Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice

Completed

Update 27 January: The maximum number of pages allowed for the project description has been changed from 15 to 20 pages, see updated template which can be found below the call text.

Purpose

The purpose of this call for proposals is to establish a Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice. The centre is a long-term investment with an overriding goal to strengthen special needs education research in Norway.

Important dates

03 Feb 2021

Date call is made active

17 Mar 2021

Application submission deadline

JUNE 2021

Grant meeting

01 Oct 2021

Earliest permitted project start

01 Oct 2021

Latest permitted project start

30 Sep 2026

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates

About the call for proposals

There is a need to strengthen Norwegian special needs education research. A sound knowledge base is also needed about what characterises inclusive early childhood education and care and primary and lower secondary education, what constitutes good measures for those who, for various reasons, need specially-adapted educational services, and the best ways of organising such services. High-quality research on special needs education is also required for universities and university colleges to be able to educate good special needs teachers.

The Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice is to help boost special needs education research and improve research quality, expertise and capacity in this field. The centre will lead the way in a national effort to raise the quality of special needs education research, both as regards small and vulnerable groups and more general special needs education issues.

The centre is to:

  • Strengthen the quality and relevance of special needs education research.
  • Produce research of high scientific merit.
  • Contribute to research that can improve special needs education and teacher education programmes.
  • Contribute to cooperation with the field of practice.
  • Cooperate with relevant national and international research communities.
  • Ensure dialogue with users and close contact with professional practice by cooperating with Statped and other relevant actors.
  • Have a broad methodical approach.
  • Ensure that new knowledge generated from the centre’s research activities becomes known and applied in practice.
  • Be founded on the host institution’s plans and strategies.

The new centre is expected to be affiliated to a host institution in the university and university college sector that will also contribute funding. Partners may also contribute own financing and/or in-kind contributions.

For more information, see Report No 6 to the Storting (2019 – 2020) Early intervention and inclusive education in kindergartens, schools and out-of-school-hours care (p. 53).

The call concerns funding for one centre, but the centre can have several geographic locations. The centre is to be affiliated to an existing research group, and the host institution will have academic and administrative responsibility.

The centre will be established for an initial period of five years, with an option to extend for a further five-year period following an evaluation.

Dialogue with Statped
The funding for the new centre has become available as a result of Statped winding up its R&D activities. Some Statped employees may be entitled to reassume their tasks at the newly established centre. However, this depends on the new centre’s orientation, and the final results of Statped’s reorganisation process. This issue can thus only be clarified once the new host institution has been appointed and will be a matter for dialogue between the host institution and Statped.

We recommend that you read our Requirements and guidelines for the Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice (opens in a new window) carefully before writing the application.

See also Success Criteria for Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice (opens in a new window).

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

Who is eligible to apply?

Approved Norwegian research organisations may apply. The Project Owner is also referred to as the ‘host institution’.

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. The application must be aligned with the Project Owner’s strategies.

Requirements relating to project managers

  • In the application, the project manager is the same person as the centre director.
  • You must have an approved doctorate or achieved professor/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.
  • You must be employed by the research institution (host institution) that will have the role of Project Owner.
  • If the centre director is not employed by the host institution at the time of the application submission deadline, a signed confirmation from the centre director (see the template ‘Confirmation for Centre Director’ at the end of this call) is to be submitted, confirming that she/he will be employed in a minimum of 80 per cent of a full-time position with the host institution and the centre, and be physically present at the host institution for the majority of the time every year.

Requirements relating to collaborating partners

  • The centre must cooperate with other research groups at the national and international level.
  • Relevant public sector actors may also be included as the centre’s partners. Please note that only research organisations are eligible for funding from the Research Council. For more information, see ‘Conditions for funding’ under the section ‘What can you seek funding for?’
  • The grant application must describe how the project incorporates the strategic objectives of all the partners.
  • All partners must actively contribute to planning, following up and disseminating the results generated by the centre’s research activities and ensure that new knowledge is taken into use.
  • The centre is to help further develop the research field and increase the quality of special needs education research in Norway. Funding for international research organisations should therefore be limited. If you are planning to allocate funding abroad, the project description must explain how this will help to further develop the research field in Norway.

What can you seek funding for?

Scope of funding

  • You can apply for a maximum of NOK 32 million distributed over a five-year period, with an option to extend for one further five-year period following an evaluation.
  • The host institution and partners are expected to contribute funding to highlight their interest and the centre’s strategic foundation.
  • State aid will not be granted through this call for proposals.
  • You can apply for funding to cover actual costs necessary to carry out the project. You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on our website.
  • Stays abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral fellows must be covered within the framework of the funding provided for the centre. The centre is thereby not included in the Research Council's scheme for funding for research stays abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral fellows.

