activities at existing or new centres (both Centres for Research-based Innovation (SFI) and Research Centres for Petroleum Activities (PETROSENTER)) and important issues in the portfolio plan in areas where no centres have been established. Where relevant, the applicants must therefore describe how the application fits in with new or existing centres.
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 grant application, including all attachments, must be submitted in English.
- All mandatory attachments must be included.
- The project description must be written using the designated template found at the bottom of this page.
- 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 July 2021 and 1 December 2021. Projects approved for funding that have not started within this period may lose their allocation.
- 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 for the research fellow in question.
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 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 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.
• 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).
• 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
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 grant application, we check to ensure that the panel meets requirements relating to impartiality and has sufficient expertise to review the application’s research topic. Assessments from individual external specialists will be obtained in connection with some applications to support the panel in reaching a consensus-based assessment. The panel will assess the three criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation, and will assign a consensus-based mark 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 assessment of the relevance criterion and the panel’s review are used to calculate the grant application’s overall mark, which is the average of the marks for the four equally weighted criteria. 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.