Conditions for funding
The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that the Research Council funding is only to go to the non-economic activity of the research organisations in the form of independent research as defined by the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines. 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 project costs and may not receive indirect support by being given rights to project results under favourable terms. However, companies can provide R&D services for the project. Any intellectual property rights arising from the results of the supplier’s work will pass to the client.

See also our information about the state aid rules.

The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of support for the first year and any pledges and payments for subsequent years are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects.

Please note that we will adopt new general terms and conditions from 1 January 2021 (same link), and that these will apply to the centre.

Other information
Remember to carefully read the documents Requirements and guidelines for the Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice and Success Criteria for Centre for Research on Special Needs Education and Inclusive Practice. You will find links to the documents under the section ‘About the call for proposals’ above (available soon).

Archiving of 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.

Midway evaluation

In 2025, the centre initiative will be evaluated with a view to considering continued funding in time for the preparation of the budget for 2026.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Education and competence

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.
  • The centre’s start-up date must be no later than 1 October 2021, and funding must be sought from the Research Council for 2021. The last permitted end date for the centre is 30 September 2026.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description template is available at the bottom of the page.
  • CV of the project manager (centre director) of maximum four pages using the designated template at the bottom of the page. This can be uploaded as ‘CV’ in the application form.
  • CVs of work package leaders of maximum four pages per CV, using the designated template at the bottom of the page. This can be uploaded under the category ‘CV’ in the application form.

Applications that do not meet the requirements listed above will be rejected.

Optional attachments

  • The CVs of other project participants pursuant to the guidelines that apply to the application type in question.
  • A list of up to three referees who are considered qualified to assess the application.

We will not assess documents and websites linked to in the application, or other attachments than those specified above. There is no technical validation of the content of uploaded attachments, so please ensure that you upload the correct file for the selected type of attachment.

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Excellence

The extent to which the centre is ambitious, innovative and advances the research front
• Assess scientific creativity and originality.
• The extent to which hypotheses and research questions are innovative and courageous.
• The extent to which the centre has the potential to generate new knowledge that advances the research front, including significant development/renewal of theories, methods, experiments or empirical knowledge.

The quality of the centre's R&D activities
• Assess the quality of research questions, hypotheses and project objectives, and the extent to which they are clearly described.
• The extent to which the theoretical approach, research design and choice of methods are credible and appropriate, and interdisciplinary perspectives are sufficiently considered.
• The extent to which research conducted at the centre takes sufficient consideration of social responsibility, ethical issues and gender dimensions.
• The extent to which the centre satisfactorily addresses users/stakeholders’ knowledge.

Impact

Potential impacts of the proposed research
• The extent to which the centre’s planned results can contribute to addressing important scientific challenges, both now and going forward.
• The extent to which the centre’s planned results can address important challenges in the sector(s), both now and going forward.
• The extent to which competence building and the centre's planned results will form the basis for value creation in the Norwegian business and/or public sector.
• The extent to which the centre describes impacts that constitute added value from organising a major research initiative as a research centre.
• The extent to which the centre’s planned results are relevant to the UN Sustainable Development Goals or have the potential to address other important societal challenges, both now and going forward.
• The extent to which the potential impacts are clearly formulated and credible.

Communication and utilisation
• Assess the quality and scope of communication and involvement activities targeting relevant stakeholders/users.
• The extent to which partners are involved in the work of utilising the centre's results.

Implementation

Quality of the project manager (centre director) and project group
• The extent to which the project manager (centre director) has relevant expertise and experience and is qualified to lead an initiative of this scale.
• The extent to which the project participants complement one another, and the project group has the necessary expertise to effectively implement the centre initiative.

The quality of the centre’s organisation and management
• The extent to which the centre will be efficiently organised, including whether the resources allocated to the different work packages are sufficient and in accordance with the centre’s objectives and deliveries.
• The extent to which the centre's tasks are distributed in a way that ensures all project participants have a clear role and sufficient resources to fulfil that role.
• The extent to which the management and governance of the centre are expediently organised, including risk and innovation management.
• The extent to which the partners contribute to the management and implementation of the centre.

The quality and extent of international cooperation
• The extent to which the scope and quality of international collaborative activities are in keeping with the centre's objectives.

Gender balance in the centre’s project group
• If the gender balance in the centre's management team (centre manager and research managers) is poor, the extent to which the centre have an expedient plan in place to support the development of researcher talents of the under-represented gender to qualify for senior-level positions?

Relevance to the call for proposals

The extent to which the project satisfies the guidelines and stipulations set out in the call for proposals.

Administrative procedures

Applications will be assessed by an international referee panel. After the panel assessment, the applications will be assessed in relation to the criterion ‘Relevance to the call for proposals’. The administration will then write a recommendation to the granting authority. The granting authority will make the final decision regarding the approval or rejection of grant applications.

The funding decisions are expected to be announced in June 2021.